Writer: Sholly Fisch
Artist: Marcelo Di Chiara
Cover: Daniel Hipp
Look, Sholly Fisch is a national treasure, and DC Comics would do well to put him under lock and key, well-fed, and ensure that he keeps pumping out quality comics. At this point, I don’t care if you hate the Teen Titans Go! television series and all that it represents. I don’t care if you can’t stand “cute” comics and only want adult levels of violence, sex, and violent sex. Read Teen Titans Go! #18 and tell me that this isn’t how you do a funnybook.
“TV or Not TV” is one of those amazing “showcase” issues where you get several different mini-stories crammed into a single story, each part coming together to meld into something beautiful. In this case, it revolves around the Titans learning that somebody’s coming to Jump City to make a television show about them, so each of our heroes spend the entire issue envisioning what that would be like. Beast Boy’s envisioning of the program as a “Wild Kingdom”-type show seems like standard humor fare…until Fisch and Di Chiara crank things up to 11.
That is, the Titans end up imagining the show through the lens of history’s actual past Teen Titans television shows, each version being appropriate to the dreamer. Robin sees the uptight bubblegum heroes from the 1960s Filmation series, complete with dated dialogue and limited movement. Cyborg imagines himself as the lead hero in the anime-themed show which inspired the current, zany cartoon. And Starfire envisions something based on the slightly more contemporary Young Justice. Oh, and there’s Silkie and Raven’s visions for the show, but those are best left unspoiled.
The revisit to the prior mass-media incarnations of the Teen Titans is good fun for anyone who’s ever watched these old shows. It’s an opportunity to take a break from the Rebirths and Civil Wars of the comics world and just enjoy some classic parody. Impressively, Marcelo DiChiara is able to bend his art style just enough that he convincingly recreates each of the prior versions of the Titans, right down to the 1960s version looking like cheap grainy animation stills. Of course, as respectful as it is, Sholly Fisch still manages to point out the flaws and absurdities of these old shows, but only to the point where you can reminisce as much as you laugh.
Not every comic needs to be dramatic, dangerous, or alter the status quo. Some just need to be rolled up and stuck in your back pocket for a good laugh. Teen Titans Go! gets you there, and with this issue, you need to buy two copies: one for a kid who needs it, and one for yourself.
Rating: Five stars out of five.