The Teen Titans received just what the doctor ordered to get things really going for the title: fresh blood! Literally, fresh blood is what compiled the beginning of this issue. Numerous slained bodies laid lifeless in the streets, blood splattered everywhere. All of the evidence seems to point to a familiar face that has returned–Superboy!

This doesn’t bode well for young Conner Kent who’s been gone for some time now. The news of his murderous rampage spreads like wildfire across social media and news outlets. Superboy is supposed to be one of the good guys. How could he do something like this? The entire team, minus Tanya, are close to Superboy, but Tim and Cassie seem to take this situation the hardest. Red Robin frantically tries to figure out what’s going on and formulate a plan and Wonder Girl breaks down while sitting in the park.

It’s a very strong opening that immediately drew me in. I’m a fan of Superboy and automatically found myself in the shoes of the Titans wondering and dreading what exactly was going on with their friend. Kon-El is taken into custody to be questioned by authorities, but to his surprise he has an unexpected visitor

Spoiler
Martian Manhunter, J’onn J’onzz makes an appearance in the annual, and boy is he irate! I feel like angry was a bit of an understatement for just how fierce J’onn was in this issue. He looked quite menacing throughout the book. He’s pretty crucial to what goes on in this issue, but i figured I’d put it in spoiler tags to save some suspense for those who have yet to read it. His appearance surely revved things up for me

As I mentioned before, Cassie and Tim are taking the news the hardest. Tim will not allow himself to believe that his best friend, or any Titan for that matter, would commit such atrocities. Cassie on the other hand, visibly hurt, angry, and confused will not accept any other explanation other than Kon committing the crime because “that’s exactly who he is”. Superboy did try to kill the Titans when they first encountered him seeing how he was created to kill. The disagreement causes some tension amongst the two leaders of the group that bubbles up later on in the story.

After a very intense interrogation, Superboy makes his escape with the aid of a lady who believes that he didn’t kill all of those innocent people. The escape makes her weary, so she asks Conner if he has any friends they could stay with. Hmmm, who could Conner call? The Titans of course! (Will give effort points if Ghostbusters was your answer).

Spoiler
The woman who helps Superboy escape is the same race of the people he allegedly killed–the Durlans. Their race was primarily seen in a recent Green Lantern arc. She goes toe to toe with J’onzz to help Superboy get away to clear his name. Martian Manhunter really seems to be upholding martian law, so it’s no surprise that he didn’t understand why Ra’ut L’lwer, a Durlan, would protect Superboy when he’s accused of killing her people. This was very cool exchange, but I felt a little confused on whether Ra’ut was also Ruth Lauer (survivor of the massacre) or if that was just the identity she’s taken on for now. You’ll have to forgive me, I didn’t read the Green Lantern Uprising arc so I’m not familiar with the Durlans. She mentioned that Ruth was the one who viewed Superboy as innocent. That’s why I wasn’t sure if this was a split personality thing or if Ruth is someone separate. Either way, it’s an intriguing thread that will be explored soon.

The Teen Titans all meet back at Bunker and Beast Boy’s apartment to discuss the return of Superboy and the details of their plan. Only problem, Red Robin already made contact with Superboy and he and his accomplice are staying at the apartment. Most of the team seems to be pulling for Kon-El to be the guy they know, but Power Girl doesn’t seem too sure and Wonder Girl is just downright upset. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. She may not like the fact that Superboy is a wanted murderer, but the real problem is whatever previous issues they had before all this. I usually say don’t date in the workplace and this appears to be a prime example why you should heed those words. Things get dicey quick when Conner’s visitor from earlier shows up at Miguel and Gar’s apartment. After a hard hitting and disturbing display of strength and anger from Conner, the boys head out to try and clear Superboy’s name. Power Girl and Wonder Girl receive an offer from the always conveniently on time, Manchester Black. Teen Titans just upped the ante with this reveal.

Spoiler

[caption id="attachment_19661" align="aligncenter" width="1883"]Manchester Black is in the team making business Manchester Black is in the team making business[/caption]

I’m mainly excited about Kid Flash and the Indigo Lanterns. Things just got kicked up a notch in the land of the Titans.

There was so much going in the story in terms of how things played out that I almost forgot to comment on the art. I usually go on about how I love Rocafort’s pencils for this title and how it fits nicely with the material. However, I REALLY enjoyed the art in this annual…for the most part. Alisson Borges and Wes St. Claire share the duties for the annual. The pages look really nice, then BAM! Right in the middle of it all, the illustrators change. The panels still looked good, it’s just the change was a bit jarring since it was quite noticeable. I hate being a stickler on the art, especially for what I deem to be minor infractions, but I just needed to point that out.

 Recommended if: 

  • You’re a fan of Superboy
  • You’ve been excited about the direction the title is taking
  • You’re still wondering what the heck Manchester Black is up to

Overall: 

I really enjoy reading this title whenever a new issue drops, and the drama surrounding Superboy’s return is just what I needed to keep me going. Looks like the Titans are headed for some uncharted territory that will differ greatly from their celebrity days they were just getting use to. If you haven’t kept up with the Titans, now’s a great chance to hop onboard.

SCORE: 9/10