Teen Titans #24 – Adam Glass, Writer; Bernard Chang, Artist; Marcelo Maiolo, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Corrina: Who is Damian? Does DC Know?
Ray: Teen Titans #24 is essentially one prolonged action/escape segment, as the Teen Titans find themselves trapped under a collapsed high-rise in the aftermath of last issue’s sudden detonation. Although they’ve all survived and there’s no sign of the villains, the situation isn’t looking good. Wallace, the only member who could get them out of there, as a metal shard in his leg pinning him down. Damian, Emiko, and Roundhouse are all trapped; Crush is holding up the building, and Djinn is nowhere to be found. The first half of the issue is mostly the Titans arguing with each other about how to get out of there, with every possible option bringing with it the chance of a horrible disaster. The problem with this segment is that while the tension is real, the characters are still largely unlikable. It feels like being trapped in a room with a bunch of bickering acquaintances who can’t seem to stop taking shots at each other.
Things pick up a little in the second half, as they find Djinn and learn that she’s unharmed. But she’s far from a cure-all for their situation. Djinn’s powers come with a lot of strange caveats and she won’t directly help them at first, raising tensions. Eventually, Crush manages to push the opening further so they can escape, Emiko frees Wallace, and they beat a hasty escape. Crush’s weirdly intense sense of loyalty is the highlight of the issue, and I also generally like Emiko’s characterization although she tends to lean more intense and mean than she did in Percy’s run. Roundhouse is largely useless and I’m still not sure why he’s here, and Djinn feels more like a plot device than a character. The ending segment, which sets up a conflict between Emiko and Djinn, hints that there’s something very dark lurking under her friendly exterior.
As an issue, this is well-paced and executed, but the team dynamic remains a glaring flaw in the series.
Corrina: Ray mentioned the characterization so let’s focus on that, specifically for the team leader.
Djinn could have been a good idea, tying someone to Damian to force him outside his repressed and intense comfort zone. Instead, being responsible for DjInn seems to have made Damian’s bad traits worse, as he’s as seemingly callous and hostile as ever, especially to his teammates.(It is also a problem that Djinn seems a plot point rather than a person.)
The original idea with Damian as leader of the Teen Titans was, I think, to force him to think about the needs and wants of others, instead of always focusing on himself and the need to do everything alone.
Except all that’s happened is that Damian has gotten worse, not better, and his hostility has been a continuous story problem since he created the team. Any progress he makes in growing up is always reset. Here, he’s unconcerned with Wally’s injury, and he’s kept things from his teammates. Okay, maybe Damian is truly that callous. Fine, but the creates a black hole at the center of the team that sucks the story dry.
This group isn’t supposed to be friends but they certainly don’t even feel like people trying to be a team. And that’s a problem in a team book.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.