Comic Book Review: "Teen Titans: It's Our Right To Fight"
The New 52 from DC Comics brings us a new, undated version of the Teen Titans. The Teen Titans where originally the junior version of the Justice League of America. It had teenage equivalents of the adult superheroes: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash etc. The Teen Titans had Robin, Superboy, Wonder Girl and Kid Flash. With the New 52, all superheroes (alien, mystical, or metahuman) are feared by the rest of the world and that skepticism and suspicion continue in the pages of the Teen Titans, written by Scott Lobdell with art by Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund. This origin story, "It's Our Right To Fight", gives us a new view of, not just the way the rest of the world sees metahuman teens, but how the teens see themselves.
In issue #1, “Teen Spirit” Bart Allen (Kid Flash) tries to save a burning house, in Westchester, New York even though the fire department is already there. The TV reporter is irked by him because he’s’ trying to show off by stealing the microphone from her and talking to the camera to get more attention. He runs into the house, unknowingly causes a backdraft and the building explodes. In New York, inside a Lextower penthouse Tim Drake (Red Robin) is viewing multiple news reports (Minority Report style), about metahuman teenagers showing up all over the place making trouble wherever they go (even if they’re trying to help). Suddenly his interrupted by an armed group of masked black ops soldiers there is a man among them telling Drake that he is from N.O.W.H.E.R.E and they’re taking him in. he tells them that they better run because he’s booby-trapped the penthouse to explode and he jumps out of the window. They manage to get out as the whole place explodes. In Malibu, CA, Cassie Sandsmark (Wonder Girl) is speeding in a stolen car on the coastline as a police man stops her. She tries to talk her way out of it but he grabs her by the throat (he’s a disguised N.O.W.H.E.R.E. agent). Suddenly he is knocked out from a kick to the head by Red Robin. He tells Cassie that that wasn’t a cop and the organization nowhere is after the entire metahuman teenager population and she should go with him. She tells him not to caller her Wonder Girl. They hear the whirling of a helicopter that appears and starts shooting at them. Cassie jumps onto the copter and destroys it, and it crashes into the water. A she crawls out of the water red robin is waiting for her. She refusing to let him help her out of the water and reminds him not to call her wonder girl. Back at nowhere the man from the Drake’s penthouse, Zaniel Templar, tells the Dr. Caitlin Fairchild that it’s time to let Superboy (Kon-El, a genetic clone made from the DNA of Superman and Lex Luthor) out, even though he isn’t “ready yet”.
In Issue #2 “Underground And Overwhelmed”, Bart Allen is sitting in a N.O.W.H.E.R.E. cell talking to himself. Superboy is studying some information on Cassie Sandsmark. They want him to bring her in, dead or alive. He’s thinks to himself that as long as he does what they what he’ll get his freedom. Dr. Fairchild still thinks it’s a bad idea that Templar want to use Superboy. They still don’t know how powerful he is. He doesn’t care. Tim and Cassie are sitting at a cafe in West Hollywood. Tim wonders how she got a hold of the power bracelets that she uses. She she’s she stole them from a temple. She let him sleep on the couch at her house. She wants to know his real name since he’s only told her his codename of Red Robin. He says that it’s better to protect his other bat-family friends that she doesn’t know his name. He feels kind of sad that she only thinks he’s a “Good Guy” which beats “Little Brother”, since he’s starting to fancy her. In the morning, He’s looking up different news reports and finds one young girl talking about “Skitter” (a spider-like creature) as a “she”. He figures out where this girl, Claudia Patterson, works and goes to visit her. It turns out that Skitter is her twin sister, Celine, and she hides in the sewers. She tells Tim that she’s also told the guys in suit about her. Tim begins to worry. In the sewers a masked and armed guy is talking to himself in an “I/we” and “me/us” manner. Red Robin shows up and starts talk to him about leaving Celine alone. This guy calls for his brother to help and suddenly he shows up by teleporting through his brother body. A fight ensues. Tim is now beginning to worry. Suddenly a third brother says that he found her and the two brothers suddenly disappear. Tim hears screaming ahead of him and rushed to see what’s going on. Skitter has been found and attacked the three guys without killing them. Tim tried to reason with her and she attacks him. Wonder Girl suddenly shows up to defend Tim and knock skitter out. Tim thanks her and she says that she’s just paying him back for saving her, and not to count on her in the future. Tim informs her that she has to help because the more metahuman teens that N.O.W.H.E.R.E. take the less of them there will be to defend themselves; they have to stick together. Cassie refuses and leaves. Back at N.O.W.H.E.R.E. labs two guard open Bart’s cell and he quickly beat them up and escapes. As he’s passing a cell labeled solstice there is a bright flash and he looks into the window and sees a girl, electrically glowing black, begging for help.
