Titans #21 – Dan Abnett, Writer; Paul Pelletier, Penciller; Andrew Hennessy, Inker; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Corrina: Not Good
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The penultimate issue of Titans, Titans #21, is essentially two comics in one, and the one that’s much better…doesn’t actually feature the Titans. The story that does feature them is pretty much a depressing mess that continues the title’s tendency to pit friend against friend and rely on everyone making the worst decision possible at any given time. The Titans have been broken up by the Justice League, and most have gone their own way while Donna Troy is quarantined in the Watchtower. Roy Harper has reconnected with his old flame Cheshire, who proceeded to take advantage of him, poison him, and leave him behaving erratically. Naturally, when he calls people to talk to them about the conspiracy she’s involved in, they assume he’s relapsed and talk down to him, trying to get him to seek help without really hearing him out. Dick and Wally even track him down to essentially try to take him into custody. You know, because that’s what best friends do.
The fight that ensues is both predictable and disappointing because the idea that these three close friends, who have been the core of the Titans since literally issue one in the 50s, would so quickly turn on each other is absurd. And the comparison of Wally’s competence and power is very glaring compared to how he’s portrayed in Flash. On the other hand, the second story, focusing on Monsieur Mallah and the Brain, is actually very entertaining. It’s not on the level of Steve Orlando’s brilliant one-off with them in Young Monsters in Love, but it still does a good job of taking these oddball villains and making them more than stock characters. Even though they’re monsters, and evil to boot, you can tell there’s still a genuine relationship between them – and one that’s running into some trouble this issue. As the final issue draws close, I find I’m actually more interested in the villains than the heroes, because these Titans barely feel like allies or friends.
Corrina: The relationships between the Titans are a mess. These aren’t friends with conflicts seeking to sort them out, they’re people yelling with no hint they care about each other. I suppose the root of the trouble is the weird decision to have the Justice League break up a team of adults, but the issues since then haven’t made any sense for these characters either. As a reader of the Titans since the mid-1970s, I think this just might be the worst version of the team ever.
The Mallah and Brain moments are good. I wish the relationships between Dick, Donna, Wally, and Roy had been as well-drawn as the one between the intelligent gorilla and the disembodied brain.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.