Friday, April 11, 2008

Character Assassination: Judd Winick & Ian Churchill Destroy The Titans

Regular readers of FanBoyWonder know of our great fondness for the classic New Teen Titans comic series by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in the early 1980s. Conversely, we’ve also made no attempt to mask our contempt for the work of “writer” Judd Winick and “artist” Ian Churchill.

So our heart was filled with growing dread as the new Titans series by Winick and Churchill featuring the original Wolfman and Perez team roster loomed closer to publication. Well April Fools—the new series is out and the joke is on we the reader.

Winick and Churchill’s Titans wasn’t as bad as we feared it would be. It’s actually MUCH, MUCH WORSE.

Here’s the Upshot From DC Comics: A new team of Titans is born in the extra-sized first issue of a new ongoing monthly by Judd Winick, Ian Churchill and Norm Rapmund! Someone or something is continuing its attack on anyone who's ever been a Titan, including Nightwing, Starfire, Donna Troy, Beast Boy and Raven. You won't want to miss this new startling chapter in Titans history that may forge a new team from the ashes of old, dead friends.

We weren’t encouraged by the preview pages that we saw online but it got worse as we took the trouble to flip through the book off the shelf at the comic book store. Needless to say we put the book back on the shelf, declined to purchase it and washed our hands at our earliest opportunity.

We’ve made it pretty clear how we feel about it but let’s take a sampling of how some of the reviewers felt about Titans #1.

Matt Brady’s Best Shots Extra—

This is a terrible comic book. Titans #1 fails on nearly every conceivable level. Nearly everything about it is wrong-headed, and closer examination makes it fall apart even further. It’s something like this book, alongside things like Countdown, that reveals profound cracks in the DC editorial process.

“Really, kids, this is an Epic Fail. And what kills me is that all of this should have been stopped in editorial. The gaping holes in plot, motivation, and character should have been addressed. The ridiculous art should have been noted (the fact that Starfire’s costume now looks like a parody of the Cockrum Storm outfit alone).

“The characters set to inherit the mantle of the JLA (and reminder: some have) should come off as tougher . . . . smarter . . . and dare I say, cooler.

“You could have had an action-packed reunion that makes the readers excited about what’s next. You could have had some momentum and some indication that anyone there knows why people loves these characters.
"But you don’t.
Titans #1 should have been a good book. It should have been a good time. Instead, it’s just another in a long line of some-flash/no-substance books that’s apparently there than for no other reason than to milk the brand. These characters can still have some life together, but a global rethink is needed on the part of the creators and editorial. These aren’t the Titans of the fans, these aren’t “Friends” . . . quite frankly, I don’t know who they are.”

From Bryan Joel—

"This issue oddly assumes you've read Winick and Churchill's diabolically bad Titans East one-shot last year, as the Big Bad in Titans is the same unidentified force that demolished Cyborg's junior team. It's odd that DC would've issued what amounts to issue #0 of this series six months ago, but there you have it. And just like in Titans East, you'll either love or hate Ian Churchill's artwork. It's very much in the style of the biceps-'n'-boobs work that pervaded most mainstream superhero books in the '90s. Shiny and polished, to be sure, but it will no doubt irritate some readers.”

Bryan liked it more than most reviewers but even as he’s trying to be chartable, it reads more like damning by faint praise.

Dan Phillips also of on the other hand doesn’t hold back:

Winick’s characterization of each of these beloved heroes is as one-dimensional and stereotypical as they come, with no hint of the charm or complexity that made these characters so relatable in the first place. In three pages (which is the average amount of space given to each character’s intro), a competent writer can effectively introduce a character in an intriguing and thorough manner. Well, folks, don’t turn to this book if you want thorough characterization.

“God, the writing in this comic book is bad. Very bad. And for a lot of reasons, Ian Churchill’s boobs and biceps art, which would have been old and out of place five years ago, makes it all the more painful. The way Churchill stages scenes involving females in order to include the most ass and cleavage shots possible is not only childish at this point, it undermines the entire scene.

"With the exception of two scenes involving Nightwing, he’s not even as dynamic as the 1990s Image players he attempts to emulate. This is static, pin-up art at its worst, and while it might look good, it’s horrible at conveying a story. His Beast Boy rocks Wolverine chops for no reason whatsoever, his Red Arrow wears a completely different costume than the one he wears in the five other DCU books he pops up in each month. In many ways, Churchill and Winick deserve each other.
“If you can’t tell by now, I won’t be picking up the second issue.”

From Hannibal Tabu’s The Buy Pile for Comic Book Resources:

"If you like near-naked and scantily clad depictions of curvy female characters, you'll like "Titans" #1, which features almost full frontal Starfire and turns Raven into a kind of hot goth Daria (a far cry from what you'll see in "her own emo title" -- no, that bit is not going to die anytime soon). The plot -- dead former Titans all over the place -- brings back another DC staple (see: same sort of big bad intro from "Green Arrow Black Canary") for what's gotta be the grillionth time. How's anybody supposed to be seen as threatening after they get beaten so many times and can go years without anybody seeing them? Anyhoo..."

And finally from Ryan “the Iowan” of

“Despite the overwhelming amount of flack that Judd Winick gets, I’ve always found myself to be general pleased with his work. I liked his indie stuff, his Green Arrow was mostly solid, and I loved his run on Outsiders. When I combined that with my love of the Perez/Wolfman era Titans, I found myself pretty pumped about this series. Of course, that was before I read the abysmal Titans East Special. That issue certainly lowered my expectations, but I was in no way prepared for how bad this issue would be.

“There is very little dialogue throughout the issue and when the characters do talk, their lines are filled with clichés (so you’ll almost wish they hadn’t). I really hoped that Ian Churchill could save this book, but that was simply not the case. There are moments of brilliance in the art, such as the double-page title spread, but ultimately the art is simply too ridiculous to be taken seriously. I mean, really, does everyone need to have a bodybuilder’s physique or ridiculously large breasts? Some characters make sense like this, such as Nightwing and Starfire, but beyond that, its just excessive, trashy, and kinda pathetic. I know that Churchill can do better than this.

“In the end, I really want to like this book because it’s got some of my favorite characters, a great opening villain, and a writer than can do great work on team books, but this is just plain bad. Avoid this one at all costs!”

>>>>> “And what kills me is that all of this should have been stopped in editorial. The gaping holes in plot, motivation, and character should have been addressed.>>>>>>

What Matt Brady says here hits the nail right on the head for us. DC Editorial should have seen the writing on the wall six months ago following the lousy reception of the Titans East Special.

This was a train wreck that they had months to prevent. The fact that DC Editorial couldn’t be bothered or worse couldn’t see that there even was a problem with this book makes us doubt the basic competency of Dan Didio’s regime.

The only way we see to save this book and these characters is to boycott it. It’s unreadable and unbearable to watch these two no talent a** clowns wrap themselves in the legacy of Wolfman & Perez even as they set out to dishonor it.

Oh yeah. It just plain sucks too!


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counters
Online Universities