At the beginning of issue 3, “Better To Burn Out Then Fade Away”, Bart quickly frees Solstice and manages to escape the lab. Running out into the snow he slips and they both tumble down a glacier. In the badlands, Miguel Jose Barragan (Bunker) catches a free ride on a train and finds a huge cocoon on the selling. A hobo startles him when he tells him that is was there when he got on. At Mount Mary General Hospital in L.A., Maurice “Thrice” Boviere (one of the three brothers from the sewers) is laid up in bed when Cassie shows up telling him that his two other brother are at different hospitals in different cities making it too far for them to transport through each other again and he better tell her what’s going on or she’s going to really hurt him. Miguel asks the hobo what going on and the hobo tells him that he’s the same guy that was arrested in Albuquerque. In the snowy wasteland Solstice flies Bart and herself to safety. She tells him to stop thinking so much because it’s too much for her to absorb. She losses concentration and they both crash land into the snow. Miguel creates his giant purple first and the hobo changes into Red Robin (the hobo costume was a visual disguise). Bunker becomes very excited to meet Red Robin. He has been looking for him all across the US. He wants to join the team. The train suddenly stops and there is a large group of mind- controlled people are descending on the train. Tim flies off to try and find the mind-control device and destroy it. Suddenly a metal monstrous calling itself Detritus grabs Drake and tells him that once he’s finished with his work him will wipe red robins memories and send him on his way. As Tim flies back to Bunker he tries but fails to remember diatribes. He tells him that he destroyed the control box. Miguel asks him about Celine. She woken up from her cocoon and doesn’t know where she is or who they are. Bart wakes up in the snow and sees a desolate town appearing out of the snow and tries to get indoors before it’s too late but he passes out.
In issue 4, “Danger Squared,” its New York’s New Year’s Eve (December 31, 2012) celebration, Cassie rushes through the crowded Times Square. She’s mad at herself for getting involved. She should have realized that what thrice had told was just a ploy to get her to New York City so she could lead N.O.W.H.E.R.E. to Red Robin. She’s being followed by someone: Superboy. At another Lextower penthouse (home of Tim Drake) Celine and Miguel are concerned about NOWHERE trying to control or kill them. Celine is made that she has to live with the creature inside her. Tim appears and tell her that they can win with they stay positive. The doorbell rings, Miguel’s runs to answer it thinking its take-out. Actually it’s kid flask and Solstice (Kiran Singh). Somehow Kiran has transported both of them to Tim’s apartment. Back in Times Square, Superboy spots Cassie. She gets the drop on him and punches him. They both think to themselves how attracted they are to each other. Back at Tim’s place Bart say he can’t remember how he got his powers. He can only remember as far back as six months and he had his powers then; he showboated on TV in hopes of getting attention from others like himself (Flash). Tim notices that Bart is wear one of his sweater and they start fighting about it. Celine tells them that they better watch the news. Superboy and Wonder Girl are fighting in Times Square for the whole world to see. Tim tells the rest of the group that if they step in to help, they have to do it as a team and there would be no going back to hiding from anyone. Celine says she’ll take her chances in her cocoon. But the rest agree to help. Superboy and Wonder Girl have a huge fight across town; he’s impressed with her and asks her to join N.O.W.H.E.R.E. She angrily refuses. He knocks her down and demands to know where Red Robin is. She says that he is not hard to find, as Drake and the rest of the “Teen Titans” appear to take Superboy on.
