By: Art Baltazar & Franco (story), Ig Guara (pencils), J.P. Mayer (inks), Wil Quintana (colors)
The Story: Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a cybernetic arm.
The Review: The way I see it, Baltazar and Franco really need to toe the line so as to make this title a success in one main area: the fact that hardly anyone really sympathizes with—can really sympathize with—the ultra-rich. It may be fun for us as kids to play that classic scenario, “What would you do with a billion dollars?” But as we grow up, the idea of any one person having that much money at their fingertips, solely for their own consumption, just seems appalling.
So while I’m sure Baltazar-Franco are just having fun coming up with increasingly outrageous expenditures for the Green Team, they’d be wise to keep it under control. Not only do some of the transactions strain credibility (Commodore, in a fit of hunger, buys out a hot dog vendor’s entire stand*), but they can turn us off to the characters, period (J.P., unable to decide what to order from room service, says, “I don’t know…just bring two of everything on the menu.”).
Baltazar-Franco must recognize this problem themselves, for why else would they inflict the title’s first, potentially long-lasting casualty to the most overtly superficial and spoiled of the cast? Though somewhat less vacuous than the average young actress, Cecelia is undoubtedly snobbish, even in regards to her death, though she’s self-aware enough to admit it: “Okay, weird thought at an inappropriate time: I wonder who the first to break the news about my death is going to be? Oh God! I hope it’s not a regular news channel!” And although her friends have their own moments of excess luxury, Cecelia takes her diva lifestyle to a whole new level, bathing in crates of sparkling water and requesting towels from Versace.
Despite the ridiculousness of their spending habits, the characters don’t wind up as caricatures. Nothing about their reactions to the craziness around them is too broad or unmerited. Besides, there is something admirable to Commodore’s to “stop screwing around and really do something with what we have,” although why this must include power suits and refurbished Batmobiles, and not, say, charitable donations to thoughtful social causes, we don’t know.
Commodore does give us a hint, though, in his declaration that “Money has secrets,” a thematic statement if I ever heard one. Despite ominous references to the sources of the gang’s wealth, or at least some of their wealth, it’s not clear what kind of badness is going on behind the scenes, though Commodore does suggest that Mo’s dad may have an illicit “army” before he gets cut off by Abisha, Mo’s bodyguard. Perhaps the ultimate goal of the Green Team is to use their money to stop those who would abuse it, which actually would be a validating reason for their existence.
Perhaps the most promising aspect of this title is that there is enormous room for growth, and that Baltazar-Franco are at least crafty and thoughtful enough to write a rather strained premise with credibility. Though our cast can’t be called heroes as yet—have barely even started down that path, in fact—it’ll be fun to see these pampered blue-bloods get their hands dirty, develop their skills, and ultimately find themselves.
I can’t say that Guara’s exactly an inspired artist, but he provides charming, warm art that fits the exuberant tone of the series very well. Titles featuring young characters often suffer from too much exaggeration, too little detail, and an excess cartooniness; Guara has none of these things, which already makes his work remarkable. His figures are all in proper proportion, with just enough flexibility in the faces to smoothly switch from comedy to seriousness. Quintana’s mild, polished colors are easy on the eye, and help to give The Green Team a more serious, grounded look than the bold hues you might find on Teen Titans, Superboy, Supergirl, etc.
Conclusion: Regularly pushing your incredulity, but somehow still managing to stay just within the zone of suspended disbelief. While the art feels mature already, the story and the characters are both feeling their way towards their potential.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: * Compare to 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon buying out a hot dog vendor’s entire supply to punish the people who cut her in line. Now that’s awesome.
– Anyone know who this James Cannon is supposed to be?