Teen Titans #19 – Benjamin Percy, Writer; Scot Eaton, Penciller; Wayne Faucher, Inker; Jim Charalampidis, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Corrina: Damian as Leader Was a Mistake
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Ben Percy bids farewell with Teen Titans #19, and it feels like his departure may have been a bit abrupt (the title is getting a new creative team spinning out of No Justice, and Percy is off to Nightwing). This final story arc, focusing on Beast Boy and his complex dynamic with the rest of the team and with Damian in particular, is perfectly fine but also feels sort of slight. It’s a fairly minor in the scheme of things, and this version of the Teen Titans just peters out as a result. When the issue begins, Beast Boy along with an army of fellow lost teens has been taken over by techno-cult leader Joran, who has placed them all in a cyberspace where they view the Titans as their enemy. Joran has transformed Beast Boy into a giant flying monster, which makes him a perfect foil for Damian, who calls Goliath into the field. The thing is, a lot of the things Joran says about how the team has treated Beast Boy – especially Damian – are true.
And that comes back to the overarching problem with this series. Damian’s leadership has never been fully justified, especially with three experienced Titans on the team (one of whom is an adult!). He’s largely led the team into danger and then berated them for getting into danger. This issue he does seem to get a bit of self-awareness, but it’s too little, too late. There’s some development for Raven and Wally, as their flirtation turns into a full relationship – I would imagine that’s why Wally and Avery didn’t work out over in The Flash. However, I’m still a little weirded out by how the age gap seems to be ignored – Wally was 12 when he was introduced in the New 52, and now he towers over Raven. Similar to the way they hurriedly aged up Miles Morales when they wanted to ship-tease him with Spider-Gwen. I did like Beast Boy’s compassion towards his enemy at the end of the issue, and there are some great visuals here. The issue ends with Brainiac showing up, and the story continues in a special with a new creative team in June.
Corrina: Ray nails it. The problem with this version of Teen Titans is that Damian stayed as the leader so long after his first arc, which included kidnapping, then berating, his potential teammates. I know, being a snot is Damian’s thing, but often Teen Titans have showcased a Robin’s growth. The group is where Dick went from Robin to Nightwing, where Tim and Kon forged a bond, and it could have been the team where Damian learned other-powered people could be not only his equal but his superior, and learned to work with friends.
Alas, arc after arc, Damian yelled at his teammates, kicking Wally off the team, and “training” Aqualad in absurd ways. Yes, Starfire was eventually installed as the leader but Damian never acknowledged that or learned from her, a lost opportunity given she’s one of the universe’s greatest warriors and has powers that Damian can’t match.
I’m not sad to see this version go. It wasn’t as terrible as the ones before it. But it wasn’t much fun, either.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.