In issue 5, “Over Before It’s Begun”, The team attacks Superboy, but he defeats their first attack. Bart rushes in and punches him. Superboy uses his mental powers to force Bart to run around in circles superfast causing him to overload. Cassie kicks Bart out of Superboy’s psionic whirlwind. Kid Flash goes flying off into the distance. Hudson River, Kiran saves Bart by cutting a ship in half. Times Square bunker beat on Superboy. Superboy beats back and knock bunker out cold; in a nearby N.OW.H.E.R.E. mobile unit van, they report to Templar that there are more titans he say that Superboy is made to deal with thing. Red Robin tries the distract Superboy long enough to defeat him. It seems that it worked Superboy tells red robin that since he’s not metahuman all he needs to do is walk away. Red Robin says he can’t and won’t do that. Suddenly Superboy electrocutes Red Robin with all the electronic in his suit. Wonder Girl, defending Red Robin, lassos Superboy with her mystical rope (the Lasso of Lighting). Superboy flies straight down through the street into the subway system dragging Cassie with him and then grabbing and forcing her back up through he concrete knocking her out (and also Kid Flash, who’s standing on the ground they come up through). Superboy sees Solstice and asks her if she plans to stop him. She tells him that she also has done horrible things for N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and he will have blood on his hands, that what he’s doing is wrong and he knows it. He questions himself, head-butts Solstice and knocks her out. Seconds later the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. van plunges into the river and Superboy flies off saying that he’s done enough damage and he’s head back to N.O.W.H.E.R.E. to fight them.
As the beginning of issue 6, “By The Light” the Titans are about to get arrested by Detective Jocelyn Lure for the three million dollars of public damage. Red Robin claims it was self-defense; she doesn’t care. Suddenly, Celine shows up in Skitter form and subdues the cops. She‘s about to turn on the Titans when she recognizes Bunker and hugs him. Kid Flash is hurt from his encounter with Superboy (who overloaded him and he almost died). They take him to a nearby S.T.A.R. lab to be looked by Static (Virgil Hawkins). He sees that Bart is accelerating to the point of disintegration and rushes him to the diagnostic lab. Two floors above them in a cell a “construct” called Grimm have realized Skitter is nearby. At the 33rd precinct officer Lure is searching through files and discovers Bart Allen’s “old” secret identity and wonders who let him out and if his new friends know who he really is. Back at the lab, Solstice comforts Bart. He says he doesn’t understand how his powers work. She tells him that she will help him get through this. Virgil tells Tim that he has adjusted a M.R.I. machine to scan for what’s wrong with Kid Flash. Cassie and Miguel are talking about whether or not they are a team. She doesn’t thinks she belongs because she’s been a bad person before now. He tells her that is doesn’t matter what she used to be; it’s who she is now that’s important. They notice that Skitter is missing and they follow a path of broken doors to find Grimm. He tells them that he is a meta-human that the U.S. government experimented on. Wonder Girl throws her lariat around him; he uses his powers to redirect its lightning back onto her and knock both Bunker and Cassie out. He injects a toxin to freeze their bodies but keep their minds free, so they can feel him snap their necks. Bunker uses him powers to knock Grimm out (since his powers are mental and not physical, he still could control them). Back in the lab, Virgil and Tim discuss the results of Bart’s test. His molecules are out of alignment, and they need to find a solution. Virgil gives Bart a new Kid Flash suit that will allow his molecules to stop fluctuating. The team regroups and tells Red Robin they are looking forward to Round Two with N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and Superboy. Tim Drake tells them to wait; that it is time to go home and, “prepare for war”.
