By: Fabian Nicieza (story), Jorge Jiménez (art), Guy Major (colors)
The Story: Kid Flash shuts down an invasion from the land of dinosaurs in record time.
The Review: To put it lightly, I didn’t care much for Teen Titans under Scott Lobdell. To me it represented some of the worst stereotypes about teens: some of the most thoughtless, stupid humor possible paired with some of the most overdone, hand-wringing angst possible. I was also disappointed in Nicieza’s handling of Legion Lost. How putting a writer I liked to work on characters I liked resulted in a title I lost all feeling for, I don’t know, but it hurt anyway.
And then Nicieza takes Kid Flash and turns out one of the one of the most tickling, chuckling issues I’ve read in a long, long while, possibly since the relaunch. Bart’s irreverence and fourth wall-breakage is a joy to read (“Continuity doesn’t really matter! Clarity is overrated!”), and provides the kind of voice I haven’t heard since Stephanie Brown vanished into continuity limbo. I don’t know about you, but it’s just what I’ve been needing.
While DC has inarguably churned out some great stories in the last year, most of them leaned on the heavy drama, and none of them offered consistent laughs. Lobdell tried, but we all know nothing assures you won’t be funny more than trying to be funny, and most of the time, his jokes felt tired and uninspired. For Nicieza, the jokes come effortlessly. He brings a hip sort of sophistication to his humor that reminds you of Peter David on Young Justice, a very good comparison to make. Consider Bart’s exchange with a couple cops regarding some trouble at a Chinese restaurant.
“None of this is my fault!”
“No, I know how you guys are—I want it on the record!”
Beyond the gags, you can’t help smiling at the issue’s out-and-out silliness. Apparently, the Titans have been up to some rather noteworthy things since I dropped their title, what with these half-dinosaur youths escaping their time-space warped island to Earth, where they then proceed to wreak havoc by releasing their lizard brethren in the name of their “Dino-supremacist” ideology. It’s tremendous fun watching Bart manage the situation in his unique way (“…it wasn’t a pummeling. It was a noogying.”). You even grow quite fond of the Saurians after a while, particularly the noble-but-not-gloomy Teryx.
If the script almost bursts with enthusiasm and charm, then Jiménez is right there on the same page with Nicieza. He uses a clearly manga-inspired style (check out Dac’s perfectly rounded, crystalline eyes) that plays up the hyperactive comical quality of the issue without sacrificing artistic integrity. His layouts are dynamic and functional, giving Kid Flash plenty of room to show off his blistering speed. For anyone wondering, this is how a teen-centric title should look like: a bit loose and energetic, but with all the creativity and skill you expect anywhere else.
Conclusion: If this title is meant to be a platform to test out concepts for long-term viability, let me do my part and say this is a concept that should be capitalized on as soon as possible. We can all use a dose of pure fun every month.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: – I don’t know what Jiménez did, but Kid Flash’s costume actually looks pretty sleek and attractive here.
– I love Dac’s Pterodactyl gliding outfit, by the way.