Time is quickly running out for the Titans. Last time we met with them their own time in the afterlife was running short as their bodies died in real life. Not only that but Elias has taken control of Djinn and her siblings, and Heaven as well. How are they going to get out of this?
The majority of this issue was quite a bit of fun. As the wrap up for this Djinn Wars arc it does a good job tying all the threads together in an interesting and enjoyable package. It even –mostly– continued the trend of having the team work well together both in and out of battle. If you’ve been following my reviews of this title, you know I’ve been hoping that this turn would last and this book would settle into feeling like a solid team book. And for most of the book I still felt like it was moving towards that, but I’ll get to why that changed later.
Things open right where we left off last time with the Titans having finally reached Djinn and are attempting to free her from Elias’s control. This is where the book really starts to play with the idea of freedom and taking destiny into ones own hands, and I really enjoyed watching this play through the whole book as something Djinn realizes and then eventually shares with others. It’s very much a “the magic was within you all along” idea and as corny as that sounds, I kind of loved it? It’s not about the ring, or who holds it, but about what she believes and as a take on the mythology of genie’s and djinn I found it to be a nice reversal of the usual.
Once Djinn is free the whole team regroups, makes a plan, and heads off to face Elias. The scenes entering Heaven and fight itself are quite a bit of fun. I found myself grinning with delight at some of the jokes, and the general mood of the team getting along. After most of the series having this team at odds with one or more members of the team it’s so refreshing to see them work together. A team book with the group constantly fighting makes it feel less like I’m reading a superhero comic and more like I’ve sat down to watch a drama, which is not what I signed up for. The lightness of this scene where the team actually feels like a group of people who like each other was one of the best parts of the book. They’re teamwork when fighting together is also quite good. As a team they’ve usually worked well during battles, but it felt more real this time as everyone was finally on the same page. The fight has some tricks and twists that while aren’t all original, are enjoyable.
Speaking of the fight scenes, Pansica keeps them full of action and Maiolo’s colors are bright and vibrant giving the whole thing life. It’s a great contrast to the darker and redder colors of the last couple issues and really captures the look of heaven even as it’s destroyed.
Additionally, Pansica gets to create a lot of beautiful shots with Djinn in this issue, which is nice after having her mostly absent for a while now. I love the page where she comes back out of her ring, in an explosion of magic and light, connecting with Jakeem. It’s just a great shot that really makes her as a character shine. He does this a few different times through the issue, giving Djinn a lot of moments to stand out and fill the pages, and in a arc that’s focused on here it’s great to finally have here here, present, and looking amazing.
I mentioned earlier that the book has a bit of a drastic change towards the end, but before I dive into what I really didn’t like about the way this arc wraps up, I want to take a moment to discuss the parts of the ending I did enjoy, which is how Djinn’s story plays out. Free from her ring at last, Djinn gets to reunite with the team and make her own decisions about what she’s going to do next with her life. This creates some really tender moments where Glass manages both the love triangle that’s been brewing, and gives Djinn herself a nice round character arc. I think out of all of the characters in this series, Djinn herself has really gotten the most growth. She’s found redemption, freedom, and a new outlook on life, which is something I can only hope for everyone else and I would have been happy to let the issue end on her, as a nice final note.
Unfortunately, Djinn’s arc coming to a close is not where the story chooses to wrap up –it is tied together with the ending, but not the end of it. The general tone of this this issue has been all about freedom and finding magic within yourself, and a reunion of lost family and team members. That changes when Djinn takes the team back to the basement of Mercy Hall to the secret prison still resting there, and challenges the team to face what they’ve done. Part of this works, and I’d say even kind of fits with the tone of the issue, however it’s also such a sharp change in direction it leaves you with a bit of whiplash.
Jakeem is with the team here, and gets to play the role of the reader reacting to everyone as they try to explain what happened with the prison, why it was good or bad or complicated, and how they feel about it all. While I am all for the team moving past this and finding redemption, the issue doesn’t really take things in that direction.
In fact, the team splinters pretty badly. First Damian declares they didn’t go far enough, then the conversation is derailed by someone leaving, and finally the rest of the team straight up ignores Damian and walks out. You’d think after they’d grown closer another breakup wouldn’t happen. That they’d try to work things out or find a solution. Having this split feels contrary to what we’ve had the past few arcs. In those the team came back together and even pulled Damian into things. There was forgiveness, and the group admitting that the prison and brainwashing was bad. Damian even had a whole arc about rejecting the dark side. So what happens in these last pages just doesn’t make sense. I’m left asking why? Why did Damian suddenly change his mind? Why would the team storm out instead of trying to stop him? Why is any of this happening at all? Have I just been reading this whole series incorrectly?
I know that this is supposed to act as a cliffhanger to make readers want to come back for more, but for me it did the exact opposite. A fractured team that constantly is at odds is not a team I want to read about. I think there is a lot of potential for this particular iteration of the Titans to grow together and become something great, I just wish the book would let that happen.
- The magic was within you all along
- You’re interested in the conclusion to the Elias story
- Djinn in action is something you don’t want to miss
As a wrap up to the Djinn Wars arc this issue was enjoyable. Djinn’s own personal journey was great to see, and her fight against Elias was well done. She really got to take center stage here as both the leader of the action and as the moral compass. Despite the messy ending to the issue itself, the team worked together well, and I enjoyed many of their interactions through the title. If you’re looking to finish off this particular arc, or enjoy some surprise drama this issue is for you.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.