As issue #7, “Assault On Project 13” starts, Director Centerhall of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. is torturing Superboy with a live autopsy sating nowhere wouldn’t have created him without a way to shut him down. He plans to destroy Superboy and rebuild him from scratch but first he’s using lasers to dissect him for any useful info. Suddenly Kid Flash has redirected the laser at the scientist instead of Superboy. Centerhall throws up a psionic wall to stop Bart. Centerhall says he was stupid to comeback alone. Bart says he didn’t. Bunker and Skitter arrive. An hour earlier, Red Robin and Kid Flash where on the Brooklyn Bridge testing Bart’s new suit and powers. Kid Flash is super-fast: stealing the plaque for the Statue of Liberty and replacing it in 0.04 seconds. The street under they’re feet changes and Red Robin explains that it not a street, but a meta-human named Danny. He helped Bart and Solstice in the snow back at the arctic N.O.W.H.E.R.E lab. He communicates though a message on window of Superboy’s “S” symbol upside down, meaning he’s in trouble. Red Robin plans with the team to save Superboy. No one wants to save someone who tried to kill them all. He says saving him is for the good of every meta-teen; plus saving people in trouble is “what we do”. Still no takers; Tim says, “Fine,” and he will do it alone and leaves. Cassie feels guilty and runs after him. The rest follow suit and used Danny’s “teleporter” to get inside the artic lab, but it seems they all came through in different places. Back in the present at the lab, Bart suddenly has a flashback vision of people beating up a group of others. He thinks it’s not his memory; maybe N.O.W.H.E.R.E. trickery, then suddenly it’s gone. He manages to free Superboy as reinforcements show up. In another part of the lab Wonder Girl is fighting Templar. He unleashes a horde of parasites on her. In the Records Room of the same complex, Red Robin is downloading files. Solstice asks why they are there. He says that he’s almost done and she should go back to the others. She gets offended that he’s talked everyone in coming back to this place and she demands to know what Tim is really up to. Back to Kid Flash and the others: Superboy uses a psychic blast to help them all escape. Back to Wonder Girl, she is caught by the parasites and defends herself with her lasso to siphon the life essence from Templar reducing him to a gooey mess. Back to Tim and Kiran, he explains to her that he’s trying to get all the files on the other kids taken by N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Kiran is mad that he waited so long before doing anything; especially since some of the teens at the lab died. He says he needs proof before doing anything. He did what he needed to do and isn’t going to apologize for it. He leaves the room as she crumbles to the floor in tears. The rest of them are meeting up with Danny, The Teleporting Street. They wonder where Solstice is as Red Robin shows up. He says they should go and he’ll wait for her. Cassie says that they will all wait for her and leave together. Suddenly, there is a huge explosion. A being calling itself “Harvest” has been waiting to finally get all eight of them together; to be able to control all of their powers. Harvest is the person who created N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and welcomes them all to “The Colony.”
These New 52 Teen Titans have a lot of teen angst in them. In this series first story arch, “It’s Our Right To Fight”, the characters are almost polar opposites of their adult counterparts: Tim Drake seems to know what to do, but has a difficulty rallying others and taking leadership. Superboy is more Lex Luthor than Clark Kent, and Cassie Sandsmark is a selfish thief. The only one who seems equal to his adult version is Kid Flash / Bart Allen who is the comical character just as Barry Allen is, but he seems to have a dark past that he doesn’t seem to remember. The others: Solstice, Bunker, and Skitter, and even Danny The Street, seem to be just along for the ride as the four main characters argue and duke it out with each other; it gives us a interesting dynamic between the characters. This story sets up how they all meet, more or less, by accident or out of circumstance, and finally work together for the sake of every other meta-human teen in the world.This story has the underlining sense that the "grown-ups" doesn't trust the "teens"; and the teens wanting their freedom and independence. In a way, this story is reminiscent of the high school horror movies of the 1990’s, such as Scream and The Faculty. The “evil” adults are trying to kill or control the teens, and they have to band to together in a motley crew to defend themselves and save the day. The New 52 Teen Titans deliver an intriguing and entertaining story and, as always, gives us a cliffhanger that leaves us with baited breath for the next chapter of their saga.
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