Teen Titans Academy #9 review

Roy Harper is back from the dead. The hero who began as Speedy and has also gone by Arsenal and Red Arrow has appeared at the school his fellow Titans have named for him, right in the middle of Homecoming.

Donna, Raven and co are quite interested as to how this has happened, but are happy to let Roy wave it away right now (which spares them having to suffer a Dark Knights: Metal recap).

The trainee heroes at the Roy Harper Titans Academy, meanwhile, are planning a party… well, those who aren’t wandering off in a fugue state.

After fighting each other in a Halloween pop-up store for absolutely no reason, their seducer reveals themselves. At the same time, having been alerted to the kids having gone missing, Roy works it out for himself.

Of course, it’s one of the New Teen Titans’ most regular foes, with a new look and a desire to recruit the students, all of whom are mildly disgruntled.

And there’s one more teenage metahuman who’s been invited to the party.

That’s a surprise, I’d have expected Red X, who’s done nothing but cause trouble for the Titans in training, to be all over Psimon’s offer. Then again, he was thoroughly on the side of the angels when the Suicide Squad came to call.

Recent issues of this series have been very enjoyable – the ones that get away from the Academy and the Titans. Here we’re firmly in academy territory, with Nightwing, Starfire and co as dim as ever.

The Titans have dress uniforms? Really ugly dress uniforms? And my favourite student, Stitch, wants to be Judy Garland in Get Happy?

As for that surprise they mention, it’s the return of an old Titan at the school Homecoming, which is occurring despite this being the first student intake…

The former Aqualad has come to teach, it seems. And given he has no teaching certificate, he’s perfectly placed to join Ms Starfire, Mr Nightwing and the other duffers as Mr Tempest.

Honestly, I can’t believe writer Tim Sheridan is continuing the ludicrous Titans-as-teachers bit. How is the state of New York allowing superheroes who’ve never had an HQ that wasn’t attacked twice weekly, and have zero qualifications (I don’t think any of the Titans finished college), run a school? Mentor kids unofficially, like metahuman Big Brothers, I could see, but act in loco parentis? They’ve not got what it takes, why is why students can just wander off, unchecked, while they eat pizza.

Mind, the kids are as daft as the adults this time, giving a hearing to a known murderer, Psimon. Even if they don’t know his reputation, they know that he has them there by mind control, and had them fight for no reason at all. If you’re unhappy at school, you try to make things better, perhaps find another institution – you don’t become a supervillain.

And why on Earth 0 would a career bad guy like Psimon want to throw in with a gaggle of moody teens?

Sheridan has surprised me previously, so maybe there’s a clever plot twist coming. Meanwhile, things are looking very dopey from every point of view.

Visually, they don’t look half bad, mind. Guest artist Mike Norton makes the most of the opportunities to go big, using his experience and skill to ensure the pages pop. I’d rather have more going on – sensible things, I mean – but if we must have minimal story, it at least looks good, thanks to Norton and colourist Hi-Fi. And Rob Leigh does the usual great job, from the title, ‘Homecoming’ done in letterman jacket style to a perfect new Fearsome Five logo.

Series artist Rafa Sandoval, with colourist Alejandro Sanchez, produces a trade paperback-ready cover… I love the semi-silhouettes of the original Titans. And that blurb makes it seem that this run is wrapping, which may not be a bad thing, I’d love to see Sheridan follow a few of his new characters outside of the senseless school concept.

As for this issue, there’s one pretty good gag. I won’t give it away, but if you read the last few issues, I predict a big smile.

5 thoughts on “Teen Titans Academy #9 review

  1. The “upperclassmen” were totally absent this time.

    Last month:
    Red Arrow (Emiko) was on several pages, with some dialog.
    Roundhouse and Kid Flash were each in one panel, with no dialog.

    Crush quit early in this series, while Damian was never part of it.
    The team also had a genie who quit midway through the last Teen Titans series.

    I think that’s all of them.

    I hope we do get to see more of them from time to time. Of course we still need to know more about the seeming dozens of new characters Sheridan is showing.

    Maybe the upperclassmen need to graduate, or quit. Finish their stories. Put Emiko in some book that Green Arrow, or Black Canary, are appearing in. Or, rent her to Hawkeye.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t actually understand the term ‘upperclassmen’ even though I googled it months ago. But you’re right, these characters should be seen. At the moment, most people in this book are just walk-ons, I can’t remember much about them… for example, was Miguel into boys in Dial H for Hero? I read the series and no bells are ringing.


      1. Upperclassmen refers to a junior or senior in high school (that would be 11th or 12th grade here) or in college (4 year college or university, so years 3 and 4 of undergraduate higher education. Should now be called “upperclasspersons” I suppose, but I haven’t heard that used. (Chairmen are now called chair persons, after all.) The first 2 years are freshmen and sophomore. They aren’t yet called freshpeople.

        This Academy is probably not accredited! What do they study there besides martial arts? It’s more like a dojo.

        I don’t remember about Miguel one way or another. But my memory is not very good. These days I read around 10 books a week – which means I’m following 40 storylines per month in comic books alone! Is that humanly possible? Well, I do it badly.


  2. This book.
    I mean… the art is consistently good. Straight up.
    And there are some interesting characters. Like, actually… alot of them catch my interest. But we see so little of them from issue to issue that it’s really hard to form any kind of connection to the book.
    And the characters in whom we ought to be most invested (Dick, Donna, etc.), are sidelined or weirdly out of character,
    It feels like we’re getting parts of stories told… or that the stories are continuing on in the background, without us actually seeing what’s going on. I dunno. Red X is still a mystery? I guess.
    I think it probably comes down to there being too many characters eating up panel time, without a strong enough story to pull the various character threads together. There’s probably a feeling that the new characters aren’t strong enough to stand on their own (correct) so the adult Titans are needed… except they’re not getting any storylines either.
    I just don’t understand what the point of the book is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for a smart, pithy summation of what’s wrong with the book. Lord knows what the next version of the Titans will be… I’d love to see what the surviving Jurgens bunch are up to.


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