It’s the fight no one demanded, Superboy Prime vs the Teen Titans. Time and time again Prime has been defeated, placed in an ‘ultimate prison’, depowered, whatever … but he keeps coming back. DC writers just love him, with this month’s fan being JT Krul. He’s allied Prime with a Legion of Doom comprising villainous Titans types and Conner Kent clones. Could there (cue Chandler Bing voice) be a more perfect excuse to bring back former Titans for a massive 100th-and-last slugfest?
And after Prime is defeated, and sent to his latest ultimate prison, there’s room for the rounding-up of subplots: Ravager learns that Conner isn’t interested in her as a potential girlfriend, he simply wants her to be his personal kill switch should he ever go bad (awwwww!). And Raven decides to follow through on her attraction to Beast Boy (hurrah!).
These codas are the best bit of the comic, with the fight scene, while full of enjoyable, action-packed encounters, not quite meeting my hopes. What I wanted to see was big moments for such little-seen Titans as Argent, Risk and Prysm, but while the likes of Damian Wayne and Blue Beetle come into play, Red Star is the only non-current member who really makes an impression.
Still, the pencils of Nicola Scott and inks of Doug Hazlewood, Jack Purcell and Greg Adams bring us some great-looking pages, beautifully coloured by Jason Wright. The small panels carry a greater impact than their size might suggest, while the splashes make the most of the extra space allowed. A page of Prime being pummelled repeatedly uses the Titans’ fetishistic T to help convey the impression of repetition. And the final page, of the Teen Titans going their separate ways, is a winner, with the sunlight framing the figures in such a way that they echo the classic Titans statue at the beginning of the story.
And there’s more. Page after page of pin-ups by (deep breath) Rob Liefeld, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Karl Kerschl, Tony S Daniel and Norm Rapmund, Amy Reeder, Brett Booth and Rob Hunter, Marcus To and Chris Burnham. There’s something to enjoy in each of them, but if I could choose just one it’d be Burnham’s shot of the Titans villains. And Reeders charmingly un-cheesecake shot of lady Titans.
And Garcia-Lopez’ original team … cliche alert – the pin-ups here are worth the price of admission, but as $4.99 also gets you a pretty good 30pp strip, I recommend this last issue before the New 52 revamp without hesitation.