Welp, we’ve arrived Teen Titans Academy’s beach episode… A beach episode that definitely — like the yearbook or any of the cornucopia of crossovers and the like — wouldn’t feel earned. But, fortunately for us, the summer fun is only the setup for some, dare I say it, monkey business.
Rafa Sandoval’s pencils are back, and they’re a sight for sore eyes, even if Sandoval retains their habit of drawing characters either Clint Eastwood squinting or looking like some took a pic while they were blinking. Jordi Tarragona’s inks are subtle but solid, providing a lot of detail and texture while mostly staying out of the way of the real star of the show: the gorgeous colors by Ulises Arreola.
I’m starting to think DC is picking its artists on cool names alone, or at least I would be, if Arreola’s colors weren’t so gorgeous. They look less colored and more painted, veering a bit more into realism than comic colors (especially digital) tend to go, providing things like clothing, skin, and even rocks with a lot of texture.
The issue spends about three pages on the aforementioned summer shenanigans before jumping into the real tofu and tomatoes of Teen Titans Academy’s next mini-arc: Why is everyone in this previously meta-friendly town acting all Resident Evil 4 all the sudden? What are they hiding? Why does everyone have either a) a torch or b) a pitchfork? Who took Gorilla Gregg?
Like it or not, this mystery is solved just a few pages later. I can see how that could be annoying to some folks, but personally, I’m fine with it. We’ve seen Tim Sheridan try and tackle a mystery with the Who Is Red X? stuff and uh… it isn’t great, I’d much rather he use mystery elements as a hook à la this issue.
Speaking of Sheridan, he continues to double down on the tone-deaf humor and faux-gen z dialogue and he needs to stop. Zinger’s from TTA #6 include “I don’t think it’s nice to call someone “immigrant” just because they don’t know stuff yet. I think that’s immigrant.” Equally cringe inducing are his attempts to make Stitch (the sentient rag doll) into a Deadpool. ATTENTION: writers of the world. Please, please, we beg you — stop trying to make characters into a Deadpool (aka dime store Ambush Bug). Deadpool came about organically, and even he only manages to be insufferable or cringe inducing, what, a quarter of the time? Less?
As for the other kids, Teen Titans Academy is still stubbornly refusing to let us get to know them. A green girl with ever expanding and flowing hair is a central character in TTA #6, and I don’t know her name, her powers, or anything about her — let alone any of that character building BS writer’s like to put in like motivation or internal conflict. Sheridan’s formula so far seems to be little more than “put random super-kids B, F, K, and V in situation X.”
Even if the characters continue to be little more than superpowered cardboard cutouts, there’s still a little hope. A big boy villain is behind all of the brainwashed hoi polloi. You’ll no doubt guess which a couple of pages in. The reveal leaves me cautiously excited for the coming issues.
- You need more Deadpool in your life, for whatever reason
- Gorillas in Hawaiian shirts are your kink
- I don’t know… uh, Scooby-Doo homage?
The art (especially the colors) in Teen Titans Academy #6 is a treat to look at, and hey, at least we’ve moved away from the gimmicks, for now. Even so, the series’ seeming stubborn refusal to develop its characters, cringe humor, and tone-deaf dialogue continue to hold Teen Titans Academy back from being anything more than mediocre. I don’t want it to be. In fact, I would love nothing more than this series to blow me away. Maybe, hopefully, we’ll get to see a delightful supervillain mop the floor with these kids next month.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with an advance copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.