Tag Archives: convergence: new teen titans

Heartbreak in Convergence: New Teen Titans. Or “The Rise and Fall of Dick Nightwing and the Spiders from Tamaran”

David-Bowie_Early…or the Spiders from Titans Tower. You’ve seen Grayson’s jumpsuit, right? He’s just missing a guitar.

Our latest Graphic Policy Radio podcast guest (and award winning non-comics reporter) Spencer Ackerman and I are both fans of the classic New Teen Titans series by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. Upon reading the first issue of this two part book he pointed out to me that in Convergence: New Teen Titans, Cyborg and Beast Boy can EASILY be read as a couple. “In the first scene Donna Troy is writing to Terry [her husband] about how now that they’re trapped under the Dome, all the Titans except her are — her words — “paired up”? Those pairs are shown to be: Kole and Jericho; Nightwing and Starfire; and Cyborg and Beast Boy. Never once does Wolfman explicitly write Gar and Vic as lovers. But that seems to me to be the clearest acknowledgement yet that they’re a couple.”

Convergence New Teen TitansOf issue 2 Spencer wrote “Beast Boy is on the cover in non-animal form, lifting up Cyborg, who easily weighs 300 lbs. It’s obviously the power of their love that puts the strength in Gar’s arms, back and legs. There’s also a scene where Gar is shedding literally a single tear talking about how he can’t lose Vic, who’s “more than a friend.” They chicken out and have Gar add “he’s my brother,” but I don’t think I’m straining to see the queer subtext. It’s 2015, DiDio! We know Gar and Vic are lovers! We embrace it! Stop insulting us!”

I wonder if keeping queer relationships in subtext as opposed to just saying the darn words is a force of habit for Bronze Age writers. Ultimately though, I put the question to the fans: how does this relationship read to you? In this case I put this particular question to queer guys who grew up during the time of the original series. I argue that their relationship is real to the extent that you guys identify with it. “Authorial intent for serialized stories is nonsense. Shatterstar isn’t straight because Rob Liefeld tweets that he is…” quoth Spencer.

Marv Wolfman’s New Teen Titans are gloriously soapy and always have been. They’re the DC Comics version of Claremont’s New Mutants and having them back again is quite a gift. Especially with Dick Grayson’s historical retro-before-its-time Glam Rock Super Hero Jump Suit and Kole’s Studio 54-worthy lurex shimmery accordion pleats (I’d wear it). Joey’s mutton-chop sideburns are flawless.

Issue 1 of this mini series was a wonder. Nicola Scott is the perfect artist for this book — she draws elegant, expressive faces with realistic and compelling facial expressions. Unlike in most comics, no two characters’ faces are alike! Other artists, please take note. The colors by Jeromy Cox are almost flat enough for this to feel like a real bronze age book.

I feel bad poking holes in the generous gift that is the Rise and Fall of Dick Nightwing & the Spiders from Tamaran but after a promising issue 1 I had to re-read issue 2 in disbelief a few times and was left shaking my head in confusion over the plot, parts of the dialog and the total lack of a conclusion.

donnatroyyourethebestThe scenes between Kole and Joey in issue 2 are either confusing or disturbing. In issue 1 she asks Donna if Joey might be gay, Donna gives her classic big sister style advice in the most adorable way before single-tearing over her absent husband (I love you Donna, never change). But then in issue 2 Kole kisses Joey while he’s semi-conscious and Joey immediately pushes her away. Joey makes his lack of consent very clear. Then the next time they are together she turns his oil painting into a mixed media piece and they hug. What is going on?!? Kole acts as if some personal conversation had occurred in between her molesting Joey and messing with his painting and hugging him.  Maybe I’m just bad at reading his body language but I have no idea what he communicated with her in that painting scene. Did she ask for forgiveness for touching him non-consensually? Did he come out to her? Did he signal “no I don’t date people who kiss me when I’m unconscious but let’s hug and pretend things are normal?” Because either way, it must have been off panel. I ask both a rhetorical question and as a regular question: what the hell is going on?!

Schirn_Presse_Glam_Karl_Stoecker_Brian_EnoOh, the things we’ll do to read a comic with glam rock costume Dick Grayson. He’ll beat the bad guys and then play a smoking hot solo. The comic comes to an abrupt  end, even with the sound of a record skip. It’s end is bizarre and un-fulfilling even for a wacky cross-over event. I just don’t buy what passes for a relationship resolution between Kory and Dick in issue 2. Dick doesn’t trust her and he is patronizing. I suspect they’ll be making like David and Angie Bowie and splitting off camera. Maybe he’ll move to Berlin and hang out with Brian Eno and other feathered jumpsuit enthusiasts.

