Teen Titans Go! digital issue #49 review

I… really don’t know what to do with this one.

On the one hand, it’s a holiday season story that focuses on Chanukah, which is interesting.  You don’t get too many of those, so seeing our Jewish friends have representation is a welcome change of pace.

On the other hand, something here just doesn’t sit right with me.  It’s irreverent without ever being fully disrespectful, but the script gets a little too flippant at points.  I don’t want to be “that guy” accusing silly characters in a silly comic book of cultural appropriation, especially when I’m personally not part of that culture, but…

Thankfully, Raven of all people is on hand to keep things pretty on the level.  She’s on hand to bring the Titans back down when they threaten to get too irreverent, which is one of the things that keeps this issue from veering completely off course.

It’s strange, because Sholly Fisch usually has a better handle on the material than what’s presented here.  Stranger still that he wrote a pretty great Chanukah-centric story in All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which was also a pretty great Ragman story to boot.

Even if the execution is off, at least the idea of this issue is pretty funny: Colossal Boy, “the Jewish member of the Legion of Super-Heroes” as he refers to himself, comes back in time to celebrate the miracle of Chanukah with the original Maccabees.

He miscalculates his bearings, though, and winds up a thousand years in the past instead of three thousand.  Naturally, this lands him in the front yard of the Teen Titans, and poor Gim Allon is none the wiser that he’s in the wrong time period.

I’m not Jewish myself and only have a passing understanding of the history of Chanukah, but based on what I know of the holiday Fisch gets the details right.  He doesn’t just make jokes about menorahs and dreidels either; no, he goes full-on Maccabean Revolt, given an overview of the desecration of the temple and the miracle of the oil.

The problem is the “potato pancake” jokes are recycled a few too many times, offsetting the surprisingly on-point history lessons.

Lea Hernandez, per usual, does a great job with the material.  I say pretty much the same thing each installment, but it bears repeating: her style can mimic the look of the show pretty well, while also injecting a different feel that makes it uniquely her own.  I love her Colossal Boy, to the point that I’d read a Legion book with her on pencils, and all the traditional Jewish elements she injects help to balance the jokes.

Still, the smarter aspects of the story can’t quite make up for the parts that are lacking.  I didn’t hate this, I just couldn’t quite reconcile the failures with the successes.

Recommended if:

  • You love the show.
  • You want a quick lesson on the history of the Maccabean Revolt.

Overall: Part of me enjoyed the look at Chanukah and Jewish traditions, while another couldn’t buy into the repetitive jokes.  This was a good looking lesson in Jewish culture that sadly misfired, which is a shame given the talent involved.

SCORE: 5/10