Customer Reviews: New Teen Titans: Games
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on October 2, 2011
Finally! After twenty-three years of waiting, Marv Wolfman and George Pérez's original graphic novel is in the hands of die-hard New Teen Titans fans like myself. `The New Teen Titans: Games' was originally Wolfman and Pérez's swansong collaboration to the title which they created to box-office success in the good old eighties. Many thought that this story would never see the light of day had it not been for the efforts of DC's creative team who pulled this off.

Good idea, bad timing
Having worked together for five years or so to make The New Teen Titans DC's number one selling title (rivalling Marvel's Uncanny X-Men), Wolfman and Pérez had to part ways after "Crisis on Infinite Earths". `Crisis', as many comic fans from the 80's would know, is the multiverse-destroying 12-issue maxi-series that changed DC's confusing history. With a new assignment from DC to plot and draw the revamped Wonder Woman, Pérez could only do so much and had to sacrifice the The New Teen Titans which he helped popularize. Wolfman, however, stayed on the series, which was renamed The New Titans after the characters became adults, for some time despite Pérez's absence. The two reunited for a brief run on The New Titans but the magic was never the same as before.
So when DC announced that they would do "The New Teen Titans: Games" graphic novel with Wolfman and Pérez working on the Titans for the last time, fans remembered how good their first collaboration was and started salivating at the thought of an original story in graphic novel form. But due to Pérez's tight schedule and Wolfman going through an extended writer's block, `Games' had to be shelved time and time again. By 1992, the concept of `Games' no longer connected with the current title's continuity. So despite Pérez having drawn more than 70 pages of the book already, the project had to be shut down. In 2004, there was talk of reviving the dead project but it was just that: all talk.

Now, in 2011, `Games' is finally here! After Wolfman and Pérez reworked the story and the art (along with adding the final pages) to resonate with fans of today as well as the fans of yesteryear, I think it's safe to say that `The New Teen Titans: Games' was well worth the wait.

A roll call of the Teen Titans
In the graphic novel, most of our favorites from the hit series are back like Nightwing, Starfire, Troia (formerly Wonder Girl), Raven, Cyborg, Changeling (known more popularly in the cartoons as Beast Boy), and a new character which Wolfman introduced later on in the regular series without Pérez, Danny Chase (much to the chagrin of fans everywhere who disliked the character). Others who make a cameo appearance are Speedy, Lilith, Aqualad, and Wally West as the Flash (formerly Kid Flash).

The story
`Games' is a story which harkens back to the time when Wolfman and Perez used to do a few mystery stories involving the Titans. The pace at the start is slow and opens with a mystery as to who the Gamesmaster is, one who seems to be playing a board game of sorts with Manhattan and a C.B.I. (Central Bureau of Investigation) agent named King Faraday along with the Teen Titans. The Gamesmaster wants to prove to the U.S. that its defense system is not enough to protect it from all terrorist attacks by killing off three million people from the Manhattan area just to prove his point. What a loyal U.S. citizen, huh? Obviously, he's a lunatic but a very smart lunatic at that.

Despite the Teen Titans' objection to helping Faraday stop the Gamesmaster his way, they are forced to join him after he threatens the lives of people they love. However, one of the Gamesmaster's plan was to execute one of those loved ones after all. So now, the Titans are compelled to cooperate with Faraday because with his connection to the C.B.I., he has the means to help them. It was all for nothing though as the Gamesmaster gets what he wants: the death of someone close to the Teen Titans.

From there we see how good a strategist this antagonist really is. The Gamesmaster `moved' different villains to do his bidding and, as defeat at the hands of the Teen Titans becomes imminent, he removes his pawns from the equation explosively! Not only that but when Nightwing finally discovers the strategist, he realizes that the Gamesmaster is not him. And just when you thought the game was over, it gets even more difficult as two of our heroes are left fighting for their lives after an encounter with their `assigned' villains.

Suddenly, Manhattan is covered with a force shield that keeps everyone in and everyone else out. But more than that, it's shrinking and destroying everything it comes into contact with. If this wasn't bad enough, the Titans discover that the shield is powered by something very familiar to them. This, however, leads to the surprising identity of the Gamesmaster which they go on to defeat in the end.

