Do you know what the nun said to the drug addict? She said: 'You’re not the only one around here who has a habit'. A habit, get it? If not, then I suggest you slap yourself in the face before reading the following comic book. It was created by Dan Abnett, Paul Pelletier, and published by DC Comics in April 2018. Amen.

TO QUOTE Mario Cuomo: 'I have no quarrel with people seeing me as a sinner'.

Excuse me, my friend, but would you mind if I asked you a couple of quick questions? You wouldn’t mind? Oh lovely! You’re such a star. So, to begin, you know Roy Harper, right? The ex-junkie as well as the ex-Titan! Well, would you believe him if he told you that an unknown force was secretly controlling the way people think? No? You wouldn’t? Fair enough. But what if I added to this statement by saying that he discovered this fact after sleeping with Cheshire, the sexy terrorist, and got a little high? Would that somehow change your mind? 

No? That wouldn't help either? OK. I don’t blame you, mate, and neither would Donna Troy; because after Roy tells her this she asks Dick and Wally to check up on him while she’s having her assessment onboard the Justice League Watchtower! Let’s hope the three of them can sort things out amongst themselves without any fuss and nonsense, eh? Otherwise, well, ouch! Who knows what might happen! 

Now my next question is a little bit more avant-garde: Do you think a giant French ape can fall in love with a shiny silver statue with a sentient brain inserted into it? Or in other words, Monsieur Mallah and the Brain, who are currently trying to take over the way people think with the use of science, drugs, and, you know, that sort of thing! Want to know more? Then please pick up issue 21 of the Titans today!! But before you do, here, check this out...

Part One) FIGHTING TALK:   I’m afraid to say that I have the same problem with this issue than I did with issue 19, namely, that some of the characters featured preferred fighting over talking. Now I completely understand that this is a comic book and a lot of them are usually read by children and teenagers, but at the same time, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the problems they focus on should be resolved in a juvenile manner. After all, the Titans are supposed to be a group of upstanding superheroes and need to represent something pure and honest without allowing their own egos to get in the way. Not in this case though, no, unfortunately not, because in this story one of them was shown to be nothing more than an envious, shallow, and arrogant person with a massive chip on his shoulder. 

Regrettably, I'm referring to the star of the show, Roy Harper, as he came across as the type of man who’d rather demonize his friends than ask them for some help. Which doesn't really make much sense, not totally, anyway, especially when you take into consideration that he was once a member of Red Hood and the Outlaws as well as this very team! In fact, his portrayal felt so inaccurate, that I couldn't help but groan when he had the audacity to plan a trap for his two friends, Dick and Wally, even before they approached him to see what he was up to. I mean, does that sound like Roy to you? Because it doesn’t to me! In the past, he’s always been depicted as a real down to earth character whose determination allowed him to work through his problems. Granted, some of those problems involved him being a drug addict, and he did have a number of ups and downs with people like Ollie and Dick. Even so, he’s hardly been bitter, he’s never been crass, and I’ve don’t remember him using someone’s more positive attributes against them. Which reminds me...

Part Two) CHOREOGRAPHED LOGIC:   If you’ve read last months review then I’m sure you must know how much I’m loving Paul Pelletier’s artwork. Generally it’s very clean, crisp, and dynamic to look at, but more importantly, it’s also fun, pure unadulterated fun, even if the sequence you're following is something you’re not too fond of.

Well, as I said in the previous section, I wasn’t a big fan of the fight between Roy, Dick, and Wally. Not only did I find it to be completely out of character for those involved, but in addition to this, some of the logic behind it didn’t sit too well with me either. For one thing, there’s no chance in hell that Roy would be able to beat Dick in a two-way fist-fight because Dick has had a lot more training than Roy. And as for the way he overpowered Wally? Ha! Don’t make me laugh! If Wally can outrun a fast car then I’m sure he won’t have any difficulty intercepting Roy's makeshift force-field

On the flip side of things, however, I did enjoy how Paul stylistically orchestrated this sequence with a hefty dose of action, emotion, and grace. From Dicks menacing stares all the way down to Roys moody poses, more or less most of it was nicely composed, smartly choreographed, and generally well thought out, visually, if not logically. I also appreciated the pacing of this scene because it flowed smoothly from one panel to the next and maintained a steady flow of visuals throughout. There were also those sequences featuring Monsieur Mallah and the Brain, which... errr... now how can I put this? 

Part Three) ADORABLY PERVERSE:   Oh! I know! They were all adorably perverse, simply because of the way these two interacted with each other in a very pious and coquettish fashion. You see, despite his stature (or should that be statue?), The Brain is obviously the more dominant one out of the two and has a snide yet erudite side to his personality. Mallah, on the other hand, seems more obedient somehow, more caring, and he manages to give this partnership a strange comical look at the way we perceive gender norms.

Well, let’s face it! The key to these two villains boils down to one of them being a walking, talking, Gorilla, whereas the other one is an immobile metal statue with a brain on top. But, for argument sake, let’s say you took away these visual nuances and replaced them with a more conventional definition, i.e. a man and a woman, then what would you get? You’d get a perverse love story between two emotionally unstable people -- like you’d see in an old romantic comedy starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, or Cary Grant and Doris Day -- albeit with a touch of vindictive dependency thrown in for good measure.

Out of curiosity, how would you define their relationship? Is it a homosexual one? An abusive one? Or do you think these two actually care about each other on some unforeseen level?  Also, where gender norms are concerned, could you additionally define their relationship as being a comic book version of gender fluidity? Or alternatively, is this just me reading too much into their union and trying to placate it into the real world? Either way, please let me know what you think in the comment section below because it’s always great to hear from you.

All in all, I think it would be fairly appropriate to musically match-up this episode with The Sparkles song, ‘No Friend of Mine’, because...

... a large portion of this story revolves around a group of friends fighting amongst themselves. Which, in many ways, also reminds me of a group of school children fighting in the playground. Agreed? If not, tough sh@t! Do you want to fight? Ha! 

At the end of this issue, Roy Harper inadvertently comes face to face with someone he once had a relationship with. So, out of the following eight candidates, let’s see if you can guess who this person is? Could it be...

  • Jennifer Anniston: It happened in an episode of Friends! What? Did you miss it?
  • Starfire: Could happen!
  • Donald Trump: Wouldn’t happen!
  • Jason Todd: It’s bound to happen!
  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead: The star of the film, ‘Make It Happen’.
  • His post-Rebirth Dead-Daughter: How will that happen?
  • Ellie Goulding: Who sung the song, ‘Anything Could Happen’.
  • Cheshire: I think that did happen?
Nuff said. 

TITANS #21 TITANS #21 Reviewed by David Andrews on April 05, 2018 Rating: 5

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