Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Micro-Reviews

A Teen Titans Academy #5 Micro-Review – Too Much Nightwing?

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Teen Titans Academy 5, cover, 2021, Rafa SandovalTITLE: Teen Titans Academy #5
AUTHOR: Tim Sheridan
ARTISTS: Steve Lieber, Dave Stewart (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer). Cover by Rafa Sandoval & Alejandro Sanchez.
RELEASED: July 27, 2021

This is the first issue of Teen Titans Academy I didn’t like. It sees the Bat Pack characters take center stage for the second consecutive issue. Granted, they’ve been part of the book since issue #1. But So have characters like Summer, Alinta, Brick, Gorilla Gregg, etc. I’d rather have spent time with them than a trio of Batman groupies.

Also, I’m starting to think this book is a little too Nightwing-heavy for me. And I say that as a Nightwing buff.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Micro-Reviews

A Shazam! #1 Micro-Review – An Elective Course

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Shazam 1, cover, 2021, Clayton HenryTITLE: Shazam #1 (of 4)
AUTHOR: Tim Sheridan
ARTISTS: Clayton Henry, Marcelo Maiolo (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer)
RELEASED: July 20, 2021

Underplayed in Teen Titans Academy has been that one of the students is none other than Shazam, whose powers have been malfunctioning. This four-issue mini by Academy author Tim Sheridan is a nice way to zoom in on this Billy Batson story without having it pull focus in the main book.

So far, this feels more like an Academy story than a Shazam story, as we see a lot of Billy interacting with his peers at school than doing supehero stuff himself. Academy readers should be pleased. As should fans of Clayton Henry’s highly expressive, animated art style.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Teen Titans Academy #4 Micro-Review – The Bat Pack is on the Case!

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Teen Titans Academy 4, cover, 2021, Rafa SandovalTITLE: Teen Titans Academy #4
AUTHOR: Tim Sheridan
ARTISTS: Steve Lieber, Dave Stewart (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer). Cover by Rafa Sandoval & Alejandro Sanchez.
RELEASED: June 22, 2021

In this issue we meet the “Bat Pack,” three young detectives decked out in Batman-inspired garb. Based on how much Batman worship goes on at DC, I can only assume that’s also how the editorial staff dress at work…

Jokes aside, the Bat Pack stuff is pretty fun to follow. The characters actually feel like teenagers, a vital ingredient in teenage superhero books that’s harder to nail down than one might think. Steve Lieber’s art is also a good match for the story.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Micro-Reviews

A Teen Titans Academy #3 Micro-Review – The Suicide Squad Strikes

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Teen Titans Academy 3, cover, 2021, Rafa SandovalTITLE: Teen Titans Academy #3
AUTHOR: Tim Sheridan
ARTISTS: Rafa Sandoval, Max Raynor, Jordi Tarragona (Inker), Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), Alex Sinclair (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer)
RELEASED: May 25, 2021

What I really wanted coming into this book was for it to acknowledge Superboy’s history on the Teen Titans. It did that. So I was satisfied.

The best part of this series so far has been the younger characters, specifically Bolt and Summer Zahid. And fittingly enough, they’re put together in this issue. So again, I was satisfied.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Weekly Comic 100s: Teen Titans Academy #2

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Teen Titans Academy #2
AUTHOR: Tim Sheridan
ARTISTS: Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona (Inker), Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer)
RELEASED: April 27, 2021

I rolled my eyes a couple of times during this issue. First at the on again/off again romance between Nightwing and Starfire, which is still a thing. Second, that our cliffhanger sees another superhero team butting into this book, and we’re only on  issue #2.

On the plus side? We get to know a young speedster named Bolt in this issue, who wears blades in place of her lower legs like Oscar Pistorious did. I like that juxtaposition. It catches you by surprise.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Weekly Comic 100s: Teen Titans Academy #1

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Teen Titans Academy #1
AUTHOR: Tim Sheridan
ARTISTS: Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona (Inker), Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer)
RELEASED: March 23, 2021

I love this premise. Use the classic Teen Titans to introduce us to a new generation of teenage heroes. In a perfect world, that would be the endgame here: To introduce a group of characters that will eventually become the full-time Teen Titans.

