I’ve had a lot of fun at Scott Lobdell’s expense over the past couple of years, mostly due to his tendency to turn any comic book he puts his hands on into an adolescent soap opera. After all, one doesn’t turn Starfire into a takes-all-comers fuckpot with the memory and morals of a goldfish because he likes writing tales of adult sexuality. He does it because nobody reads Penthouse Forum anymore. Jesus Christ, I’m three sentences in and I’m already getting off point here.
The one title Lobdell has been working on that I still read and enjoy on a semi-regular basis is Teen Titans, and I think it’s because it’s right in Lobdell’s wheelhouse: it’s supposed to be an adolescent soap opera. There’s nothing remarkable about a bunch of good-looking teenagers trying like hell to bone each other and treating every little misstep like it’s the biggest dramatic affront in the world; that’s just high school. So Teen Titans has been a particular place where Lobdell’s weaknesses have actually been a virtue… but still, it’s not been for everybody. As a soap opera, it has a ton of characters, it has featured longer-term stories, and it has, almost more than any other New 52 title, embraced the fact that all the characters are different than they’ve ever been. So we’ve got a book with new and unfamiliar versions of old characters, with constantly-shifting and volatile relationships, and that doesn’t really equal a title that’s friendly to new readers jumping in at any random point.
Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news, at least for potential new readers, is that Teen Titans #23 is a perfect entry point for new readers, specifically and carefully introducing every character, their relationships with each other, and, as befits a long-running team book like Teen Titans, even features a fairly significant personnel change.
The bad news, at least for long-time readers, is that not a hell of a lot actually happens in this issue.