Previously, on “Teen Titans,” Damian Wayne assembled a new team of heroes, coincidentally consisting of many who are mostly associated with the Teen Titans. This time, we learn the reasons why, and see the team more or less in action.
There will be minor spoilers.
Written by Benjamin Percy
Illustrated by Diogenes Neves
“Damian Knows Best” part two! Ra’s al Ghul’s forces make their move! But are Damian and the newly assembled Teen Titans ready to take on such a deadly threat?
It’s been a rough road for the Teen Titans ever since the New 52, and that started longer ago than I’d like to imagine. There have been plenty of ups and downs along the way, but with the “DC Universe Rebirth,” a new iteration of the TT means new chances to wow us.
Well, it seems this issue is attempting to do that via a fair amount of violence, explosions, and exposition. Naturally, since most of the exposition is coming from Damian, it’s in the form of a speech along the lines of “I’m the smartest person in the room, so you should all just listen to what I say,” but the projections showing images to accompany his narration serve it nicely.
Damian himself has always been an interesting character, at least when in the hands of a skilled writer. The contrasting natures of his lineage make for no small amount of drama and internal conflict, albeit one that’s been visited and revisited somewhat often (though in this case it also gives us a cute little moment where he says “I’m Batman” by mistake instead of “I’m the son of Batman”). But when put on a team that includes Beast Boy and Kid Flash, who are far less conflicted or more humorous, there’s a nice bit of juxtaposition between them, which works in favor of every character.
Speaking of characters, the comic introduces some new ones in the form of “The Demon’s Fist.” They, we learn, are fellow assassins with ties to Damian, who are after each of the heroes he’s recruited for his new Teen Titans team because they’re diametrically opposed just right to make good rivals.
“Oh no,” you might be thinking, “Not evil opposites again. Are they going to have nearly identical powers but with a different color palette and a propensity for evil? Will they just be the Linear Guild to the Teen Titan’s Order of the Stick?”
If that’s what you’re thinking, then first of all you have a wonderful taste in webcomics, but secondly, don’t worry, because they’re not exactly evil opposites. Their powers and abilities are parallel, but not direct match-ups. Sure, we have Beast Boy fighting a shapeshifter, but one that can turn into more than just animals (which can make for some nice mind games). Others are more opposed in terms of personality or history; there’s more ways for characters to be properly paired rivals without making their fights a complete mirror match.
Which, of course, brings us to the action of the issue. Each individual fight is relatively short, since there are five different clashes to cut between, but they all still manage to properly display the strengths of both heroes and villains, and portrays the new bad guys as a legitimate threat without making the Teen Titans look weak in comparison.
Of course, the action is lovingly illustrated by Diogenes Neves. Each panel and impact counts, and there are some excellent shots of the heroes standing together, or the villains coming towards them.
The designs of The Demons Fist are all rather good, with matching color schemes and designs that still manage to remain unique and befitting of each character, while staying true to the League of Assassins theme. When certain characters are unmasked, the designs look rather cool as well, although one does appear to fall into the “short-haired Asian girl with a streak of dyed hair” trope.
Naturally, the strong artwork continues outside of combat. We get a great scene with Damian and Talia meeting in the rain, where the lightning coursing through the sky and the lights from Gotham City below provide nice illumination, and the stormy weather provides a proper effect for the tone of the scene. Credit must be given for Jim Charalampidis and John Kalisz for their color work, which makes each panel pop out and look great; they complement Diogenes’ artwork and the ink work from Ruy Jose and Sean Parsons perfectly, all coming together for some really noteworthy artwork.Continued below
Overall, they haven’t quite come together as a team just yet, and as their formation is pretty much entirely connected to Damian’s backstory, it is all very Robin-heavy so far. Not that that’s a problem for fans of Damian Wayne, of course, and there’s plenty to enjoy from a team that’s not quite trusting and cohesive yet, so we can look forward to seeing them begin to work together in later issues.
Final Verdict: 8.2 – As far as second issues go, “Teen Titans” is doing well. The story moves at a good pace, a threat is properly introduced, and the artwork goes a long way for the action, emotion, and characters.