Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Teen Titans #4 Review and *SPOILERS*

Damian's kinda like a Mushroom...

Teen Titans #4
"Damian Knows Best, Part Four"
Story - Benjamin Percy
Pencils - Khoi Pham
Inks - Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors - Jim Charalampidis
Release Date: 01.25.2017
Cover Price: $2.99

Ra's al Ghul is my least favorite Batman villain... let's see if an association with the Teen Titans changes my mind...

Also... will any member of our team finally utter the "F-word"?  No not that one... I'm talkin' 'bout "friend".

Picking up right where we left off... Damian has decided to hand himself over to his grandfather in order to save his frie-- er, partners from annihilation at the business ends of the blades of the Demon's Fist.  Well... here we learn that gramps isn't as receptive to the proposition as he may have thought.  Damian is taken in... however, is asked to look within himself.  Who does he see when he looks in the mirror... is he the League of Assassin's leader-in-waiting... or is he the heir to a certain cape and cowl?

Before we get much further, Mara and the rest of the Demon's Fist arrive... and their reunion is as touching as it gets, when one wields a large blade.  It is decided that the cousins will duel... winner takes all.  During the duel, Damian clearly outclasses Mara.  It is only through a lapse in his own judgment that she is able to claim victory.  Damian is new to this "humanity" thing... and it isn't terribly often that he shows mercy to his foe.  On this day, that's his one mistake.

Back with the Titans, the gang round-tables their current situation.  It's a very well done scene in which Damian is compared to a Tamaran mushroom.  Without context, that sounds quite silly... but, the analogy works when you read it.  Gar shows some actual leadership potential here as well... it is by his words that the group comes around to the idea of being the Teen Titans.  It's reminiscent of Gar's role in the Geoff Johns era of Teen Titans (2003), where he was something of a mentor to the "graduates" from Young Justice.  If we look at this team, it could be argued that he might just be the most "seasoned".  This takes us into our ending where the Titans engage in a rescue mission.  And yeah... we close out with Gar saying that F-word.

Of particular note, we see a bit of a weakening in the ranks within the Demon's Fist.  It would appear that Mara's underlings might just be ready to revolt.  It could be that Mara's overcompensation to prove she is the rightful leader of the group may just be her undoing.  It's done fairly subtly... that is to say, we're not entirely beaten over the head with it.  Just some grumbles here and there.

I appreciate this portrayal of Mara, as it appears to be the exact path Damian was on before the "Batman effect".  Mara is purely unchecked Damian... everything is a fight to the death, and everything is at her command.  Damian has matured in his time away... perhaps especially so since the launch of this volume.  I mean, Damian more or less shanghaied this incarnation of the Teen Titans.  While that memory is still quite fresh in our minds... it almost feels like a relic of a bygone version of the Boy Wonder.  I don't see the Robin who put his life on the line for his teammates as the same little jerk from the Rebirth issue.

Bits and Pieces:

This Titans team continues to find itself and mature.  The spotlight on the disparate adolescent paths of Damian and Mara helps to flesh out both characters quite well.  Great forward momentum as we approach the climax of this arc.


1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't say Gar is the most seasoned of the Titans, probably he's the second least seasoned since Kori is a high-ranking commander on Tamaran, Raven's been a general under Trigon, and you have Damian who's walking around in both Batman's and Ra's boots.
    Also I wouldn't say he brings the team around to being Teen Titans, since he and Raven already were, Kori remains mute on the subject and Wally gets lead along by the hand.

    Good issue though. But the arts a bit off in some places.