Here we are, at the end of another Teen Titans run. It’s a weird time in comics right now, as we wait on events to wrap up, new ones to start, and look for news about what might happen in the wake of all these cancelled titles. For Teen Titans however, this looks like less a firm ending and more the start of something new.
Most of the issue is interested in the teams final fight to round up the last of the criminals they’d previously imprisoned and brainwashed. Joystick is the last one on their list, and actively moving against them. Last issue he caught Red Arrow and Kid Flash and very quickly here it’s revealed he’s brainwashed them both to use against Crush and Roundhouse.
This fight takes up a good two thirds of the story, and feels like it goes by really fast, which has its pros and cons. It builds momentum towards the end of the story, but quite a few elements in it feel rushed.
One of the aspects that feels most rushed here is that the controlled Emiko and Wallace both say a lot of things that are designed to hit the Titans in their weak points, and yet there isn’t a lot of time for the characters to really react. So moments that could have been emotionally resonate fall flat and we miss a chance to see characters affirming their own growth and confidence in their teammates. The best example of this is the scene where Emiko breaks free from Joystick’s control. Crush appeals to the Emkio beneath the mind manipulation, and while the panels are laid out in a way that could be read as hesitation, we never really see her break out, instead she just shoot’s Wallace who is coming for Crush. They don’t ever talk about it, Emiko never thanks Crush for her help, and more than anything it feels like a sharp change in direction we almost weren’t expecting. While this scene works to some degree I think it, like the other emotional moments would have benefited from things slowing down just a little to make them flow smoother.
Another aspect that’s a little weak is some of the art during the fight. I really enjoy Javier Fernandez’s art, but there are some moments especially in the fight and the direct aftermath that feel awkward or rushed. I mentioned that the panels where Emiko breaks free from the mind control don’t quite work, and specifically I’m thinking of the moment she looses her arrow. There’s no recognition in her eyes and the panel just doesn’t feel as clean as it could split between her expression and Crush’s. Additionally, while he does a great job with close ups on characters, when panels pull out there are a number of moments where characters often distinction, which doesn’t read as strongly as I’d like it to.
However, like I said, he does a great job when really focusing in on characters. The brainwashed Red Arrow and Kid Flash feel and look scary, and the fight has a lot of cool moments, like how one page is broken up entirely by lines meant to look like Kid Flash’s lighting trails. By far though, my favorite moments of art come after the fight is over. There’s a really fun page featuring the Titans travelling to a brand new location, and I might be biased because of the characters featured towards the end, but the last three pages are some of my favorites.
Directly after the fight the story dives back into trying to wrap up lose ends. It resolves the lingering romantic tension between Emiko and Wallace, and gives the Titans one final letter from Damian. While we still don’t see it’s contents we are told them. I’ve mentioned before how I don’t really care for Damian’s shadow hanging over the last few issues the way it has, but in this issue Thompson ties it all together, each clue has been leading the Titans towards redemption and something new, and this final letter is no different. Damian’s letter contains a set of coordinates to lead the Titans to one final location. When they arrive, they stumble on someone they totally weren’t expecting, but one that the book has already strongly hinted at.
Nightwing! I have to say, when I saw him I did cheer a little bit. I, like many of you I’d guess, have been starving for some proper Dick Grayson content so it was a really happy surprise this issue to see him.
I have to say, his inclusion more than anything helps sell me on the idea of these kids moving away from trying to hero on their own and getting some actual support and training. I love the idea of him helping raise up another set of teens in a different way from how he led his own Titans team.
Plus, I can get behind the idea that he’s also doing this for Damian, because his brother asked him to. I know some people might take issue with him training the team without Damian, or some of his dialogue here, but I choose to read it all in a more hopeful light, that he’s doing what he can, and that he’s hopeful Damian will return. Like I said at the start of this review, it’s a weird time in comics and I have a feeling a lot of the dancing around Damian in this (and other) titles is because we’re all waiting on seeing what DC will do with him in the end. I don’t like it, but the tone seems to be softer than what I’d expected.
Also seeing Fernadez’s Nightwing was a little bit like running into an old friend who you haven’t seen in a while. I love the way he draws Nightwing, and it was just really fantastic to see him get to draw my boy in blue again.
Things wrap up as the Titans are offered the chance to be trained by more experienced heroes and continue their redemption that way, staying a team and doing good. I think this particular idea works for a number of reasons. Knowing this is the final issue, readers are already primed for some kind of ending having it feel like a fresh start is a good way to tie things up. I also love the idea of both the hero school trope and bringing back older Titans to help train younger ones. I don’t hate any of these characters, in fact I’ve grown to like each of them for different reasons through this series, and I and so I’m glad to see them sticking around instead of fading into the ether, especially in a way where we’ll get to see them interacting with some mentors.
- You like the idea of these Titans teaming up with some older ones
- It’s nice to read an ending that is also a beginning
- You wanted to see how the story finally wraps up
This is indeed the last issue of Teen Titans it’s not the end for this team or these characters. In fact, while Thompson wraps up the last remaining plot points here, he also sets the team up for something more, something we’ll see for sure next month when Endless Winter starts. I can’t say I loved this series from start to finish, but I did come to enjoy a lot of the characters, and I’m honestly excited to see where things go from here. A blending of Titans is a great idea, and I hope it plays out well into the future.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.