Spencer tapped his superior knowledge of the original series to construct the following supporting argument for a Garth and Victor relationship that precedes this continuity: “When Cyborg first gets seriously injured, Gar is shown keeping a bedside vigil and crying. Gar is constantly and loudly proclaiming his sexual desire for women in a really closet-y way, but when (during Geoff Johns’ run) Raven decides she’s into Gar, Gar finds all manner of awkward excuses to keep her away. Meanwhile, all of Vic’s attempts at relationships with women fail, often the result of him loathing himself — seemingly because he hates his quadriplegia… but, y’know, maybe he hasn’t come to terms with another aspect of himself as well.  The only times either Cyborg and Beast Boy* are shown to be happy are when they’re with one another.”

Teenage Superheroes in Love.  Unless you’re Kole. What the fuck Kole, what the fuck.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

A-Force_1_CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: A-Force #1 (Marvel) – An all-female Avengers team?! Hells yes! Sign me up. The team looks interesting and there’s promise of a new character being introduced who will play a big role. There’s lots of buzz for this book and I’m looking forward to it.

Max Max: Fury Road: Nux & Immortan Joe #1 (DC Comics/Vertigo) – If you saw the movie this weekend, you know why this is on the list.

Psycho Bonkers #1 (Aspen) – A fun car race comic featuring a teenage girl. This is something we need more of. It’s like Speed Racer for the Tween set.

Ultimate End #1 (Marvel) – And this is how a world ends…..

Valhalla Mad #1 (Image Comics) – Any new series from Image is on my radar. Three warrior gods vacationing on Earth by writer Joe Casey sounds awesome to me.

 

Edward

Top Pick: A-Force #1 (Marvel) – The all-female team for Marvel could be pretty fun if the characters aren’t just put there because of their gender.

Ei8ht #4 (Dark Horse) – More answers are due to be revealed in this tale of time travel.

Jem and the Holograms #3 (IDW Publishing) – This series has been a fun ride so far as the band starts to get more confidence.

Jungle Girl Seasons 3 #2 (Dynamite) –  This is a modern version of the jungle genre which once ruled comics.

Satellite Sam #14 (Image Comics) –  This world of debauchery and lies only gets more complicated after every issue.

 

Elana

Top Pick: A-Force #1 (Marvel) – This is the hottest ticket of the week — all of our favorite female heroes in a fascinating speculative world by ground-breaking writer, G. Willow Wilson.

A certain Harvard Professor might think this book looks like porn based on leading questions she asked her sons who are too young to know what porn is. But I know the difference. And even female characters with conventional comics bodies (oh well) can be written as full fledged characters that exist beyond just being subjects for an eroticized male gaze (yeah!). My money is on this being an outstanding book to love and share with your friends.

Convergence: New Teen Titans #2 (DC Comics) – “Why must I be a teengage superhero in looooove?” Only Dion and The Belmonts and Marv Wolfman know for sure. Last issue was everything I wanted: bronze age-worthy soap-y superhero romance, art with a classic feel and great “acting” via Nicola Scott and some things we didn’t know we wanted: namely the fact that apparently Cyborg and Beast-Boy are a couple? I’m still waiting on a fan who read the original series back in the day to tell me if this was a going theory back then. Anyway, this month’s should be all that and more.

Dirk Gently’s Wholistic Detective Agency #1 (IDW Publishing) –  I grew up loving the Hitchhiker’s Guide books. They were laugh out loud funny beyond anything else I’ve read yet full of real human emotion, even the aliens. This series is based off of related Douglas Adams novels. I hope this will be in the same spirit.

Jem and the Holograms #3 (IDW Publishing) – A comic book that has charmed everyone. Please get this in to the hands of teen readers! It is totally accessible to folks who never watched the show. Yet it embraces the true spirit of the show- a light sci-fi action story featuring strongly written diverse women. Apparently the movie missed that entirely.

Loki Agent of Asgard #14 (Marvel) – Al Ewing is really on a roll in his titles. I can’t wait to see where this series lands. Great characterization, emotional stakes are high, creative story and I really can’t predict where this will go. Not sure what to make of the new look Loki reveal from last issue. Is he some sort of integrated personality between evil King Loki and the heroic trickster from recent issues? No idea.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Realist_coverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: The Realist (Archaia/BOOM! Studios) – Israeli cartoonist Asaf Hanuka’s weekly strips commenting on everything from marriage to technology to social activism through intimate moments of triumph and failure.

