Written by Dan Abnett
Illustrated by Minkyu Jung
Published by DC Comics
“No more lies, no more secrets.
We are going to stick together. We are not going to give up.
We are going to get the hell home, and save the world,
and complete the mission Nightwing chose us for.
No matter what. Because we’re the Titans, and Titans never quit.”
Well thank God.
Cue turning point.
So, I’ll just start off by saying the most exciting thing about this issue happens on the last page.
And if you don’t already know why that is, I won’t spoil it for you.
But it’s great, for a whole bunch of reasons, and I’m definitely looking forward to how it all plays out.
Way to make lemonade out of lemons, Dan Abnett.
It’s also true that a bunch of other things happen in this issue that are definitely important. And it’s about time, because the transition to get here has involved just a little too much of angsty over-explicated personal issues and team dysfunction. And while I accept that that’s just what it took to play out everything that was set into motion with the first several issues – along with Nightwing’s recent, very unfortunate absence from the team – it’s good to finally get past this hump, so we can get on with this crew stepping up to be the kick-ass team they deserve to be.
The initial, obvious focus of the issue, is Gar and M’gnn. Unstripped of control and pretense, and no longer inclined to try, the result is a Monster Mash battle royale that is saved from going completely off the rails only because M’gnn finally finds her own greatest nobility in the very moment when her darkest fears are realized. Which is gutsy, even if standing revealed in her true form certainly wasn’t by her own choice.
Nonetheless, the moment serves as a significant catalyst.
First, Gar goes from raging behemoth, to… well, honestly only a slightly smaller, rather sad and sorry behemoth.
OK I won’t lie, this is getting old. The concept of Gar as a dangerous monstrous version of himself is fine. But honestly, I’d had hopes we’d see a version of Beast Boy in these two issues that was in fact much larger, more savage, and maybe more interesting, than this meltdown actually gave us. Francis Manapul’s version back in No Justice #3 is still the gold standard for me. And that’s just as a baseline start. Yes, Monster Gar got bigger. And stronger. But the artistic fall-back continues to be shaggy, hulking, Gar-orc – whether medium-sized or giant-sized. Surely there’s more that can be done with this idea. But if not now, I’m not sure where. At this point I’m just hoping for an evolution in the opposite direction.
That’s about the only criticism I’ll offer of Minkyu Jung’s penciling however. The rest of her work is solid and well-handled. With elements of anime and classic Bill Willingham coming through a confident style all her own, it makes for a fine interpretation of the team. And once again, I’ll reference that final page. I’ll be happy if she hangs around for a while.
Raven also has a critical moment of insight. Apropos of what, it’s hard to say – unless there is actually anything at all to all these beguiling, violet-lit lightning bugs floating all over the planet – but finally, it seems Rachel has a bead on the plight of her Soul Self. And that’s a good place to start. (And much less confusing.)
But by far the biggest turn-around is Donna Troy. And yes, thank God.
I get it, she’s got good reasons for being bitter and un-cooperative, but this book needs more from her now, and so does this team. So it’s about damn time she pulls her head out of all that self-pity, and start being the person we all know she is inside.
After all, if Donna really feels she has something to prove now to the Justice League, much less to herself, then surely this has to be the best way to go.
And yes, it does make for a fine leader indeed. Better than Damian Wayne, that’s for sure.
Also, hey – maybe, just maybe, the Universe is listening in too.
After all, what better time for the knight and shining armor to actually show up, than the moment you finally realize you no longer actually need one?
Next Issue: Being green, gets a little easier. (And maybe this’d be a good time for M’gnn to change that color-scheme, just something to think about…)