Naturally, there are a lot of students we meet in this issue. The one that stood out the most to me was Summer Zahid, a young woman of Middle Eastern descent wearing a hijab. There isn’t enough Muslim representation in comics, and any book that can chip away at that gets bonus points from me.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

DC’s Infinite Frontier #0 – A Rapid Fire Review

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Couldn’t jam Infinite Frontier into an edition of “Weekly Comic 100s,” so we decided to upgrade the format. We’ll cover each story in this oversized issue in rapid fire fashion, and take a glimpse into DC’s future (not to be confused with Future State).

TITLE: Infinite Frontier #0
AUTHORS:
Various
ARTISTS:
Various. Cover by Dan Jurgens & Mikel Janin.
RELEASED:
March 2, 2021

Justice League: Wait, so is Black Adam’s name changing to Shazadam or not? I thought it wasn’t.

Batman: This one’s split into two parts. I’m liking this premise where Barbara Gordon mentors Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain in a Birds of Prey sort of way.

Also, Bane dies. Let’s see how long that lasts…

Wonder Woman: Apparently Wonder Woman did something super big and important in Dark Nights: Death Metal, so now she’s elevated to “the Quintessence” council with Phantom Stranger, the Spectre, etc., and we need a new Wonder Woman. Which is going to be…Wonder Woman’s mother Hippolyta? I think? Honestly, I don’t really get it…

Wonder Girl: So Yara Flor, the Future State Wonder Woman, is going to be the new Wonder Girl. That could be cool. But she only gets a few pages here. Frankly, I’d rather have spent more time with her than the ladies of Themyscera. We still don’t know much about her, after all.

Green Lantern: Alan Scott: In a very heartfelt scene, Alan comes out to his children as a gay man. That’s pretty cool. I’m also excited DC is borrowing from The New Frontier, and making it canon that the Justice Society was shut down during the era of McCarthyism.

Teen Titans Academy: Not much to go on here. But I continue to be optimistic about Teen Titans Academy.

Superman: Interestingly, we focus not on Clark Kent here, but Jonathan Kent. It looks very similar to what we saw in Future State. I’m not nearly as optimistic for that sort of thing here as I am with Wonder Woman…

Green Arrow & Black Canary: It looks like they’re undoing one of the deaths from Heroes in Crisis, which is a good thing. The less we have to remember from that book, the better.

Stargirl: Right off the bat, I love the art on this one. It reminds me of the original Young Justice book. A nice little teenager superhero outing by Geoff Johns. After all these years, I still miss him on Teen Titans

Green Lanterns: We see John Stewart, Simon Baz, and Keli “Teen Lantern” Quintela here. If they’re going to do a new Green Lanterns book, I wouldn’t mind one about the three of them as a team.

The Flash: This one gets a little far out in terms of cosmic scope. But it ends with some news that should make Wally West fans happy. I’m certainly intrigued.

Overall: A good outing, worth the $5.99 price tag. This is what I was hoping those Generations Shattered and Generations Forged books would be like. A jumping on point for various parts of the DCU.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Weekly Comic 100s: Future State: Teen Titans #2

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Future State: Teen Titans #2
AUTHOR: Tim Sheridan
ARTISTS: Rafa Sandoval, Julio Ferreira (Inker), Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), Rob Leigh
RELEASED: February 9, 2021

The plot got lost for me on this one. We’ve got Nightwing running around in a Deathstroke mask for no real reason, a bunch of dead characters to mourn, and too many surviving characters to keep track of.