Divinity #3 (Valiant Entertainment) – Valiant I think has the best superhero universe right now in comics. It helps that they’re willing to try new things as far as the characters, tone, and direction series go. This one is one of their more audacious comics to date, and it has been a wonderful read so far.

Drones #1 (IDW Publishing) – Two former predator drone operators face insurgency and insanity on the Las Vegas Strip in the surreal surroundings of the world’s first terrorism-themed hotel!

Kaptara #1 (Image Comics) – A space expedition goes horribly wrong because if it didn’t there would be no story! Reluctant explorer Keith Kanga and his crew crash land on KAPTARA, a world filled with danger and weird danger and dangerous weirdos! And if he can’t survive, then Earth, the place where YOU live, is doomed! From Chip Zdarsky, do you need another reason to check it out?

Transformers: Windblade Combiner Wars #2 (IDW Publishing) – IDW has been knocking it out of the park when it comes to their latest Transformers events which brings worlds together, as well as Transformers.

 

Edward

Top Pick: Suicide Risk #24 (BOOM! Studios) – This series should be at the top of every comic fan’s list.  Its version of the superhero genre is astounding.

Little Mermaid #3 (Zenescope) – Zenescope’s under the radar series has veered a bit towards the expected, but it is still a fresh take on the fairy tale.

Manifest Destiny #14 (Image Comics) -The strange adventures through middle America continue, but will Sacajawea reveal something soon?

Postal #3 (Image Comics) –  The series has managed to be extremely gripping in its first couple of issues.  Secrets abound in the town of criminals.

Satellite Sam #13 (Image Comics) – The medium’s standout crime noir title returns with possibly some answers to the questions on the way.

 

Elana Levin

Top Pick: Convergence: New Teen Titans #1 (DC Comics) – The original Wolfman/Perez run of New Teen Titans was glorious soapy teenage hero wonder.   And now we get more of it and with Nicola Scott on pencils– a fantastic artists whose work I first fell for when she drew Secret Six. She draws attractive people but with real characterization and “acting” shining through in a way very few artists do. I don’t care about Tangent universe, which provides the characters they are fighting. But this old school Titans line-up and combination of classic and new talent have me sold.

I’d hazard to guess that fans of Claremont’s X-Men & the various Young Avengers series would enjoy the young characters’ soapy exploits if these books are anything like the original.

Velvet #10 (Image Comics) – Stylish as ever and unique. Complex, sexy and mature female characters are still rare in comics, and anywhere. Velvet is always a pleasure. A film version of her would make Brubecker a wealthy man and would be doing the world a favor. We need Velvet!

Lazarus #16 (Image Comics) – Lazarus is the scifi dystopia our world needs. Smart work that goes where no others dare. I should’ve proposed a session on this series for Left Forum or maybe get Jacobin Magazine to do an in depth review. I’d have ranked this higher but the story works better in tradepaperback.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4 (Marvel) –  Adorable, zany and feminist as hell. I love the way Erika Henderson draws Galactus.

 

Nevada

Top Pick: Harvey Kurtzman: The Man Who Created MAD & Revolutionized Humor in America (Fantagraphics) – I’m a fan of MAD and can’t wait to read this fascinating account of Mr. Kurtzman’s life and work, from the founding of MAD and then his early departure, to an investigation with the FBI during the McCarthy Era and beyond.  Packed with interviews by friends and family, this promises to be a revealing look at a great American humorist.

MAD Magazine #533 (Mad Magazine) – Speaking of MAD, I’ll have to catch this issue featuring Weird Al Yankovic along with Alfred E. Neuman on the cover. Whether you remember Weird Al’s work from the ‘80’s or you’re just now discovering his genius, this pairing on the April cover is truly inspired!

Miami Vice Remix #2 (IDW Publishing) – Oh, speaking of the ‘80’s, if you weren’t around to experience the fashion/ cultural/ musical phenomenon that was the original TV show, Miami Vice, here’s a Remix! This looks great—and quite bad-ass! Read this comic-book update and check out the original show that’s been playing on Esquire and Cozi networks and pretty soon you’ll be rolling up the sleeves of your pastel blazer and sporting a five o’clock shadow (guys), or slipping into a leather mini-skirt and double-processing your hair (chicks).

The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy (Hill & Wang) – A canoe trip with Heraclitus through the great debates of Western thought? Sounds like the cruise of a lifetime and a fun way to try and wrap your head around the mysteries of life and the universe, or vice versa.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4 (Marvel) – I’m new to Squirrel Girl comics but this looks like a winner! I always knew squirrels were clever, agile, resourceful, and brave; add to that true Girl-Power and Squirrel Girl has to be an unbeatable addition to the super hero pantheon.