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‘Teen Titans #23’ (review)

Written by Adam Glass
Illustrated by Bernard Chang
Published by DC Comics

“Hey you’re not dead! Bad-ass!”

He’s ba-aack…

Ain’t no thing.

Just another day in the life of a superhero. But it’s a pretty banner day for Roundhouse nonetheless.

Not only are his team-mates happy to see him, not only does Robin give him full-fledged Titans status, now he can even chalk off coming back from the dead from his bucket list.

Or start a new one, I guess.

Still waiting on a fuller explanation of Billy Wu’s powers though. I mean sure, looks like he can bounce back from almost anything if even a nuclear explosion can’t stop him.

But what exactly is his body armor doing when he activates it?

And what’s going on with all the blue? ‘Cause there’s stuff going on here we really just don’t understand yet. And I’m starting to wonder just how many people could.

Precisely just how mad-scientist genius is our boy Billy?

Worth noting though, in terms of pure potential, he’s in good company. Further on we go, the more apparent it is just how much power this team has. Kid Flash, Crush and Djinn are each omega level players all on their own. Robin of course is a master strategist, with an added kick of ruthlessness thrown in lately to sharpen the edges. And Red Arrow, aside from her fine finesse and fighting skills, is busy making a superpower out of determination and willpower alone.

They’re even beginning to act like a team finally. Well, more or less. Crush may need a little more polish. Good thing Damian seems to know her one vulnerability. Maybe we’ll see some of what that sounds like in her own head next issue.

This month, it’s Djinn’s turn to narrate, and true to her depiction so far, she really does seem to be a mystifying mix of otherworldly maturity combined with an almost simplistic simplicity and nearly no independent experience of her own. Come to think of it, that sounds like a lot of next-gen millennial tween girls out there, so maybe there’s something to this new kid supernatural.

I’m not sure it’d be fair to call her trusting – she’s seen too much of human nature to go anywhere near that far – and yet, there’s a naivete there that is a little worrisome. Like what’s the other side of that look like if she were to ever feel wronged? She keeps downplaying her own power, but I wonder if even she knows what she’d be capable of, if her trust were ever to be betrayed?

Well, presuming all is as it appears.

Something maybe for our master strategist to give some thought to, as he continues to do things that seem certain to earn her loyalty and… affection.

Come to think of it, Robin’s maybe already not got nearly as much on the ball as he ought to. Makes you wonder whether we’re beginning to see the set-up for a heaping dose humility, or something of an… even darker turn for Robin in the months to come. Or maybe both, just not in that order.

Whatever the case, there’s a good argument to be made that someone’s operating a full step or two ahead of our erstwhile Boy Wonder. With potentially devastating consequences for his team.

Scott Hanna’s been brought onto this issue to assist Bernard Chang with finishes. I’m not sure I like that as much as Chang’s work alone, but it adds an interesting Erik Larson feel to the book that’s engaging. Together with Adam Glass and the rest of the production team, they’ve handed us another fine chapter of Titans trials, teamwork and… tragedy?

Tune in next time to see which will win the day.

Next time: … The roof is on fire…

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