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TEEN TITANS #23

[ CASH IN A KID
There once was a commissioner named Jim, who didn’t know how to give in. But then, one day, to everyone’s, dismay, he said ‘f#ck it’ and drank a bottle of gin. Want to know more? Then please ignore the following adventure created by Adam Glass, Bernard Chang, and published by DC Comics in November, 2018.

TO QUOTE Dwight D. Eisenhower: 'In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable'.

THE REVIEW:
Under Robin’s watchful eye, the Teen Titans have put a plan in place so they can save the life of Commissioner Gordon. A plan, I hasten to add, which involves: (1) Dijnn swapping places with Jim in order to intercept his assassination attempt; (2) Kid Flash's shocked reaction when the attack then takes place; and (3) The rest of the team quickly chasing after the perpetrator before this person can get away.

Can they do this though? And if they can, how will the surprising return of Roundhouse affect the current state of play? To find out, please pick up issue 23 of the Teen Titans today. In the meantime though, here, check this out…

Part One) YES BUT NO:   Have you ever been in an exam where you’ve got to answer a question by writing down the advantages and disadvantages of a particular scenario? If so, then you most probably know how I’m feeling right now, while writing this review on the Teen Titans. Well, if truth be told, I like this book, I really do, because despite its flaws, the creative team behind it always tries their best to produce a really solid piece of work.

Go on, take a look at the artwork provided by Bernard Chang, and see for yourself how his bold illustrations appear dynamic, expressive, and bursting full of life! Plus, on a personal note, I especially enjoyed how he carefully paced his panels so they were both emotionally logical and stylistic by design (most definitely art-deco inspired). Along similar lines, I have to also congratulate Adam Glass for writing a story that was simple and suspenseful to follow. Although, what I liked about his work the most, was the smartly constructed flow of the overall narrative: Starting off on a seemingly innocuous note, before gradually escalating the tension, scene, by scene, by scene. Having said that though — yes, you guessed it — the one thing I wasn’t too fond of were those secondary subplots which kept on holding back the main thrust of the action.

Now one of the best examples of this can be seen during those sequences where Robin was either praising or being overprotective towards Djinn. On the one hand, they felt slightly too obvious because they made him seem weakun-Damien-like, and easy to manipulate, while making her seem stronger and far more sinister in comparison. Whereas on the other hand, they had a nice way of setting up her mysterious yet quirky personality because of her coy and aloof behavior. In fact, these scenes were so tonally obtuse, that sometimes their inclusion distracted me from following the main part of the plot.

Come to think of it, I thought the same thing about Roundhouse as well! Or to be more specific about it, his half-hearted apology towards the rest of the team! To me, it felt flat, superficial, and made him come across as being a pretty self-centered and silly person, especially since he didn’t have the good common sense to try to inform them about his timely return sooner. That said, however, up to a point his jovial justification did make a small — I repeat, small amount of sense, but only in regards to the usual nonchalant attitudes normally conveyed by some of his fellow team-mates (like Robin, for instance, or Red Arrow and Crush). Even so, with some benefit of hindsight, his explanation didn’t feel quite right, emotionally, at least, which I largely attribute to us not really knowing his true personality yet.  I mean, let's face it! What type of person is he meant to be? A fun-loving character who likes making vlogs and dabbling with technology? An arrogant millennial who has a conventional history and an ethnic past? Or is he a fast-talking clown who's in dire need of some direction? At the moment, I'm not quite sure. Are you?

Part Two) I HAVE A PLAN:   On a more positive note, I must now bow down to Adam Glass for smartly constructing an adventure that was one part fun, one part silly, and one part very suspenseful by design. Essentially, the main brunt of the story focused on the team trying to save Commissioner Gordon from being killed, before tracking down and apprehending the person behind this attack. Which, in this case, was none other than the old Nightwing villain, Lady Vic, who's been hired to do this deed by none other than ‘The Other’. Why he decided to choose her hasn't been revealed yet, although I have a sneaking suspicion that her inclusion was largely due to Vic being a fairly disposable character, Hint-Hint!

What could his motives be though? ‘The Other’s’ I mean! Well, I presume ‘The Other’ is 'a he', even though he could be ‘a her’ or even ‘an it’. Still, whatever the case may be, it looks like this mysterious mastermind is up to his old tricks again, despite not actually knowing why he / her / it would want to kill Commissioner Gordon at a time like this! Could it be for financial reasons perhaps, or something more ritualistic and darker in tone? Plus, what could possibly be his connection to Black Mask? (Otherwise known as Roman Sionis, who informed Robin about the attack on Gordon during last month‘s episode).

Oh, and while I'm talking about Robin, I’m also somewhat curious about his motives as well! After all, why has he selected this specific group of heroes for this specific task, and why would he risk getting into trouble for locking away those villains? Also, what makes ‘The Other’ so special that Robin feels the need to track him down personally? He’s obviously some sort of bad guy, that’s for sure, and presumably has a loose connection to the Red Hood (who we also saw last month). But that aside, isn’t the DC Universe populated with a lot of other bad guys? 

Yes. Yes, it is. Isn’t it? Which has got me to thinking about a possible explanation for all of this! Well, as we all know, most of the team features individuals who have some sort of problem with their parents because they’re either ninjas, assassins, killers, tyrants, dead, or masked vigilantes. So, with this in mind, I’m sure all of this baggage must make the team a lot more susceptible to rebel against their elders, which, presumably, this ‘other’ person is. He must also be some sort of master manipulator who's tried to control or oppress those people that seemingly oppose him. People who I presume might be Ra's al Ghul, Shado, Lobo, and quite possibly, the Reverse Flash when he was still alive.

So, can you see what I’m trying to say, dear reader? Can you see what I’m trying to get at here? Basically, Robin has formed this new version of the Teen Titans so they can show their respective elders that they're better than they are by taking down someone they haven’t been able to. Yeah. It’s as simple as that really: To prove a point and to show them a new way of doing things! Although I could be wrong, and most probably am. What do you think? Am I right? Wrong? Indifferent? Plus are you enjoying this series and its current direction? Personally, I’m liking it so far, despite the fact that I wasn’t too thrilled about this particular issue. It was fun though, very fun, and it was well worth the price of admission for the jokes it served up and the art it had on display. 

THE MUSIC:
I’m musically matching up this episode to The Stooges song, 'Down on the Street', because a lot of it took place on the street, along with the fact that this melody was heard in the film...




THE COMPARISON:
... Smokin’ Aces! Well, if you’ve watched this 2006 movie, then you’d know that a good portion of it was dedicated to two sexy assassins trying to take down their intended target, only for them to then be tracked down in turn. Sound familiar? Yes. Of course it does, minus one, and that’s why I’m comparing it to this comic book too.




Comparison made.

THE CONCLUSION:
At the end of this issue, something rather surprising happens to Lady Vic and the team. So, out of the following eight scenarios, let’s see if you can guess what actually happens? Could it involve them…

  • Being made homeless.
  • Being sent to prison.
  • Being blown up.
  • Being disbanded.
  • Being forced to watch reality TV.
  • Being transformed into a pig.
  • Being made to learn a foreign language.
  • Being a bean.
Nuff said.

TEEN TITANS #23 TEEN TITANS #23 Reviewed by David Lee Andrews on November 06, 2018 Rating: 5

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