Teen Titans #45 review

Top cover by Bernard Chang and Marcelo Maiolo – shockingly, this doesn’t happen in the book

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.

So, who’s trailing the young ‘uns?

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.

Fun robot lettering courtesy Rob Leigh

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.

I don’t often show the last page, but Superboy’s arrival is spoiled by page 1’s copyright line, so what the heck?

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.

9 thoughts on “Teen Titans #45 review

  1. Have to admit, Crush is just different enough from her father to make me hope she continues to have a part in team or team-up books. I think she’s my favorite character out of the most recent batch of Titans.

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  2. It looks like Teen Titans is going to linger for a while, with the final issue including some of the currently book-less Titans team as mentors, and then a special in December that is a tie-in to the Endless Winter event. In fact Donna Troy and Beast Boy are on the cover of that special, along with Red Arrow, Kid Flash, Crush and Roundhouse. So maybe this will be an ongoing team.

    Damian is probably on a redemption arc, and if Jason Todd still has a book, Damian can stick around also. But he’s strayed very far from the insecure sarcastic kid who palled around with Jon, and had a typical brother/sister thing going with Stephanie Brown a decade ago.

    Tim Drake has been aged down to 12, by all appearances, possibly drawn in Nightwing and Batman to replace Damian at the last second. I didn’t realize he was 12 in Young Justice! I thought those were college age kids. Old enough for Conner to be married, and wasn’t Cassie on her way to college in the first issue?

    You ever wonder why Djinn was written out? Maybe they decided the best way to resolve the love triangle between her, Damian and Crush was to just take it off the board.

    I’ve liked Fernandez’s work a lot, even if I can’t make sense of a single one of his extreme closeups during fights.

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    1. Oh dear, they’ve de-aged Tim? Your idea of a late substitution makes sense, in which case they’ll be drawing him the right age again soon. I wonder if someone high up noticed that the current official Robin was a murderer and sent down an edict from on high, restoring Tim to Robin status. OK, he’s being called Red Robin in Detective Comics 1027, but you know how muddled Editorial gets.

      I’m rather looking forward to Endless Winter, and that solicitation with Donna and Gar made me smile, I like it when generations of Titans get together. I do hope it’s not the last hurrah for Crush and co, TN – you know how post-series Titans tend to be cannon fodder.

      And yes indeed, Damian has rather been ruined, of late.

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  3. Oh, everyone who isn’t Kid Flash or Red Arrow definitely won’t ever be seen again unless a writer needs dead heroes to prove to us how big a threat his new villain is. I’d stake bank on that.

    As for Damian, he’s never deserved to be a Robin. Heck, I’m not happy he’s allowed to sully the Wayne name as well. The diminutive psychopath tried to murder Tim Drake then beheaded a person to prove he should be Robin and was shockingly then allowed to be Robin! Damian makes Jason look like a choir boy yet writers pretend he’s heroic. He’s a preteen Punisher in that his murderous impulses are restrained to ‘bad guys’. I don’t want him dead due to the effect that would have on Batman though. Maybe Baby Hitler could replace Mon-El in the thousand year Phantom Zone exile?

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