"Teen Titans" #9 finishes off "The Culling" and throws out plots to be examined in "Legion Lost" #10 and "Ravagers" #1 as well as the tenth issue of this series. After a brisk four-part run, I wish I could say that the story was enjoyable, but it lacks passion.
Harvest is exposed as the big bad, wrings his hands, twirls a virtual mustache and thanks everyone for playing into his plans. Scott Lobdell and Tom DeFalco certainly mean well to craft a new villain for the DC Universe - - one that has significant power, but the end result is another bad guy with a nebulous power set who has no real reason for readers to ever want to see him again save for a startling visual.
Ig Guara and J.P. Mayer handle the visuals on this final chapter and they do a nice job of presenting nearly two-dozen characters in various throws of battle over the course of twenty pages. Unfortunately, there's just so much going on in this book (and none of it is exceptionally gripping) that the issue is littered with a surprising amount of off-panel dialog and action, some of which falls apart visually because of the dialog trailing out of the panel. One such scene is Fairchild talking Ridge down, but we don't get to see if Ridge is really fighting staggering numbers, what he's doing, or how. It's a visual choice that simply doesn't work.
All throughout the fighting and beyond, there is a lot of standard issue comic book banter and even some heavy-handed, nobody-talks-like-that dialog coming from the mouths of the Titans -- rather off-putting as I would expect teen heroes to be less formal and measured in their speech. After all, real teens would most likely not utter things like, "Even then it is likely we all die before we hit the surface." Due in no small part to the measured, stilted speech, there is a muddling of the characters' voices. If colors were scrubbed from this book, I'd be hard-pressed to tell who said what.
Now that the team has been introduced to the readers and the DC Universe I am hopeful stories will be less cluttered than this issue was. If nothing else, there will be dinosaurs in the next issue -- certainly enough to get me to check back in. I just hope the Titans each begin to find their true, teen voices.