AT4W: Titans: Scissors, Paper, Stone

Teen Titans Go! …somewhere else, since this really has nothing to do with you.

About Linkara

Atop the Fourth Wall is a show about bad comic books. Linkara finds the surreal and the stupid and breaks them down page by page. You'll know why they're idiotic and how they can be improved.


  1. Well that was kinda weird comic book.

  2. Ryoko was my favorite member of the Teen Titans too!

  3. This is an interesting concept and i like warren’s work particularly empowered I’ve always liked deconstructions

  4. 9:13 That’s weird. Just a moment ago I was seeing Tenchi Muyo. That’s a very very weird coincidence.

  5. I feel like this story would have been much easier and more effective if it was based on a brighter and more lighthearted series and was just based around a smaller group or a single hero. Something like more of a deconstruction of superman or maybe even Batman and Robin would have worked a lot better because those heroes are not only more recognizable, but also have much stronger status quos than the Teen Titans did. Batman and Superman are never going to STAY dead or be forced to move on and never look back for long, unlike many Titans.

    I also feel like this could have probably continued a series and developed into something cool and super self aware if it had more than one issue. Think about it, you’re altering reality to create a superhero team, which means the universe is also going to create supervillains to balance things out and parody classic hero tropes and stories that they would have the responsibility to stop as the ones who caused this to happen. On top of that, the mentor figure dying is a pretty common thing so it wouldn’t be long until their mage was killed off and any chance to reverse things would disappear AND they have the neck thing for Batman, meaning anyone can become the new Robin. Maybe even becoming a parody of how many different people become that hero over the years.

    But something like this only REALLY works if you have enough time to set stuff up and move things forward. The biggest problem with this comic seems to be that things are just rushed and horribly paced to get 5 new characters and back stories into one issue.

  6. Very interesting and very manga like as well. Kind of looks like a superhero anime I might have seen if this Titan elseworlds was animated. Granted that Titans has translated well into the animated and anime style outside of TTG.

    As for the comic itself, that did look rather good and had some good ideas. Could have been a good series of its own elseworlds or not.

  7. Good God this comic is awful! The artwork sometimes looks decent and the writing is sometimes entertaining most of the time both the artwork and the writing are convoluted and confusing. The writing is especially stupid because it has the air of a writer who ‘thinks’ he’s really smart but he isn’t.

    • And that ending comes off more of a middle finger to the superhero genre then it does a deconstruction of it.
      Double ugh.

    • The concept is great, but I got the feel that the writer of this wasn’t super experienced and that this was meant to be a one-off. It’s just full of traps new writers fall into all the time, overly complicating things that could be simple, changing characters from panel to panel for the sake of it, a general lack of focus, etc. I wish this series would have kept going because it could be a good parody series and, at worst, be something stupid but entertaining… buuuttttt I can see why people would not be into something THIS blunt about it’s in-universe self awareness.

  8. By the way Linkara why do you use Weird Al polkas so much?

    • Whenever he can’t make up a joke based on a certain song that relates to the comic, he will use one of Weird Al’s polka’s for the end credits music.

  9. I really can’t stand the faux-manga art style. It just seems incredibly contrived. Eh, just my opinion though, to each is own.

    • How can an art style be contrived?

    • By being drawn unconvincingly, I’m guessing. Warren’s got skills and speed, but his style for faces is a strange, strange mix that always looks like somebody attempting anime style for the first time in the ’90s. Which is weird because he started before that and has been at it for a long time now.

  10. It was sad to not see any of the Titans there. You should have made a reference to the show. I guess I still agree with you. I had no idea that was how you pronounced “garish”. That happens to me a lot, where I pronounce words differently in my head. Loved the Gir joke

  11. It’s about time you got back to reviewing a crappy Elseworlds story, but thing one based on The Titans.

    4:31- It looks like a high tech jockstrap that stretches all the way to her butt crack. …What?

    5:21- And all the tiny heads of the Titans reminds me of the show Teen Titans Go, and that show is more cartoony than the awesomeness that was the Teen Titans animated show from the 2000s.

    6:15- Comic, if the blonde chick is NOT Aquagirl, than why the hell do the words “Akwatik Gir” appear written on her chest?
    19:26- Oh, she’s later called Prosthetic Lass. No wonder she kinda looks like a skin pealing version of The Terminator on the cover …Still doesn’t explain the “Akwatik Gir” top.

    6:45- Dear lord, there’s techno babble, and then there’s …crap you THINK is techno babble. Oh, and thank you, Sam Jackson.

    12:40- In speaking of which, have you heard from 90s Kid lately? He seems to be not around that much since Halloween? (Acting concerned.)

    14:58- The Batman memory chip thing kinda reminds of in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, where it’s revealed that The Joker put his memories in a micro chip from Cadmus, and connects it to Tim Drakes mind while turning him into a Joker Junior.

    Jeez, I never thought that this comic would be so bizarre, and that ending was so depressing.