The creators
Even though there is nothing overly spectacular about the story, it still brings a wistful remembrance to the simplicity and personal touch that these stories had over their audience, during its initial run.

Marv Wolfman still hasn't lost the amazing way he crafts a story that intertwines with the lives of his characters with dialogues that remind us that these are the same characters we've grown to love over the years. Even if you've never read a single issue of The New Teen Titans, you'll be able to understand the story because of Wolfman's straightforward writing.

The art is a work of genius with George Pérez at the helm. The years have not diminished his storytelling ability and his pencils are at par or even better than today's artists. I've always felt that Pérez is one of the three most influential and most dynamic artists in comics history. His work is always a sight to behold even after all these years.

For those of us who grew up adoring the characters, the creators, and the comic book itself, `Games' is a trip down memory lane that you wouldn't want to miss. It's one final look at the world of the Teen Titans that Marv Wolfman and George Pérez created for us. But more importantly, it's a story that needed to be told to close out one of the most successful pairings of all-time with the characters they have grown to love as their own. A truly masterful work indeed!

For me, I had always felt that Wolfman and Pérez`s departure from the book came too quickly and abruptly. It was almost like a ride that suddenly stopped without bringing you to where you needed to go. It's a ride from my adolescence that took twenty-three years to come to an end. And what an ending it was!

If you're a fan of great storytelling and great art (and who isn't?), "The New Teen Titans: Games" is the graphic novel for you. Yes, it reads like a mystery novel but once the action starts, it never stops! Get your hands on this one because it just might fly off the shelves soon!
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on October 23, 2011
...but it put me off in places.

All 120 odd pages of this book are drop dead gorgeous in the manner that only George Perez at his best can deliver. It absolutely blows you away.

The basic plot is also quite competent. Not hugely original but interesting.

However, the execution was flawed. It was confusing, especially towards the beginning. It relied too much on gratuitous death and mayhem for effect. It also placed the Titans in the position of not so much preventing tragedy but in making the tragedy less tragic than it could have been. This "thousands died but it could have been millions" approach to superhero storytelling that has become the norm since the '80s makes superheroes ineffectual.

Most seriously the plot twist at the end was tiresome when this book was conceived in the '80s and has only gotten more so since. I can't say more without spoiling.

Personal tastes vary, of course, and I am not surprised that others love this book. There is a lot to love. Highly recommended for the art; the story was not prime Titans in my opinion.
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VINE VOICEon January 27, 2012
I was soooooooooo looking forward to this graphic novel. The New Teen Titans from the 1980s was (and probably still is) my favorite comic book. It was what got me hooked into reading comics for decades to come. When I heard that original creators Marv Wolfman and George Perez were teaming up to do a graphic novel based on my favorite team (ever!), I couldn't wait to get my hands on it! Sadly, I was a bit disappointed.

The story "Games" was just average. It reads like your basic technological action movie. This was nowhere near the quality I would expect from such masters of their craft. Where were stories like the first ones involving Deathstroke, Trigon, Blackfire, Brother Blood, or Terra?

More disappointing than the plot was the membership of this particular New Teen Titans. Wolfman chose not to go with the original team that burst onto the scene in 1980; he chose to use the team with members from later years. In fact, it was probably one of the weakest memberships. Donna was no longer Wonder Girl, Wally had gone off as the Flash, Terra was already dead, Speedy had already left the team, and Raven was already in her white costume (instead of the original blue).

Most disappointing was the inclusion of Danny Chase. Bleh! Whoever thought this was a good character was sadly mistaken. He's like the annoying Agent Cody Banks of DC Comics...and that's *not* a compliment. According to Wikipedia, "Problematically, the character was often portrayed as an overly snide, egotistical brat. This quickly proved unpopular with most fans, and pro- and anti-Chase letters sparked heated debate in the letter column. Wolfman tried various ways to make the character more appealing to the Titans' fan base, including having him briefly disguised as the mysterious "Phantasm" during the Titans Hunt storyline. However, negative fan pressure was strong enough to write Danny out of the series." So why was he used in this story?

