Writer Will Pfeifer teams up with Scott Lobdell to bring a powerful issue that has the Titans facing with their inner demons. The race against time to bring in wanted metahuman, Superboy, comes to a head as the teens confront their worst fears and feelings as they try to get to the bottom of this whole investigation.

Notably, the creative team is a mixed big of names. As of late, the artist have changed from issue to issue. It hasn’t been a problem story wise as the art has looked nice with each release. There’s only been one delay recently, but I can assume that the different illustrators may have been used to keep the book on track. Maybe the focus is being thrown more towards the new Titans Hunt that is dropping. Either way, the book didn’t suffer much from the changes. Ian Churchill is the artist this go around, and he had his work cut out for him. The Titans change their appearance multiple times throughout the book, and Churchill does a great job staying consistent from panel to panel. Each artist that’s worked on the title bring their own flare, but none of them made drastic changes to throw things off, so that’s a good thing. Norm Rapmund and Tony Aviña work on the inks and colors, respectively. They make the constant changes in wardrobe and appearances look nice. They definitely all worked hard to keep the book visually appealing.

Whoever's watching the Titans is a peeping Tom
Whoever’s watching the Titans is a peeping Tom

The other change was the addition of Scott Lobdell working on the script for this issue. Along with current Teen Titans author, Will Pfeifer, Lobdell penned an interesting story to bring this arc to the peak of its climax. Often I’ve seen many audiences split on the opinion of Lobdell’s writings on various titles. Penning the Titans issues before the title got rebooted, I’d like to say that Scott understands the Titans enough to write a compelling story. What worked for them in this issue was the fact that they stripped it down to make it a simpler emotionally driven story. With the rest of the Titans and Elite members cut off from the action, the writers just focus on the interactions between Superboy, Red Robin, Wonder Girl, and Kid Flash. It goes from what appeared to be a final showdown to straight up tear jerker. No kidding! Everyone takes turns feeling sorry for themselves for past atrocities that they’ve committed. Well, except Cassie who tells everyone that the choices are already done and it’s what made them who they are. All their choices brought them to this very point. It was a very cathartic moment for the team (apparently so was that fight between Superboy and Wonder Girl).

Tropical Titans
Tropical Titans

While the focus was on all four characters, the moments to me came from Tim and Conner. The two of them became best friends during their adventures together, and it was Tim this whole time who’s been trying to defend Superboy to prove his innocence. The very presence of Superboy kicked the action and interest up a notch once he arrived a few issues back as the entire arc has mostly been about him. As a fan of Tim Drake, it’s nice to see him written properly. His great detective skills are on full display here and that’s enjoyable to see outside of his current futuristic role in Batman Beyond. The most pivotal point in the story was watching both young men agonizing over the future of Superboy. I enjoy their friendship, and I remember Superboy’s apparent death taking a toll on Tim, so losing him again seems painful. When it comes to Tim, the biggest draw for me is his similarities to Bruce when it comes to thinking.

Spoiler
When everyone is revealing their truths and dark secrets, it is revealed that Tim watched and studied each former Titan before forming the group. He gives a very logical and reasonable explanation for this, but I can’t help but think of the numerous accusations made against Bruce for doing the same thing. Currently, it’s being hunted in Batman & Robin Eternal that Bruce might have designed his very own child soldiers (the Robins). Bruce’s motives might have darker implications, but there’s still similarities between the two.

We finally hear Superboy’s side of the story of what happened to the murdered Durlans. He was the one to kill them, but of course it’s not as clear cut as that. Still, it could’ve helped if he divulged information sooner, but I guess being on the run for going on a murdering rampage kind of gets in the way of that. The issue harkened back to the beginning of the New52 reboot when it is revealed who is behind Superboy’s plight

Spoiler
Harvest is the culprit behind everything as he wants his weapon back. Harvest, a time displaced villain, was the leader of N.O.W.H.E.R.E., and responsible for the creation of Conner. His meddling in the Titans affairs makes sense, and provides a very formidable villain for them to deal with.
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Recommended if:

  • You want to see a focused Titans story
  • You want to see the Titans address underlying issues
  • You want to go on an emotional roller coaster
  • You were curious about who was pulling the strings

Overall:

Stripped down to a more focused story, the issue is an emotional packed ride. Taking a deep look at their flaws could be a catalyst to bring them closer together. Lobdell and Pfeifer combine their efforts to present a meaningful story. A very talkative issue, it never feels bogged down by the exposition. These were very important conversations that needed to be had by the characters. The addition of a big time for villain could spell disaster, but gives the team a good challenge to overcome. We’ll have to see how things play out, but it could be cool to see new team members or some other sort of change happen due to the events of this story. The way things are going, I feel like some kind of change is imminent. This was a great issue that pulled on the heartstrings and is a nice segway into what’s coming up next

 

SCORE: 9 / 10