  12. As far as empowered goes, what you really have to know is that it’s a very character driven series. Literally, it basically started out as a series of Superhero themed Bondage pin ups, but then Warren spent so much time trying to contemplate the character, backstory and surounding cast of this superheroine who kept being tied up that he just sat down and started writing a book about it. The characterisation is really good, but be warned as it starts worldbuilding it keeps revealing more and more hidden horrible things in the world.

  13. This video’s tagline made me think of that horrible Teen Titans Go cartoon.

  14. Yeesh, talk about wasted potential. The concept is interesting, but it’s executed rather poorly and the ending was just… depressing.

    Not sure if this counts as an Elseworlds, but ever heard of Teen Titans: Earth One? From what I could tell, the Earth One line is like Marvel’s “Ultimate Universe” imprint. I’ve only read the Teen Titans book, which I like, personally…

  15. Don’t deconstructions NORMALLY do the same thing they’re deconstructing? I mean like Evangelion, Gurren Lagann, Akibaranger, Stanley Parable, the music video for one song about japanese shut-in culture, etc. It’s kind of hard to deconstruct something with a piece of art in the same medium and genera without doing the same things, using them as an example of why certain things do or do not work without rubbing it in people’s faces, and then there’s satire, which is the same thing but it DOES rub things in their faces, and I’m pretty sure the only other option would be analysis, like what most youtube reviewers these days do (I mean the brony ones generally even call themselves analysts and not reviewers, and then there’s stuff like Game Theory and it’s affiliated shows, which is general analysis of specific topics as opposed to an actual review), which isn’t really the same thing.

    • Deconstruction basically means to apply realism to a thing. If you’re going to play it absolutely straight, then it isn’t a deconstruction because there isn’t the application of realism to it. Of course there’s going to be some subjectivity to how plausible a scenario is – many “deconstructions” like Evangelion are just parades of edginess every bit as ficticious as the genre they’re supposedly deconstructing -, but at heart a deconstruction can’t be undistinguishable from an unaware work.

      • That might be so, but he didn’t exactly mention how aware Empowered was, but it does sound fairly aware. I’m simply pointing out here that plenty of deconstructions do the same things as the things they’re trying to take apart, but with that level of awareness, with slightly aware being basic deconstruction and more aware being satire like I mentioned. I’m just not very good at putting my thoughts into words.

      • That’s actually a misconception – deconstruction doesn’t in any way require a work to apply realism to a genre or work to be a deconstruction. To deconstruct means to break down something to its base concepts and constructs, so a deconstruction, or a proper one anyway, merely needs to be a self examination of the tropes and cliches which a genre or work typically uses.

        As such, many a deconstruction are able to indulge in the tropes they use while still adding new commentary to the discussion. Or a work could simply be an affectionate parody, in which the creator mocks the cliches while still acknowledging how much they enjoy them anyway.

        Really, just because something is “gritty” or “realistic” doesn’t make it a deconstruction, and the amount of creators who use it as short hand for that is kind of irritating. It’s lazy.

      • That is not what deconstruction is at all. What you are describing is realism. (Literary) deconstruction is taking elements of a work or genre apart and analyzing them in ways the original works did not.

        This may be done by injecting realism, as in the case of your example, Evangelion, which analyses the standard elements of the mecha-genre by showing 1) psychologically realistic reactions to said elements, 2) how wrong our current understanding of reality must be for such elements to even be possible, 3) the realistically possible results of such elements not explored in the original works and 4) just what kind of screwed-up system is required for it to be necessary to force teen-age kids to pilot WoMDs. But realism is not itself deconstruction.

  16. 06:43

    • Well, it wasn’t _Linkara_ swearing, was it?

      I don’t recall him ever saying that he wouldn’t have clips with swearing in them, just that he wouldn’t swear in his reviews.

  17. I’d consider the one-shot Teen Titans/X-Men comic to be an elseworlds.

  18. For no good reason, I would like to state that I love the Weird All extro music in these videos.

  19. It’s not the mouths so much as the fish lips. Apparently in the future, every woman… Well, girl, by the looks of it… Has giant pouty lips when she’s not making a toothy angry mouth. I can say without a shadow of a doubt I hate this artwork.

    What I hate even more is the “deconstruction” angle. Deconstruction always sucks, and in this case it sucks twice as hard because it’s so on the nose. “Hey, I put mythical super heroes in a realistic setting. Turns out they’re stupid and tragic.” It rather reminds me of the incessantly low-brow “Scientifically Accurate ” YouTube videos. Not good.

    The whole thing strikes me as a giant waste of time. Everybody’s stupid, the story comes from nowhere, goes nowhere and doesn’t really amount to anything. COMICS! ARE! WEEEIRD! Yeah, I knew this already, comic. They can also tell good stories, and this one simply didn’t. It had its head so far up its own ass with pretentious twaddle that it forgot to actually have a plot so it ended up reading like propaganda.