In addition to the awful choice of Danny Chase, Donna Troy's weird Troia (or whatever the heck her name was at the time) get-up and Gar Logan's mullet make their appearance as well.

Since the story was already set in the 1980s, Wolfman would have been wiser to use the original team-up that was so successful. On a related note, Wolfman goes out of his way to point out to readers that the story is set in the 1980s, but then he throws in an Internet reference. I wasn't even aware of the Internet until the mid to late 1990s.

Naturally, I loved the detailed art by George Perez but it was mired down in the lame story.

Overall, "Games" was a disappointment. I really think long-time fans of the original series deserved better.
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on October 29, 2011
The fabled Wolfman/Perez Titans graphic novel finally sees the light of day over 20 years later. Perez has always been a top-notch craftsman and this story is no exception. Highly detailed illustrations and page layout remain consistent throughout this colorful package. Unfortunately the story is something of a mess, obviously rewritten in parts from its original premise. Some shaky motivations and villains out of bad 80s/90s computer and role-playing games tended to make this reader wince at times. Admittedly nostalgia fueled most of my enjoyment of this story, but for those not having lived through the 80s era of Titans, this will probably be a major disappointment.
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HALL OF FAMEon December 15, 2011
Marv Wolfman and George Perez's prolific run on The New Teen Titans is, to say it lightly, staggering. A beloved series from beloved creators, New Teen Titans was something special in its heyday in the 80s, and now Wolfman and Perez return with Games. Games is something of a time-capsule in a way, considering that it was originally crafted in 1988 as a be all end all to the pair's run on the title, and it was never finished...until now. Games finds the Titans (Nightwing, Starfire, Cyborg, Changeling, Raven, Jericho, Troia, and Danny Chase) in the middle of a catastrophic showdown with someone known only as the Gamesmaster, but it becomes obvious that things aren't quite as they seem. King Faraday is thrown into the mix, along with some other players, as things quickly go from bad to worse for everyone involved. While the artwork of Perez is gorgeous naturally, Wolfman's story is a little lacking and occasionally confusing. All that aside though, having this proper conclusion to Wolfman and Perez's New Teen Titans run is just plain awesome.
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on February 15, 2016
Well worth picking up if you want to read about some of DCs most complex and fleshed out characters. Taken together the teen titans makes quite the engaging saga and if you buy the reprints you won't have to hunt down issues you missed and can enjoy the whole thing as if it's a long novel. Enthralling stories and also of interest to people who draw because of the gorgeous art. This and all the other reprints really are worth having and stand up to repeated readings.
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on February 16, 2014
<i>The New Teen Titans: Games</i> is a story that has literally been over twenty years in the making. Back in the mid to late-1980's, Marv Wolfman and George Perez (two men who have since become major heavy-weights in the comics' industry) were working together on the comic book <i>The New Teen Titans</i>, when they had an idea for a cool story. Unfortunately, due to various issues at the time, their idea never came off the ground, other than some sample artwork and a basis for a tale that they assumed would never see the light of day.

Over the next twenty-some years, the two men flirted with bringing their story idea to fruition, but nothing came of it. They actually were close to making it happen in the mid-2000's, but once again things fell through for them. Finally, the past few years, they got the go-ahead to make their concept a reality. Thus, this graphic novel was born.

The story begins with a terrorist that is wreaking havoc around the world, and leaving calling-cards for Agent King Faraday, who works for a government intelligence agency similar to the CIA. Not knowing where else to turn, he uses his extensive files to find a way to contact the Titans and convince them to work for him in finding this nut.

As the Titans go about investigating, they find themselves matched against unusual enemies. Well, unusual in that each Titan faces an enemy that seems to be tailored specifically to fight him or her and him or her alone. From the leader in Nightwing/Dick Grayson on down, each one must wage a battle against an opponent who is relatively evenly matched in some way or by some power.

The Titans are at first overwhelmed, but quickly turn the tables, and find the true culprit, and it is a bit of a shocker. One wonders if the villain didn't choose the Titans specifically so that they WOULD lose, and indeed whether the villain wanted to lose.

