Greetings, peoples! I’m still chugging away on my own writing and hope to have a new chapter of Uncanny X-Men up soon. Today, though, I want to talk about something different. I want to talk about Titans (2018) and my conflicted thoughts on it.
Quick Robin! Under the bat-cut!
Problem One: The Comic-Con Trailer
Most people, I think, have seen this one. I’m not going to go over it much, but I will some of the sour notes it left behind:
- Dick Grayson of all people says ‘fuck Batman!’ While this is an accurate summation of Dick’s feelings towards Bruce immediately following his graduation from being Robin, the delivery is off. It’s way too on the nose, and lacks any of Grayson’s trademark banter and wit. In the end, it sounds like something Mark Millar would write while trying to convince people he’s mature and ‘edgy’.
- Dick Grayson is heavily implied to kill the thugs he confronts in the trailer… and then DC backtracks after fan backlash and says ‘no he didn’t.’ There are a few problems with this one. First, ever since the forties or so, Batman and company have an editorially-mandated ‘no killing’ rule. It’s been challenged every now and again, and there’s been a few one-off’s that have the Batfam killing, sure. But ‘Batman doesn’t kill’ is an accepted character trait, consistent across most writers, and Dick tends to be more loyal to the rule than Batman. So Dick killing is a no-no. But it gets worse when DC backtracks, because it looks like they have no real vision for either the character or the series.
- Supporting material suggests that Batman comes close to breaking his no-killing rule, and that’s why Dick left. Same problem as before.
Problem Two: The Netflix Trailer
Okay, so the second trailer was a major improvement on the first. Which is a good thing, right? Well, sort of. The problem is that it implies Netflix’ marketing department has a better understanding of the show and the show’s audience than DC does. Which is a scary thought in and of itself.
Some Other Problems
- Dick as a police officer. Yes, this is true to comics lore… and I didn’t care for it in comics, either. Policing is a job with long hours, terrible work conditions and searing psychological trauma. It is, in fact, one of the worst jobs known to mankind. Why would a vigilante like Dick, whose job already includes all of the horrors of police work and none of the benefits, become a cop?
- The costumes. Let’s be blunt here: TV show budgets and superhero costumes don’t work that well together. Take a look at Daredevil: everybody hated the black costume, but at least it was comics accurate and looked like something a ninja would wear. The red costume got a worse reception. So we can kind of expect the costumes here to be, well, less than perfect (although Batman (1966) did all right…). Here are some specific problems:
- Beast Boy, Starfire and Raven aren’t green, orange and purple respectively. I’m glad they went this route, because with a TV budget they would have looked really, really ugly. And it’s somewhat comics accurate, at least in Raven’s case.
- Beast Boy and Raven’s costume are evocative of their comics costumes without, you know, actually being their comics costumes. This isn’t really Titan‘s fault; the problem goes back at least to Batman (1989) and has continued ever since. There is a strong reluctance among live-action producers to make heroes look like their comic book selves or to believe that modern audiences will accept comic book costumes on screen. And, to my annoyance, it’s a problem that’s been slipping into actual comics too.
- Anna Diop’s costume makes her look like a hooker. It does and it’s deeply unfortunate because Anna Diop is drop dead gorgeous and deserves to be in a better costume. The wig looks all right and the colour scheme (for the wig) is fine, and I like those purple eyes. The rest of it needs an overhaul though and is indicative of a problem modern comics writers have in regards to Starfire: they see her as a slut and cheap fanservice, nothing more. Not all writers are this bad, of course, but it’s a recurring problem and Anna Diop’s costume looks like it’ll be continuing that trend. Now, Diop has said she gets a better costume later on, but that still means somebody thought it was a good idea to put her in this costume in the first place!
- Robin’s costume looks armoured and shiny. Argh! Why is a ninja in shiny armour!?!
- Early reports and reviews claim the show is totally different from, and misrepresented by, the trailers. Which, again, implies DC either doesn’t understand it’s own show or doesn’t trust the audience enough to portray the show honestly. Not a good sign either way.
- The ages are kind of all over the place. I get that’s why they dropped the Teen part of the title, but still. We have a thirteen year old Raven next to a twenty-eight year old Robin.
- On that note, why isn’t Robin Nightwing yet?
- Jason Todd as the new Robin. I hate that kid.
- Anna Diop is, apparently, the break out star of the show. Not a problem in any real sense of the word, though it might become one later (breakout stars tend to become very diva-ish, but we’ve only got two seasons confirmed so far so who knows if the show will even last long enough for that to become a problem? And hey, maybe Anna Diop is a good enough person that she’ll never become a diva at all. Weirder things have happened). It just grates me that the promotional material has done the woman such injustice if she’s really the heart and soul of the show once we get in there.
- It’s on DC’s seventy-five US a year subscription service. Fuck you DC.
- A lack, really, of promotional material centred around people not named Dick Grayson. It’s an ensemble show, right? But Dick has been the star of the last two trailers.
I’m still not sure what to make of this show. The marketing for it has been terrible, I think we can all agree on that. On the other hand, the reviews are good so you know maybe? I don’t know.
I just don’t know.
If you enjoyed this analysis, please buy me a coffee (http://ko-fi.com/falconlord) or buy my original fiction on Amazon.
Robots and Vampires (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NDLMDT4): Two hundred years in the future, a young cyborg stops the richest boy in town from killing a gynoid. Now he must flee from the only home he’s ever known to Fort City, base of the mysterious Standard Technologies, Inc. Can he trust them?
The Standard Tech Case Files-The Black Coats (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VTWMR7W): When there’s a corpse on the street, somebody has to answer for that. When the body in question is the squire of a prominent vampire, the call for blood only gets louder. Follow Joey Bianco and his squire Jen Ryan as they hunt down a killer and try to keep the peace between vampires and humans.
The Standard Tech Case Files-The Dead and The Damned (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MRSBC7I): Tensions between humanity and vampires are heating up. A vampire store has been ransacked. Protestors are being arrested without trial. Can Joey Bianco and Jen Ryan find a peaceful solution? Or will the streets of Fort City run red with blood?