Review – Teen Titans Special #1: Total Story Failure

Teen Titans Special #1 cover
Image via DC Comics

Teen Titans Special #1 – Adam Glass, Writer; Robson Rocha, Penciller; Daniel Henriques, Inker; Sunny Gho, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 1/10

Corrina: What the heck is this??

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW

Ray: Both the books in the Titans line are getting rebooted in the wake of No Justice, and the line didn’t get off to a good start with the Titans Special #1, which reshuffled the team and shook up several characters’ status quo in unwelcome ways while introducing the DC version of Terrigen Mists. Given that rough launch, the Teen Titans Special #1  had a very low bar to meet to be an improvement.

Under the pen of Adam Glass, last seen launching the incredibly violent New 52 Suicide Squad series, it not only doesn’t meet that bar, it limbos under it impressively. Told in a series of three segments spotlighting the established members of the team – Robin, Red Arrow, and Kid Flash – it begins with Damian enjoying a meal at his favorite Lebanese restaurant. This is the only part of the book I enjoyed, once again highlighting Damian’s unique cultural heritage. However, soon enough the restaurant is firebombed by a group of mob thugs looking to extract protection money, and the kindly owner is killed. This sends Damian off on a mission of revenge that seemingly ends with him shooting Black Mask in the face and boasting that he’s not his father – seemingly erasing his last five years of development.

Emiko’s segment is less egregiously bad, in that Emiko at least seems to be in character. I’m a big fan of the character, and her general heroic/snarky approach to life still seems to be in full effect. However, she’s not the problem with this segment. That would be her mother, Shado. Emiko is on the trail of her mother, who has been poisoning diplomats for money and is killing off people who are key to the signing of major global initiatives. Emiko manages to track her down and tries to convince her to stop, but Shado poisons her instead and Emiko is forced to electrocute herself to save herself from a painful death (likely to burn the poison out of her system?)

Needless to say, this is grossly out of character for Shado, who just spent a long time in Percy’s run coming off as ruthless but honorable.

Kid Flash’s segment is the least dramatic of the three, mainly consisting of him battling the Suicide Squad to protect a young meta and bickering with the older Wally West. Wally’s character development, like Damian’s, seems to have been reset back to “angry young punk” for this story. This issue, to a page, feels like an attempt to recapture the aesthetic of the New 52 Teen Titans. Dark-and-edgy tone? Check. Young original outlaw heroes as half the team? Check. No one acting in character? Check. The question is, why would anyone want this? I certainly don’t.

Teen Titans Special #1 page 3
Damian, in the first couple of pages. Image via DC Comics

Corrina:

DC: Hmm…the Teen Titans need a makeover. That new 52 team, half of which were violent killers, was good. Let’s do that.

Glass: Grim and gritty. Check. Okay if I make Damian seemingly a murderer?

DC: Sure!

Teen Titans fans: Um, why would I want a grimdark version of Teen Titans when I hated it in the new 52?

DC: But it has Damian now! And he’s murderous!

Titans fans: ……….

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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