How about this: Leave Nightwing out entirely. He’s got his own book, and it doesn’t really mesh here too well. Do Cybeast (see last issue), Starfire, and a few of the surviving young heroes. Let them take on…whoever the big enemy is here?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Weekly Comic 100s: Future State: Teen Titans #1

***”Weekly Comic 100s” keeps it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Future State: Teen Titans #1
AUTHOR: Tim Sheridan
ARTISTS: Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona (Inker), Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer)
RELEASED: January 12, 2021

The best part of this issue is the incorporation of the  Teen Titans Academy concept, which we’ll obviously see more of in the near future. But I didn’t follow the progression of Dick Grayson’s character through the issue. Ergo, when he has his big cliffhanger moment at the end, it was almost a complete miss. I understood it. It just didn’t land.

Future State also takes it upon itself to merge Cyborg and Beast Boy into one character: Cybeast. I can’t decide if that’s brilliant or stupid. Possibly both?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Deep Dive Reviews

A Teen Titans: Beast Boy Deep Dive – Putting the “Teen” Back in Teen Titans

TITLE: Teen Titans: Beast Boy
AUTHOR: Kami Garcia
ARTISTS: Gabriel Picolo w/Rob Haynes, David Calderon (Colorist), Gabriela Downie (Letterer)
PUBLISHER: DC Graphic Novels For Young Adults
PRICE: $16.99
RELEASED: September 1, 2020

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Teen Titans: Beast Boy brushes up against something I desperately wish it had explored further, as it’s something we rarely if ever see examined in superhero comics: Male body image issues.

That’s certainly not to say men have it worse than women in that department. Particularly as far as depictions in superhero books go. But it would have been a great route to take with a changeling superhero, and one that many a male reader could have identified with.

While not great, Beast Boy still turns out to be pretty good. Nothing Earth-shaking as far as YA books are concerned. But if you’re a Teen Titans fan, and especially if you enjoyed Teen Titans: Raven by this same team, it’s worth your time.

At it’s core, Beast Boy is about a kid who wants to fit in and be accepted. You’d be hard pressed to find a theme that’ll resonate with high schoolers more than that. It why our main character Gar Logan wants to change his image, change his body, etc. And of course, there’s a girl he wants to impress. Those two motivations cast a pretty wide net, making Gar a particularly sympathetic lead. Even when he starts developing animal shape-shifting powers.

Still, the book is able to find a nice balance between Gar’s teen angst, and portraying him as the light-hearted jokey character people know from the comics and cartoon show. This is true in terms of both Garcia’s writing and Picolo’s pencils, which more than once feel very reminiscent of how Beast Boy was drawn on the cartoon (see above). That comedy/drama balance can be very tough to strike, and I give the book a lot of credit for pulling it off.

Strangely, there’s a subplot in Beast Boy about a character with a learning disability that amounts to absolutely nothing. I’m all for representation and talking about these kinds of things. But shouldn’t it amount to something a little more than someone saying they have dyslexia?

Beast Boy is a sequel/spin-off to last year’s Teen Titans: Raven. As such, comparisons between the two are inevitable. Upon flipping through Raven, what immediately jumps out at me is the difference in the colors. David Calderon, our colorist for both books, used a largely muted palette of violets on Raven. There are similar muted tones in Beast Boy, but Calderon is also more inclined to make the colors pop more often. Gar’s skin tone, along with the green accent in his hair, are the most consistent example. There’s also a supporting character with really bright blue hair, making her particularly distinct.

The book takes a risk when Gar’s animagus powers start manifesting: His human body starts to mimic the animal he’s either channeling or about to change into. We see it with a mountain lion (right) and to a lesser extent with a bear. Whether it works or not is subjective. But I’m happy they didn’t overplay their hand with this trick. It could have ventured into silly territory very quickly.

For a long time now, I’ve argued that DC’s main Teen Titans series has lacked a sufficient amount of that “teen” element that’s supposed to distinguish it from books like Justice League. What these books by Garcia and Picolo do better than anything is put that “teen” back in Teen Titans. It’s a crucial, yet somehow often overlooked ingredient in their recipe for success.

For more DC Graphic Novels For Young Adults, check out Shadow of the Batgirl and The Lost Carnival.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.