Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Review: Teen Titans #15

Super Sons of Tomorrow Part Three took place in Teen Titans #15, giving me the opportunity to look at this book, albeit through the familiar creative names of Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and Jorge Jimenez. Ed Benes also does some heavy lifting on art, putting together a book which very much reads and feels like a Superman book.

The book does a good job of moving the plot forward. The fathers aren't around. The sons show they are truly friends and allies now. And the Titans are split over how to handle the potential threats of Tim Drake and Jon. This is what a middle chapter should do, move things forward as well as add new elements. As a result, from a story progression viewpoint I'm pretty happy.

From an actual story point of view, this book had its ups and downs. Starfire's strength, Damien's concern, and Jon's wisdom all stand out as high points. In the end the positives outweigh the problems.

The art on the book is very good. Benes is pretty restrained for what I am used to for his art. Jimenez is his usual solid stylized self. And this cover by Francis Manapul is a winner, showing the two teams. Love this cover.

And onto the book.

Last issue ended with Tim Drake trying to capture Jon before the super-son could destroy the world in some future. Unfortunately, Drake's trap triggered Jon to release a solar flare, demolishing the Titans Tower and nearly killing the team.

In the chaos afterwards, Drake swims into the flooded tower and cobbles together spare and upgraded Titans super-suits to create his new identity ... the gun-wielding Savior.

I sort of like this design. I feel like there is a little Red X in this, a little Vigilante, and a little Punisher. I don't know. I like Tim Drake a lot. This guy seems a bit off the rails.

Also in the chaos, Damian grabbed Jon and took off.

This is very good scene showing how deep this friendship has become. First off, Jon recognizes that Damian would obviously be effected by Tim's darkening. Damian is sort of following in Tim's footsteps a bit, that history outlined nicely by Jon. And, of course, Damian is struggling with his own demons trying not to head down a more villainous path. So good on Jon for helping Damian acknowledge this.

And I also like that both realize the threat Drake is.

And then Damian supports Jon.

Of course, I am a little annoyed at the reintroduction of the Solar Flare power. I was hoping that would be swept under the rug with Reborn. But here it is.

Jon immediately becomes concerned that he is a walking timebomb and wants to go into seclusion. But Damian won't let him. 'Friends help each other.'

Love this character progression by Damian.

Meanwhile, in some future, the Titans of Tomorrow track Tim, realizing that Tim's dabbling in the time stream most likely has cracked that Batman's mind. At least we get some explanation of Tim's turn. They need to track him down to stop the madness.

All this did is make me realize how much I miss Cassie, Conner, and Bart. And I love Jimenez's Wonder Woman here. Just stunning art.

Back at the Tower, Tim pleads his case. Look, he isn't the bad guy. Of course, the destruction of the tower, while the result of Jon's explosion, was really caused by Drake's actions. Jon might have been the grenade but Tim pulled the pin. He is the bad guy.

(I do love the Akira reference. "TETSUO!!!")

Drake's talk divides the Titans. Starfire finds a note from Damian asking for some time. And she, Aqualad, and want to give Robin that time. Meanwhile, Raven and Gar want to join Tim in tracking down Jon. They don't want to kill Superboy (the goal actually stated by Tim). But they can't let Jon roam free if he truly is a danger.

Starfire takes a stand. She demands they give Robin, their leader, the time he wants.

I've always liked Kory and her strength. I love her passion and intensity. And what I really love here is that Benes doesn't detract from that strength with needless cheesecake. This is as restrained a Benes I have seen, especially for Kory!

Despite this, Raven decides she needs to do what she thinks she needs to. And she doesn't want to fight her team mates. In a great page of multiple wide panels, we see all the Titans work to rebuild to the Tower. But the rebuilt tower melts away to the reality of the destroyed building. And the Titans tracking Jon also disappear. Basically we are shown the illusion Raven put into the minds of Starfire, Kid Flash, and Aqualad.

This is great comic storytelling. Perfect complement of words and images. The art tells the story!

So, I liked this way more than I thought I would. That Jon/Damian scene is wonderful. But the solar flare ... back???

Overall grade: B+


Martin Gray said...

Indeed, the return of the flare merits a massive 'ugh', but the explanation for Tim's madness works for me. I just want this version gone. Why is everyone not gathering around him yelling 'possible futures!'.

Anonymous said...

I can't say I care for the solar flare being or not gone.

I can't say I like seeing Tim Drake so unhinged, though.

I agree on Benes' art. He's definitely restrained himself.