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‘Teen Titans Special #1’ (review)

Written by Adam Glass
Illustrated by Trevor Scott, Robson Rocha
Published by DC Comics

 

“You know what they say about playing with fire don’t you kid?”

“Yeah, yeah. You get burned –– Is there like a villain class you all go to that teaches you to make bad quips?”

The kids are not having it.

Damian Wayne has always straddled two worlds. It’s one of his defining features. Son of the world’s greatest crime-busting family. Son of the world’s premiere murderous assassin cult.

Few writers however have dared to get too far off into the weeds with the obvious extrapolations of Damian’s dark heritage. You know, the one that spawned future Damian’s Batman-666? The blood and fire vigilante of the al Ghul legacy? Yeah, that one.

Well it seems that’s about to change.

Finally.

One of Damian’s other defining features is the absolute necessity his adolescence exhibits (and one he just loves to dare the world to give him) for an exceptionally large, bucket-of-cold-water, helping of humility. Like life-altering, hoisted by your own petard, wide eyed shame at the excess of your petty hubris, true, noble, hero-forming sobriety.

We’re a long ways off from that yet. And it may be, (if we’re lucky), we won’t see it any time soon.

Just as long as we do, right? Hard to say though. Hard to say just exactly where new Teen Titans scribe Adam Glass plans to take us with his new upcoming run. But if the set-up he’s given us in this week’s Teen Titans Special is any indication, I think it’s safe to assume it’ll be quite the ride.

Which is good. We need a little shot in the arm for the whole Titans legacy. And it looks like Damian Wayne is just the right snotty bad-ass kid to do it.

This month’s Special is broken down into three vignettes, one each for Robin, Red Arrow (aka Emiko Queen, currently Green Arrow’s kid half-sister), and Kid Flash (aka Wallace West, the younger).

Each sketches a story of striking tragedy, and each does a damn effective job of setting each of our young heroes on a path that has them determined to toss out the old playbook and simply upend the whole accepted hero schtick in their crimefighting careers. Just like uppity cocksure kids facing an overwhelm of hurt and chaos in the world would be likely to do.

That’s especially effective for Kid Flash. I’ve been wondering what would get him on board with Damian after being so well-manipulated by Deathstroke recently. Now we know. And it works.

Glass is not pulling punches here. That’s especially heartbreaking for Red Arrow. It just seems to break Robin.

Get ready. These are not your daddy’s Teen Titans. Or theirs’ for that matter. That’s good for us, if not, ultimately, for them. It’s a bold direction, and a stark contrast to the direction of previous Titans teams, and it’s got great potentials for storytelling that may yet redeem the choices which we begin to see set in motion with this issue.

Whether or not it turns out to be a case of all’s well that ends well, I’m pleased to see that as far as storytelling goes, we’ll be in good hands with Mr. Glass. These three episodes demonstrate that he has a facility with his craft, a clear handle on his characters, and an ability to be tight and effective in his scripting. That bodes well, even if we won’t get the blessing of Robson Rocha’s admirable artistry going forward. I’m sure Bernard Chang will be up for the job however.

Looking forward to a great run, on a title that seems certain to hit the DCU hard and take the world of comics by storm.

I can’t wait.

Next Issue: The New New Teen Titans!

 

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