Teen Titans #20 review

The new Teen Titans are on their latest mission – bringing down the current incarnation of the Church of Brother Blood.

As the new members gel surprisingly well considering they’ve only worked together a handful of times, leader Robin thinks about how he recruited each one.

First came Kid Flash, who served with Damian Wayne on the last incarnation of the team…

… then he asked Red Arrow, who like Wallace West, was a tad reluctant – but Damian persuaded her…

… new kid Roundhouse is there because his joining was a condition for Kid Flash’s agreeing to serve…

… while Lobo’s daughter, Crush, provides sheer power and savagery…

… and ‘4000-year-old teenager’ Djinn fills the mystical hole left now Raven is with the older Titans squad.

After the murderous zealots are cleared away, we learn that Robin is keeping a big secret from his teammates.

Well, this was a lovely surprise. When I reviewed the recent Teen Titans Special #1 , I was worried that incoming writer Adam Glass was taking this new team down a murderous route. And while Damian is acting in a way that wouldn’t endear him to the Justice League – especially Dad Batman – he’s not serving as judge, jury and executioner and neither are his associates. Heck, it seems Damian has even come to learn that leading a team doesn’t mean being a teen tyrant.

I’m a little uneasy with this moodier Kid Flash, but having the sunny Roundhouse by his side will likely cheer him up. I like this new bouncing boy who, Glass hints, is being severely underestimated by Damian.

Crush, half-human, half-Czarnian, is already showing more personality than I’d expect from the Main Man’s offspring.

Djinn demonstrates a surprising vulnerability, and I love her mini-Barbara Eden moment. And when she’s not being cute, she does a nice line in freaky superheroics.

Red Arrow, I’ve never found interesting: the DCU is full of archers and former assassins, and being both hasn’t, so far, made her compelling – but there’s a hint that Robin’s told her about his unorthodox basement conversions, which is something.

Adam Glass, who showed he can handle team dynamics with his New 52 run on Suicide Squad, works real magic here, making a brand-new combo fascinating on their first outing. The dialogue is natural, the interactions equally so, and the concept of an extreme teen team far less annoyingly Nineties than expected. I actually like this new bunch – they’re sparky and all come with subplots.

Just as the young heroes form an instantly likeable partnership, so artist Bernard Chang complements Glass’ talents. Chang has been around DC for years, on such books as Wonder Woman and Superman, producing strong work, but he hits another level here. The pages are stunning, with sharp storytelling and standout images aplenty. All the members get a big breakout panel and they’re more organic than might be expected, while the flashbacks pop via, ironically, the muted palette chosen by colourist Marcelo Maiolo. Longtime Superman books letterer Rob Leigh shows why he was such an asset to the Man of Steel with good-looking fontwork, sedate when it needs to be, more dynamic as required.

Thee are three covers, the wry main image by Chang and colourist Wil Quintana, a smart ‘kids with attitude’ pic from Alex Garner and a Crush focus from Jorge Jimenez. I like them all.

I don’t know what Glass and Chang plan for the new Teen Titans, but on the basis of this stylish, confident debut, it should be goo.

6 thoughts on “Teen Titans #20 review

    1. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this issue (especially considering that the New Titans book is a train wreck). But I thought the new characters were interesting, and like you, I love that there are subplots and stories to explore. I feel like subplots are a lost art (as are supporting characters) so it’s great to see some future stories are already being seeded. I’m around for the next issue.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Subplots and supporting characters are indeed no longer a basic part of any good superhero book. Dan Slott is doing it all rather well in his new Iron Man book.

        Like

  1. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this issue (especially considering that the New Titans book is a train wreck). But I thought the new characters were interesting, and like you, I love that there are subplots and stories to explore. I feel like subplots are a lost art (as are supporting characters) so it’s great to see some future stories are already being seeded. I’m around for the next issue.

    Liked by 1 person

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