The Teen Titans are on a quest to right the wrongs they committed by imprisoning and mind wiping their foes. When they are confronted by Superboy on his own search for Robin, how will they react?
I actually did not mind this issue. That’s not to say I’m a fan of this run, but I think Thompson is doing some good things here character wise. The opening narration from Roundhouse claims the Titans are a real team and in this issue I believe it. They act like a team, and more than that, have conversations like teammates should. This is a dynamic I would have loved to have seen from this group the entire run, but I’m happy to have it now.
The issue continues the Titans quest to both look for Damian and finish hunting down the various criminals that they’d brainwashed so they can put them in prison for real. To me, the opening pages are probably the roughest part of this issue. The transition from the last to this one, is not smooth. The last issue ended very confrontational, with Superboy demanding to know where Robin was, and yet this one opens with a series of panels featuring the team taking out various villains, with Superboy all of a sudden showing up to fight with them. For a moment, I thought Thompson had forgotten the way he’d ended the last issue, but the narrative explains that he’s teamed up with them to help look for Robin. I think we should seen had that conversation happen in the book, because its easy to miss alongside all of Roundhouse’s exposition about what they’re doing. In fact, most of the Titans “quest to right their wrongs” is relegated to exposition and the fight montage from the first page making this section feel a bit rushed and ungrounded.
It does slow down when the team faces off against Mammoth and Shimmer. They work well as examples of what all the other villains probably said, but but again the scene feels a little ungrounded. I don’t mind that we didn’t get to see every take down in detail, but I wish we’d actually seen the Titans doing more investigating. I also understand that there is only one remaining issue, and Thompson’s main goal here is to tie up the narratives loose ends as cleanly as possible but again, this all just feels a little rushed. This is supposed to be the team righting their wrongs after all.
Eventually both the team’s desire to find Damian and finish off the business of rounding up criminals is resolved when they find a note left by Damian that is addressed to Jon at Mammoth’s hideout. I think it’s a bit of a stretch to have Damian leave a note for Jon here. The story tries to explain this by telling us Damian is always “ten steps ahead of them” but it doesn’t quite work for me. While it’s a nice tie back to issue #43 when Jon and Damian talked, I also doubt Damian could have known for sure his friend would join his old team. Again, I get the story is trying to wrap everything up, but it’s just odd to still have when he made it obvious he was done. The other thing I wish had been a bit different was how the letter itself was handled. We don’t actually get to see it’s content, which is a shame, if it was going to be included it would have been nice to get to read. Still it’s not a total mystery since Superboy makes it clear that it finalizes Damian’s departure.
With that, the book moves into what I found to be the most successful half, which is focused on the remaining Titans and their interactions. So far Thompson has spent a lot of time showing us Roundhouse and Crush’s friendship, and Emiko and Wally’s and those dynamics continue here. Instead of repeating a lot of what we’ve seen over the last few issues, Thompson really starts to develop these relationships and has the characters discuss where they’re at. In Crush’s case it’s friendship, and Wally’s romance.
I really love that Thompson hasn’t built romance between both groups. There’s something wholesome and wonderful about the friendship building between Crush and Roundhouse, especially in this issue. They discuss Roundhouse’s part in Djin’s departure, and it’s obvious both characters have grown a lot. Even the romantic aspect of the book, between Wally and Emiko feels natural. I’m sure it might ruffle some feathers, but I think Thompson has put in enough of a foundation over the last few issues that it reads as convincing. They both feel a lot of responsibility for what’s going on, and honestly it makes sense there’d be some feelings somewhere, they’re teens and are working close together, crushes are going to happen. There’s no telling if it will last or not, but in my eyes it works.
Hi-Fi’s colors work great in this half of the issue. They work in the first half too, but really add to the text when the story slows down a bit. They’re bright and vivid to go with the lighter tone of resolution Thompson is working towards. The pallet definitely highlights everyone’s outfits, and the happier settings the team inhabits once they’ve concluded their search. There’s a particularly nice moment where Hi-Fi makes the sun look like it’s actually glowing that works beautifully with Jesus Mernino’s pencils. Roundhouse’s home is shown, with the sun setting behind it. I love this panel because it kind of symbolizes that the team has moved out of their dark place and into something more healthy.
Additionally, Mernino’s art also really shines during the quieter moments of the book. There are a few moments of odd faces –Wally has a particularly funny expression at the carnival– but in general everyone’s emotions can be clearly read as they both play games and discuss more serious topics. Their body language is also really good, there’s a moment when Wally’s trying to convince Emiko to play a shooting game where you can almost see his shoulders shrug as he’s playing off her refusal to try the game, it’s dynamic and quite a bit of fun to read.
There is however one issue to go, so these quiet moments build into a bit of a cliffhanger to lead it into next month’s final issue. While a lot of this issue felt like it could have worked as resolution to the overall story, I’m also interested to see how this new roadblock impacts the characters at the title moves towards it’s end.
- Character focused stories are your thing
- You like a more domestic issue every now and then
- More than anything, you’ve been looking for some resolution
While this issue doesn’t wrap everything up yet, it does feel like Thompson is taking the team towards a satisfactory resolution, which is something I was worried might not happen. While it feels like some aspects are a little rushed, the slower pace of the second half really succeeds in solidifying these characters relationships. I can honestly say I’m interested to see how this whole story wraps up next month.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.