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Comic Book Review: "Teen Titans #8: A Bad Omen"
The adventures of DC Comics New 52 Teen Titans continue. After the daring rescue of Superboy and attempted escape from the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. lab in the artic, Tim “Red Robin” Drake, Cassie “Wonder Girl” Sandsmark, Celine “Skitter” Patterson, Miguel “Bunker” Barragan, Kiran “Solstice” Singh, and Bart “Kid Flash” Allen, are captured by a being named Harvest. This issue, written by Scott Lobdell, art Ig Guara and J.P. Mayer, is the prequel to “The Culling” story arc.
Issue 8, “A Dark Omen” begins with Red Robin being tortured by a person named Omen. He is encased in a magic bubble and morphing into a bird-like creature. She tells him that she has the power to show him his greatest fears: that he might become the darker image of himself if he loses control. He tells her that his only fear is that he won’t be able to stop her.
Outside of Omen’s Womb, in a holding cell with the other titans, Cassie is trying to break in to help Red Robin, Bunker is trying to stop her, saying the room is filled with water and if she breaks through it, they all might drown. She pushes him, telling him to stop telling her what to do. Then she, Bunker and Skitter begin fighting with each other. Kiran tells them all that this is how Harvest works, pit friends against each other. Kid Flash asks if she’s been through it before. She answers that she has. Cassie asks how to defeat both Harvest and Omen and still live. She says there is no way out except death.
Inside the Womb, Omen continues to torture Red Robin. When she’s finished, she throws him into a portal and goes after Cassie. She encases her in another bubble and sees that she’s wearing invisible armor. Cassie’s not a meta-human, her armor is her secret power and yet her magical lasso actually drains her own life. Omen wonders what makes Wonder Girl so special that N.O.W.H.E.R.E. has been so passionate about capturing her.
Nearby, Red Robin is strapped to an examination table. Harvest is there. He tells Tim that he’s always trying to look out for the rest of his team. Harvest says that they are more similar than Tim wants to admit as he puts a ceremonial chestplate on him.
Back in the Womb, Omen is torturing Skitter now, she separates the bug part (Skitter) of her from the human part of her (Celine). Then Omen mocks Celine. Bunker is afraid; he says that it wrong for her to torture each of them in front of the others. It’s sadistic. Kiran says that this is what Omen does before her victims are taken to “The Crucible”: She messes with their minds to weaken them.
Meanwhile in New York, Agent Kurt Lance and Amanda Waller are inspecting the damage from the New Year’s Eve fight between the Titans and Superboy. She tells Lance that he needs to stop them before they do more damage.
Back in the preparation chamber, Cassie is now strapped to a table, as is Skitter next to her; both are wearing Tron-like armor on (black, skin-tight bodysuits with glowing colored light outlines on them). Red Robin is in the standing corner in the shadows. He tells Cassie he doesn’t know if this is real or another trick by Omen.
Back in the Womb, Omen takes Kid Flash and starts torturing him. Bunker blames Kiran for the situation. She tells him she’s sorry, she couldn’t help it. Once Harvest has control of her, she’s powerless. Miguel tells her that he’s sorry for judging her.
Omen tries to read Bart’s mind but is, literally, shocked at how much is “changed” inside his head. She removes his suit and he starts to de-materialize. There’s a small explosion that allows him to escapes. He grabs Miguel and Kiran and tries to flee, but guard show up and shoot both Bunker and Solstice. Bart yells in anguish that he’s failed his friends.
Suddenly, he wakes up in the chamber as Cassie is untying him. He, too, is in a Tron-like costume. She tells him that Red Robin has gone off to face Omen. Red Robin attacks Omen as she’s torturing Bunker. She tells him he’s weak and as he slashes at her, he suddenly wakes up in the chamber again strapped to a table surrounded by the other Titans.
Omen, Harvest and Leash are stand over them. Harvest explains to Red Robin that Omen made him see what she wanted him to see. That he is the team leader (whether he likes it or not) and if he tried deadly enough force he could free them all. He puts a spell on Drake to make him sleep. He tells Leash to take his “New Ravagers to the Colony”. Leash uses his psionic coils to transport them to The Colony.
This is an interesting issue. It gives a small glimpse of insight into each character. It hints at Solstice’s troubled past, and to Bart’s unknown past (which is hidden by a kind of mind wipe process). It interesting that they all get Tron-like light armor. (Each with corresponding colors: Cassie—orange, Kiran—blue, Bart—yellow, Tim—red, Celine—green, Miguel—purple.) However, you never see Superboy in this issue, making you wonder if they are going to be pitted against him again in The Colony. Like many comic book preludes, many questions are asked and none are answered. We only get enough the whet our appetites for the next issue. It will be interesting to see what The Colony is and what purpose the Tron armor plays in “The Culling” (which continues in Teen Titans Annual #1, Superboy #9, Legion Lost #9, and concludes in Teen Titans #9).
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