Tuesday, September 12, 2023

World's Finest: Teen Titans #3 Review


Written by: Mark Waid
Art by: Emanuela Lupacchino
Colors by: Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: Steve Wands
Cover art by: Chris Samnee, Matheus Lopes
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: September 12, 2023

World's Finest: Teen Titans #3 follows the Titans (sans Robin) to TitanCon to meet their adoring fans. When one fan takes adoration too far, Robin learns the crown of leadership is indeed heavy.
Is World's Finest: Teen Titans #3 Good?

Without reservation, World's Finest: Teen Titans #3 is the best Titans-centric comic in the market right now. Better than Tales of the Titans and better than the main Titans comic by a country mile. Why? Mark Waid knows the characters, gives their personalities room to shine, and tells a story that matches their stage in life as a formative team. World's Finest: Teen Titans #3 feels comfortable in its own skin, even if it doesn't quite meet every reader's expectations for what they want out of a Titans comic.

When last we left the Titans, the team tracked down a missing girl inside a haunted house that showed each person what they feared the most from their own insecurities and personal failings. The girl was saved, and the team came away from the experience learning a little more about themselves, although Donna Troy appeared to be affected more than most.

Now, the team heads to TitansCon to run elbows with their fans with the justification of connecting with the people they're meant to help when trouble calls. Batman orders Robin back to remain in the Batcave with the warning that unnecessary exposure risks exposing secret identities. Unfortunately, one of the Con attendees has an unhealthy fixation on Bumblebee, leading to dark magic shenanigans, battles, and a healthy dose of "I told you so."

At a surface level, Waid is engaging in the worst kind of modern-day social media attempts at relatability. Other readers I've spoken with loathe the attempt, but it appears the social media and attention-seeking aspects of the Titans are simply a new spin on an old problem. Teenagers crave acceptance and validation, so Waid is simply using the modern channels of finding acceptance as a pathway to get to the real story. In each issue, so far, Waid used the modern setup to create a conflict and have at least one Titan come away from the experience bruised in some way.

In other words, look past the annoying selfies and Twitter-speak, and you'll see a succession of seeds planted for something bigger at play. If you can't stand reading about teenagers livestreaming or discussing hashtags, that's understandable but superficial. Waid is laying a solid foundation.

What's great about World's Finest: Teen Titans #3? Far and away, Robin's emotional rollercoaster is the selling point of this issue. Robin grapples with obeying his father figure who presents a wise and logical argument against the need to fit in with his team, knowing that leading sometimes means acting as a father figure with your peers. Robin doesn't come away from the experience necessarily wiser, but he's beginning to understand that sometimes he needs to make hard decisions on his own.

What's not so great about World's Finest: Teen Titans #3? The TitansCon is relatably amusing, especially for anyone who's ever been to a real convention, but Waid goes a little too over-the-top with the disrespectful behavior of nearly every attendee. Look, there are weirdos at every Con, but it's not the majority, and the stereotyping Waid paints here verges on silly.

How's the art? Deceptively good. Lupacchino's style is simple and light on line details, but the panel compositions and facial acting speak volumes. The simplicity of the art may lead you to believe this is supposed to feel like a YA book, but it's closer to a YA book drawn by a top-tier artist.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

Follow @ComicalOpinions on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Bits and Pieces:

World's Finest: Teen Titans #3 may feel like Mark Waid's version of a YA comic, but the story (and Lupacchino's art) is surprisingly rich and complex. Without question, this is the best Titans book on the market.


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