With Granpappy in the past—at least for now—Damian and friends can turn their attention to other things, like chilling in a giant “T” with windows and other amenities. But evil never naps for long, and as it rubs the sleep from its eyes, an unexpected ally enters the fray. Aqualad rises, in Teen Titans #6!

Pretty dang funny

In my reviews of Ben Percy’s first arc on Teen Titans, I mentioned that the humor at times felt off and forced—like Percy tried a little too hard and overshot his target. Percy still probably tries too hard; after all, in this very issue, Beast Boy attributes a “mouth orgasm” to a plate of food that looks more like the production of an entirely separate bodily process. And yet, the misses occur less frequently, and in the end, Teen Titans #6 delivers some of the best laughs of the series thus far—laughs that don’t always spring from Gar’s puerile sensibilities.

We’re also treated to the sort of scene you expect in a team-up book: everyone hanging out at HQ. The interactions feel natural (Beast Boy’s culinary climax remark aside), and there are a few great lines from Damian and Starfire. It all reads a whole lot better than the first few issues of Dan Abnett’s Titans, where I often felt like the team dynamic was too happy and easy.

The villain setup this time around doesn’t pack quite the punch that Ra’s did, but that’s okay. Aqualad’s introduction and backstory takes up more space, and the inevitable shifting of team dynamics should provide plenty to chew on throughout the rest of the arc. And even though the villain isn’t Ra’s-level, he’s cool and fun and likely to make fans happy.

Khoi shines in the light of day

Artist Khoi Pham continues his improvement on Teen Titans, benefiting greatly from this issue’s daytime setting and the brighter colors that come with it. He still produces a few goofed up faces, but I love his layouts, and there are a few panels with some truly outstanding scenery. Charalampidis does a mostly great job through all of this, though I still found a few examples of the nits I’ve been picking for the last few issues—but I’ll make you read prior reviews if you don’t know what I’m talking about, because the colors are pretty excellent overall.

Recommended if…

  • You, like me, thought the first arc of Teen Titans was really good, and you want to see where Percy takes it next.
  • You, like me, consider Aqualad to be one of the finest characters ever associated with the DC Universe, pretty much entirely because of his portrayal on the Young Justice TV show, and you really, really hope that Percy is watching a whole lot of Young Justice and pretty much wants to give us an Aqualad like the one we saw there.
  • You, like me, like to see the Titans full of color, full of attitude, and giving each other a bunch of lip.

Overall

A very good start to the book’s second arc, Teen Titans #6 has plenty to laugh at, while trimming (much of) the undesirable elements that clung to the fringes of “Damian Knows Best”. Aqualad’s prior fame makes him intriguing enough, but his introduction here stands on its own, and I’m excited to spend more time with him. Great work from Pham, Von Grawbadger, and Charalampidis brings Percy’s vision to life with energy and style. If it doesn’t already have one, you ought to give this book a spot on your list.

SCORE: 7.5/10