Deathstroke tried to murder the Teen Titans. Damian Wayne has quit as Robin. Batman has ordered the Titans to disband.
Red Arrow and Kid Flash aren’t ready to stop doing good, though. The archer, Emiko, has deduced that evil techie Gizmo is behind the mercenary Deathstroke’s attack of them.
Not too far away, remaining ex-Titans Roundhouse and Crush embark on a similar path.
The kids want to correct the path Damian put them on, one that saw them locking up super-criminals without trial and rewriting their personalities so they could live useful lives.
The two duos wind up at the same office building. And they’re expected.
Well, it looks like the Titans were on the ball as regards Gizmo. But is the Fearsome Five member acting alone? The answers come in this pen-penultimate (that’s probably not a thing) issue of the latest Titans book. I won’t say who the shadowy type is because the reveal makes for a superb page by illustrator Javier Fernandez and colour artist Marcelo Maiolo. While writers and artists come and go, the latter has been a consistent presence in this book, his lighting always impressing and his delight in bright hues giving the series a distinct visual identity. It’s one I love and whoever ‘inherits’ Maiolo when this series goes away in November is very lucky.
Fernandez, too, is a catch, bringing real dynamism to the layouts and drama to the characters. The only visual moment I don’t like in the issue comes with the final page arrival of Jon Kent.
Yes, the image looks good, but the imperious, angry, fiery-eyed godling floating above his peers is reminiscent of the tiresome New 52 Superman, and that’s not Superboy’s character. The dialogue on the previous page indicates that the melodramatic choice is most likely that of writer Robbie Thompson.
That apart, Thompson does another terrific job making a comic with no fan favourite heroes or popular villains a compelling read. He’s adept at giving us rich characters and zippy interactions, and using action to push the story forward. A mini-team-up between Kid Flash and Red Arrow is pleasingly novel, while Roundhouse’s smarts should be valued. Thompson has me rooting for all the kids, and crossing my fingers Crush, Roundhouse and the absent Djinn won’t go into comics limbo soon like so many Titans before them. I’m not worried about Red Arrow and Kid Flash as they have plenty of connections across the DC Universe. The increasingly horrible Damian can take a hike.
Said short psychopath isn’t actually in this issue, The question this final arc asks is, can the remaining Teen Titans find redemption after making so many mistakes? I reckon so, and expect Thompson and co will prove me right with typical style.