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I was ready to hate this. I’ve not exactly been fond of this series in any of its several New 52 incarnations, and this is one of those few remaining books with no apparent ties to Rebirth that will nevertheless continue to fill shelves several months into a new status quo with which it will—apparently—have nothing to do. Imagine my surprise when I found myself enjoying Teen Titans #20, even counting the pages when I was done because my mind could not accept that “it was actually good” is a possible explanation for how quickly I read through it.

Because machine-gun-toting gorillas with French names and berets

Maybe it’s because I read this after DC Universe Rebirth #1, and I’m feeling all happy and optimistic about the future of my favorite fictional multiverse; maybe it’s that the sun is shining after a stubborn winter seems to have finally said its farewells; or maybe, just maybe, it’s that machine-gun-toting gorillas with French names and berets that ally themselves with evil podium-mounted brains are just plain AWESOME.

Toning down the whiny teenage soap opera

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I’ve spent a lot of time with the New 52 Titans in the past month, whether reviewing new books as they come out or working to fill some gaps in batman-news.com’s archive of graphic novel reviews. If there’s a common thread of irritation that has been a constant, it’s whiny teenagers whining about things and being generally unlikable. Some of that still remains, but Monsieur Mallah and The Brain give us something else to look at for a bit, and our time with the Titans themselves is mostly concerned with a training exercise. If Bedard can keep on squashing the drama and serving up the bizarre (and sometimes goofy), then the next few months might not be all that bad.

That is one handsome gorilla

The time spent away from the Titans plays into artist Ian Churchill’s strengths, as well; or rather, it gives him a break from the often-odd-looking style he uses to render the team. Whether it’s Lex Luthor at the outset or Mallah and The Brain later on, I was able to enjoy the visuals quite a bit more when Tim and his band of outlaws were out of the picture.

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But would you read it again, Mr. Warshaw?

This was definitely fun, and I would probably read the Mallah and Brain parts again because they were funny and fun, but it all still feels like treading water until things are shaken up in October. That isn’t automatically a bad thing, and I’m ok with some comics being enjoyable-but-disposable, but with the rough time this property has been through for the past five years, I would have been just as happy to see DC let it lie and give us a few months to get the bad taste out of our mouths.

Recommended if…

  • You’ve got every other Teen Titans book and you want to see it through to the end.
  • Your pull list is a bit light this week and you want a fun—if disposable—read.
  • You, like me, cannot say no to a gorilla with a machine-gun.

Overall

Better than I expected, but not great, Teen Titans #20 makes for a fun, quick read. If you’re looking for some light entertainment this week, you likely won’t feel cheated; but if you’d rather read DC Universe Rebirth an extra few times instead, you aren’t missing anything substantive by passing over the Titans.

SCORE: 6/10