I think it’s fair to say that Snyder, Tynion, Abnett and Williamson currently have free reign to introduce whatever crazy concepts they like into their books with the excuse that anything can and will happen with the collapse of the Source Wall. Abnett takes full advantage of the situation in Titans #24 by adding a fantasy element to his story, sending the narrative off in a completely unexpected direction!

This means new villains, which I’m pleased to report are nowhere near as generic as the creature the team faced last month. It’s fun to blend genres and issue #24 gets great mileage out of this, along with a quipping pantomime prince and monsters that appear to be on the verge of roaring ‘Zuul!’

The bad guys aren’t the only ones enjoying themselves this issue; the heroes crack plenty of jokes too. The great thing about this is that if you don’t like one line, probability suggests another is bound to find it’s mark and make you smile. Unfortunately, the dialogue is also peppered with unnecessary exposition (the team tell us their mission again this month! We already know this from Special #1 and Titans #23, not to mention the pre-credits explanatory narration repeated each issue). The team are even labelled again at the beginning of the issue, which is especially strange in the case of Donna Troy. She is referred to as the ‘Combat Specialist’ but then spends most of the issue talking while the rest of the team fight.

My other concern with the dialogue is that it doesn’t reveal how the team relate to one another. We know Miss Martian and Nightwing aren’t friends but that’s all. I know it’s early days but I’d like to see the glimmer of a relationship (positive or negative) between members of the rest of the group. It’s an important part of the classic Titans and Teen Titans formula.

Spoiler

  • Martian Manhunter mentions this issue that Miss Martian’s power exceeds that of the Titans. This has definitely been evident in Special #1 and issue #24 as she’s saved the day on both occasions. Hopefully the others will get a turn soon or we’ll be left wondering why the team is needed at all.
  • Seneshal says ‘But soon enough you will care by the time I’m done.’ This is such a precise quote of The White Stripes’ ‘Ball and Biscuit’ that it can’t be a coincidence, can it?
  • At the end of the issue, Raven finds herself trapped in the fantasy dimension. Kudos to Abnett; I did not see that coming! What confused me though was the fake Raven that remained in the real world; if she was really the malicious Seneshal, why was she sympathetically wondering aloud about his feelings and those of the writer, Ernest Hinton?
  • Only one of the three panels promised in Titans #23’s ‘Next issue’ section actually happened. One claimed a Titan would die; I’m glad this hasn’t occurred as, despite their vanilla characterisation, I’m not ready to lose any of them yet.

Aside from a badass shot of the team arriving together and some nice visual storytelling in a scene in which Donna smacks a monster whilst conversing with a civilian, I didn’t enjoy Brent Peeples’ art this issue. After the polished work of Brandon Peterson in Titans #23, the heroes (and bushes in the background) that are nothing more than outlines look cheap and basic. All faces belonging to characters shown in the distance are rendered blank and those shown close-up aren’t particularly detailed either (the monsters and unicorns have more detail, though, and I do like that Peeples draws Donna’s shield the proper size). Plascencia bravely tries to offset the simplicity of the artwork, adding depth by bleeding colours into one another in the Golden Gate Park foliage and the sky above it. Perhaps most importantly though, the majority of the action happens off the page or in the background so there are very few opportunities for Peeples to show off what he can do. 

Recommended if:

  • Superhero movies have given you an unquenchable thirst for quipping heroes.
  • You like the format of the team facing a new, different threat each issue.
  • You want to see Steel whack some monsters with her giant hammer.

Overall: An unpredictable (almost non sequitur) issue with plenty of jokes but still no characterisation. Usually such books at least offer exciting fights instead but the art here is so poor that the reader can’t really enjoy the action either.

SCORE: 5/10