  20. That darker skinned girl looks like a fusion between all three Oh My Goddess goddesses…


    • But in all seriousness… this is a really weird Elseworlds comic, even by Elseworlds standards…

      • I guess you just have to embrace your inner weeaboo to truly appreciate this comic… or just to even understand it.

        • Actually, this is what it looks like when some old guy who has never watched anime or read manga thinks they know enough to write story in same style 😛

        • Actually, scratch that, now that I’ve seen the full review, it seems like someone wanted to write “Superheroes suck” story and for some reason threw ton of nonsensical terminology and few Asian names/word into mix while character designs look like someone checked out random anime and drew something that sort of looked like what they checked.

          Like, if someone at higher ups said “Hey, write an anime elseworld story!” and they do something completely different since they aren’t really interested in that stuff ._.

  22. Let’s see here…
    The artist here has clearly taken inspirations from 90:ies anime style. Oh My Goddess, Tenshi Muyo etc. The artwork does indeed look ok on it’s own I guess, though it’s clearly visible the male’s have a more western influenced facial and the girls eastern. Considering how many fem-boys you see in anime it’s somewhat good with bulky guys, but at the same time more body types would be great too. Even the girls.
    The word “Aiyaaa” means “Oh” which you can hear from mandarin-chinese (Which would suggest main girl here has chinese origins). It’s apparently expression of displeasure, surprise, pain etc.

    Superheroes don’t suck. The well written ones with motives of what drives them to follow their ideals and bring justice while still learning about the world is fascinating. It wouldn’t have hurt so much if she just said: Being a superhero sucks. That would’ve at least made somewhat understandable.

    Knowing anime I feel that the artist even has copy pasted anime archetypes in there. The personality of the honest to god too kind for her own good pacifist kind of person which clearly would be hard to make into a real hero.
    All in all even I’m starting to miss a bit of self-bashing towards the eastern side. I mean, I don’t need a comic to tell me the who’s and the what’s if it’s already that obvious from the get go. It makes me feel like I’m watching one of those animes where they’re stupid in a boring way.
    This comic looks both ok an not okay in my book. Batman saying something something he usually doesn’t… why not.

  23. Aiyaaa is essentially a stock anime Chinese girl phrase meaning something along the lines of “oh my”.

  24. Am I the only one who saw the guy turned into Batman and could not get “Oh god! It’s the mutha f###’ing MAIDMAN!” out of their head?

  25. ah, this was one of the first comics I decided to buy, mostly because it looked so different from the usual comics back then. It holds a nice place for me, I didn’t remember many details so thanks for the reminder, Linkara!

    • Actually, you know what? I read the latin american translation, here in Mexico, and the ending specified that BEING a super hero sucked. Something was bothering me when I saw the original English translation. Huh, interesting that the translator would change that, it feels like a better outcome

  26. “Aiya” is basically a Chinese interjection that we commonly use for things like “oh my,” “oh crap,” “damn,” or whatever in that category.

    Anyway, this “manga” comic seems interesting, though it looks absolutely crazy.

  27. SailorRustyBacon

    I have a love-hate nostalgic relationship with Adam Warren. His style (pre-octolips era) among those of other 90/00’s American manga-style artists (Ben Dunn, Robert DeJesus, Diana X Sprinkle… not so much Fred Perry) had heavy influence on me, when I started to get into manga and anime- the days where we’d get manga chapters serialized in single comic issue format, flipped to read left to right, and had to wait to pay $3ish per month; as well as the only option of getting anime at the time were at video rental stores or bite the bullet for what you pay for at Sun Coast. Watching this review, I was reminded of the techno-babble always used in his Dirty Pair: Sim Hell (which btw, are the first 2 girls that show up on Alec’s shirt), and BCG: Grand Mal. I could barely follow along even now, much less when I was 13ish. His art, particularly in Sim Hell, are reminiscent of Masamune Shirow, Kenichi Sonoda, and to a lesser extent, Yukito Kishiro. Gen13 Bootleg, I guess, was trying to be a self-aware parody.

    Now one of the main problems I have with his character designs, off the top of my head, is that all the males and females have the same cookie cutter body types and face shapes; I have never seen Warren ever illustrate a muscular woman with a chiseled jaw, nor a slim man with a round face & pointy chin. Even in Sim Hell, where Kei & Yuri’s tech-geek adversary Kevin, was shown to be pretty buff… Well maybe the closest thing I remember to seeing a skinny-looking guy, was his interpretation of a Jet Li cameo in Gen13 Bootleg.

  28. I liked this one, the witch was funny.

  29. I fucking lost it at “You need a dick!” in your Batman voice! I know that was an intended sexual innuendo, but hearing it out loud and in you Batman voice makes it absolutely hilarious!

    “Witchy-Poo” sound more like a name Superboy Prime would come up with for someone. But it was also hilarious to hear that in you Batman voice.

  30. At 8:30 the girl on that guy’s shirt looks like she’s trying desperately to escape his crotch.

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