Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Teen Titans #3 Review and *SPOILERS*

Teen Titans #3
Damian Knows Best, Part Three
Story - Benjamin Percy
Pencils - Khoi Pham
Inks - Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors - Jim Charalampidis
Cover Price: $2.99
On-Sale Date: 12.28.2017

Many of the Teen Titans faithful know that there's something of a tradition for the team.  When the going gets tough, and the members don't quite see eye-to-eye, they... well, they have a camp out!  Back in the early 1980's there was a four-issue miniseries called Tales of the New Teen Titans (not to be confused with the newsstand reprint series) where they hashed out their differences under the stars.  Around the turn of the century, during Devin Grayson's run on Titans, they did the same.  Here we are some... oy, decade and a half hence, and we're gonna give it a go again!

I love it when traditions are kept... even if it's not intentional, and I'm just thinking way too hard about it!  Let's do it...

There's a thing about the League of Assassins... a thing about birthright.  We open with what one might imagine is a ceremonial, almost exhibition duel between Damian and his cousin Mara under the watchful eyes of Grandpa Ra's... which quickly becomes "for keeps" when Mara hurls a blade in Damian's direction!  It doesn't really work out all that well for her, as Damian is able to prove that he is her "better" shortly thereafter.  Here's the thing, though... he may refer to himself as such... but, does he truly believe it?  Their recent run-in with the Demon's Fist left the Titans holding the sticky-end of the stick.  Damian insists upon projecting this aura of superiority... however, must temper it as to not drive his teammates (who he needs) away.

After a much-needed, and enjoyable to observe heart-to-heart with his fellow Titans, Damian comes to the conclusion that it might be just a bit more difficult to "be good" than he'd originally thought.  This shines a light on to his aloofness to the rest of the team... he has never taken into account that they too have problems in their lives... problems with their pasts... skeletons in their families' closets.  It's almost as though Damian needs to be the only one feeling any pain... or that he just views the troubles of those around him as somehow lesser... foolish, even.

Being a tot that goes to extremes, he leaves his cohorts behind and heads out to cut the deal of a lifetime with his grandfather... he offers himself up to Ra's al Ghul on a silver platter... on the condition that he spare the Teen Titans.

The back and forth here between the team members is a hoot... it's almost banter-y, but not nearly as annoying as I feared it might be.  These kids are similar in tone with the way teenagers were written when I started reading these things all those many years ago... and not using too-clever-by-half social-media speak... nor does there appear to be any smart-phone fetishes.  I will definitely give the book high marks for that... and I hope I haven't just jinxed anything!

Ever since his introduction... wow, nearly a decade ago (where does the time go?), Damian has always been portrayed as a kid who was afraid to accept the fact that he cared about those around him... or worse yet, that he might need people.  This issue continues pulling at that thread, and does so in a wonderfully internal-conflicty way.  There are several times here in which Damian actually corrects his own thoughts... nearly calling his teammates "friends".  That's some intense impression management, when you're even trying to fool yourself!

Damian is a tricky character to get "just right".  I feel that Percy has found both a great voice and great character for the Boy Wonder.  He is written in a way that could be viewed as both brutally simple and cripplingly complex.  It's a fine line, but Percy does a wonderful job walking it!  The art here, while I will say it is a slight step down from the likes of Meyers and Neves, is quite good.  Everyone is on-model, and there is no "fill-in" feeling here.

Bits and Pieces:

I can say with absolutely no doubt that this feels more "Titans" than either New-52! volume, and I am enjoying this title more than I have in over a half-decade.  It's not perfect, though what I'd consider flaws are necessary to the story's progression (ie. this is all about Damian).  I am optimistic that this will become a must-read title once this introductory storyline passes.


1 comment:

  1. I agree man not perfect but fun and n52 teen titans was not perfect or fun this book is looking to be better then Titans