Teen Titans Go! #18- “Royal Pains”

Written by Merrill Hagan
Pencils by Jorge Corona
Colored by Jeremy Lawson
Letters by Wes Abbott

This week, Starfire seeks to reclaim her title of Tamaranean Princess while Robin tries to woo her and Beast Boy and Cyborg get really, weirdly excited about space jail and Raven just kind of does her thing of being annoyed in the background while all of this is going on.

I realize that was a run-on sentence and a jumbled mess of thoughts, which is pretty much how this issue plays out.  There are so many things going on, and none of them particularly compelling, that this installment just fell flat.  Pretty much everything in Merrill Hagan’s script is well trod ground at this point, and while a fresh spin could certainly be put on each thread to make it an engaging read, that sadly doesn’t happen here.

After Blackfire appears with an alien invasion force, the Titans prepare to go to intergalactic war.  Instead, Starfire and her sister scuffle and the entire battle occurs off-panel, if it happens at all.  From there, pretty much everything that I described earlier happens: Starfire walks Raven through the princess trials, Robin tries unsuccessfully to be her dashing prince by following the template of Disney movies, and Beast Boy and Cyborg make a few funny references to seeing a space jail.

There is good to be found here, mostly in the signature background jokes and Easter eggs.  There’s an Adam Strange cameo that I didn’t catch the first time through that gave me a good laugh, and Starfire’s attempt at making armor is worth a chuckle.

"Secret" entrance to the Batcave
“Secret” entrance to the Batcave

Plus, Birdarang shows up, and Birdarang is the best.

Beat Box is a pretty cool dude, too.
Beat Box is a pretty cool dude, too.

This, sadly, is followed up by a Frozen reference that made me groan audibly, but then again those references aren’t for me.  Kids will enjoy it, which is the main focus and point of the book, and while this series is usually pretty good about appealing to adults and children alike, an occasional slip up is allowed.

Recommended if:

  • You have kids and want a clean, easy read for them.
  • You like Teen Titans Go!
  • Seriously, Birdarang makes everything better.

Overall: A scattershot mess of storytelling, each subplot could have easily carried the book on its own, but instead everything feels tired, well-worn, and half-baked.  A few of the jokes land, and it might pair better with last week’s much better story, but on its own it honestly feels like a huge missed opportunity.

SCORE: 5/10