This was a really fun bit of a post-<i>Crisis on Infinite Earths</i> throwback. Seeing these characters in their '80's clothes, hair styles, and vernacular was really neat. Even the characterization of the cast seemed to designed to have each one be exactly as they were twenty years ago, and not today. As you will see if you compare this and other comics then to those of today, any of these characters can be broadly the same, but different in little ways that add up.

I really loved the added walkthrough where Wolfman and Perez contrast the process of finally creating this tale, and show what changes were made, and where. After twenty-some years, something was going to change. Yet, the fact that the story and characters remained as much the same as they did, and that these two men were able to settle in seamlessly into this role and do these characters correctly, shows their immense talents.

The artwork was terrific. While it wasn't aesthetically pleasing in the way that other works of the time (<i>Batman: The Long Halloween</i>, <i>Batman: Year One</i>, <i>Crisis on Infinite Earths</i>) were, it didn't have to be. It had to evoke the feeling of the comics at the time, and this it did well.

If you are at all a fan of the comics of that period of the late '80's, or a fan of comics <i>PERIOD</i>, you will enjoy this book.

Highly Recommended.
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on March 24, 2013
If you've never read the classic Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans before, this is a thoughtful, action-packed, and beautifully written and illustrated story that will not disappoint. If you're a fan of the classic series, then this is the critical no holds barred swan song to that brilliant saga that's worth the 25 year wait. And, if you know the back story for "Games" or simply take the time to read the forward and afterward, explaining the bizarre story behind its quarter century of development, then you're going to find this tale fascinating on a whole other level.

A brief explanation of that back story: Wolfman and Perez came up with the concept back in the mid to late 1980s, Perez drew the bulk of the artwork then, a basic synopsis of the plot was drawn up at some point, and other duties tore Wolfman and Perez away from the project long enough for them to forget much of what they had planned. As a result, the team faced two unique challenges in finally completing this storyline:

1. Update the story. 25 years passing can have a major impact upon the story and how it is perceived by its readers, especially since terrorism against New York City is at the core of the plot!

2. Work around the pre-existing art. With the bulk of the story penciled 25 years earlier to reflect a plot that had been significantly altered and also contained elements that neither Perez nor Wolfman could recall nor explain (Gar Logan being attacked by living cartoon characters half-way into the story being a prime example), it was a unique challenge and a fascinating experiment to create a somewhat new storyline that worked seamlessly with old artwork. You could also argue that it would be a challenge to make the new pages of artwork stylistically match the old, but c'mon; we're talking about George frickin' Perez here.

For all of these reasons, Games is a brilliant, captivating, essential read, especially if you're a Titans fan, and truly, written to be a swan song, this tale makes some bold moves and is bound to surprise you at least once! However, I had to admit that the problem of making a heavily changed script work with an old half-forgotten idea and accompanying artwork does present minor problems. There are certainly minor aspects of this story that don't hold together well -- little logic gaps and ideas that go unexplained that leave nagging doubts by the close. Perhaps the largest of these is the question of why the heck a Gamesmaster would be looking to prove that New York City is vulnerable to terrorism in 2012, as well as why he would need to create so elaborate and outlandish a method of destroying it.

In the end, this story does suffer from minor problems, and fans of the New TEEN Titans might be a bit disappointed to find the post-Perez NEW TITANS featured here instead, but they are largely the same characters, unchanged aside from Donna Troy, and Wolfman and Perez deliver every bit of the swan song for that team that I could have hoped for. I was excited, touched, amazed, devastated, challenged, and enthralled throughout. A life long Titans fan couldn't ask for more.
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on October 23, 2015
It's a good story and I like the classic artwork. Well done. My only issue was with how it worked digitally- and I took off one star because it was hard to read. The format is small. Usually you can magnify the pages and enjoy the artwork, but I could not do this in this case.
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on July 27, 2014
Bought this on my Kindle. I've still never read the original run of THE NEW TEEN TITANS that Wolfman and Perez did back in the 80's. But I saw the book a few times at the bookstore... and broke down to get it digitally. I enjoyed it. Story was interesting. The artwork was phenomenal. The coloring was outstanding. I probably should have bought the book, which was somewhat oversized and looked gorgeous. Recommended if you like any of the creators, and especially if you are a fan of the Wolfman/Perez years.
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