Teen Titans Annual #1 (The Culling, Part 1)
Story by: Scott Lobdell & Tom DeFalco
Pencils by: Brett Booth
Going into this, I expect it to go something along the lines of any crossover between super-teams who don’t know each other yet: Initial fighting, then teaming up to take down the big baddie. But nonetheless…Brett Booth’s art will make this worth it.
The issue opens with Red Robin being held at spearpoint by Artemis (as in, the archer chick, not the Amazonian chick) with Thunder and Lightning standing nearby. Tim immediately joins up with them and they head off, while explaining what “the Culling” is. Then a guy named Fist Point steps out and tries to take a toll from the group of teenagers. We see Lightning and Thunder’s powers and quickly take FP down. They meet up with the rest of the Titans, where Solstice is trying to convince Superboy to join them. Then we cut to the Legion Lost-ers inside an arena-place trying to get free. We find that even the teleporting character, Gates, can escape. They realize that they could be back in their time, but quickly disregard the idea. Next we see Harvest send Leash into the arena to bring the Titans and a few select others into the arena for the Culling. Skitter is the only one who doesn’t get pulled in, but we see another person who speaks like she does(!!!) tell her to come with him(?) . The Titans immediately see the Legion there and, of course, immediately attack. As they would in any crossover, both side thinks that the other is the evil villain. We see Bunker’s powers expand some and have some interesting match-ups that I would love to see more of in an AvX: VS fashion. Superboy vs. Wildfire? Red Robin vs. Tyroc? Wonder Girl vs. Timber Wolf? Harvest then tells Leash to begin the Culling, at which point he goes in and grabs a bunch of the other characters we kind of met but who weren’t pulled into the arena earlier, like Beast Boy, Artemis, and Terra. Then they all get dropped into the arena like crazies and the two teams have to team-up to save lives. Then the first blood is spilled when FP “kills” Artemis. (More on why I say it like “killed” later) The teams have some newfound energy and take down the rest of the teenagers without any more casualties. We then see Harvest laughing (???) at the fact that the teams are teaming up, saying that he knew this would happen, so he sends in the Ravagers and all of his lackeys to take down the two teams, effectively ending this annual issue.
So, first things first, this story is very interesting. I have come to realize that the storyline isn’t necessarily ending the whole N.O.W.H.E.R.E. storyline for good, but is more what happens during the Culling. Also, Brett Booth’s artwork is consistently amazing, especially the beautiful splash-pages on which the two teams fight side-by-side. I know that X-Man doesn’t like this storyline, but I really love it. Sure, this whole storyline has dragged on for a while, but it’s a lot better than some of the other New 52 storylines going on. Plus, Batman’s story has been going on for just as long and will continue for longer, so don’t complain. Just saying! I can’t wait for Superboy #9, and hopefully the next 3 parts can continually be as good as the first part. About the thing with Artemis: I asked Scott Lobdell on Twitter how he could kill her so easily and he hinted that she would be returning, but then to one-up that, when I jokingly stated a headline about her return, he asked how she could return if she “never left.” So there will seemingly be more things coming for Artemis is coming stories, so don’t get outraged over her “death” too quickly. Anyway, solid story, perfect art, can’t wait for part 2. This issue easily gets a 10/10.
Artemis: “Move—Blink, even—And I’ll slice your jugular.”
Red Robin: “Actually my carotid artery is about two inches higher. But you’ve made your point.”