Story: Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Aydin
Art: Steve Pugh, Juan Gideon
Colors: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
What They Say:
A charismatic cult leader has been recruiting followers to join his “church,”a highly suspicious organization locked behind the walls of a private compound. For Raven, freeing this vulnerable flock is imperative…the question is, how can she save people who don’t want to be saved? When reports surface that LexCorp has gained access to confidential government health records, Raven realizes that this could mean the unmasking of countless superheroes. With BeastBoy’s help, she must infiltrate LexCorp’sprivate servers and destroy the information before it falls into the wrong hands.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The third installment of this series pulling from the DC Giants brings us stories that focus on Raven and Beast Boy, which is always fun on some level. The opening tale brings in Marc Guggenheim to write it with Steve Pugh handling the artwork which has a solid consistent look to it that works well for both the superhero side and the more mundane elements. The second story from Andrew Aydin is largely an action set piece when you get down to it and that lets Juan Gideon just go all out. I really didn’t care for his take on Gar in his regular form but he nailed all the animal forms well and his version of Raven is interesting.
The opening story starts off amusingly enough as we see Raven out on a date, which means that since it’s with someone normal that it’s a bad date to her. She really doesn’t even hear the guy through much of it, just a lot of blah blah and talking about himself without engaging her at all, but she finds herself drawn away from it with emotional distress she senses elsewhere. This leads here, with a little complication, to a sprawling cult-church that’s got all the paperwork to be legal. Doing this solo is key as a team of superheroes would be bad and she’s driven by her own personal connection to cults to free this young woman and any others. It’s a decent enough story as it unfolds but it’s the kind of story that needs more page so that it can flesh out better yet at the same time this shorter version says all that needs to be said. It’s just kind of there.
The second tale has Garth coming back from a doctor’s appointment only to be drawn into a mission with Raven. She’s discovered that LexCorp has acquired a sizable amount of medical records that could allow it to figure out the real identity of almost every superhero because of it. That means an infiltration mission to try and deal with the records but it largely becomes all about the action. With Garth somewhat reluctant to do this at all, we get to see a good mix of what he can transform into to deal with the problems but also some of the things he avoids, like spiders since he’s afraid of them. Raven gets to show off a bit as well but the whole thing is just too light on the story in general. It’s a good set-piece that’s to fun watch unfold but it’s pretty light on the calories.
While I continue to enjoy the Titans in general and like elements of both of these stories, neither of them really hit a good mark or truly stuck the landing. The shorter stories are harder to do in general and that’s definitely reflected here even though it’s pared down in terms of cast size as much as it is. Raven’s a good character but a hard one to really make carry the story and she’s got lead in both of them. Gar doesn’t fare much better here either. Pugh’s artwork is something that I’ve known forever and it’s solid here but I really didn’t care for Gideon’s take on Gar all that much either, which didnd’t help.