There once was a villain called The Other, who my mother suspected was my brother. So to find out the truth. I asked my aunt Ruth. Was my brother a conniving little f#cker? Want to know more? Then please ignore the following adventure created by Adam Glass, Bernard Chang, and published by DC Comics in January, 2020.

TO QUOTE Ayn Rand: Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice’.

At the end of last month’s episode, we saw Lobo delivering the Teen Titans to The Other in order to keep them detained and at his mercy. So this month, we get to see which member of the team will be the first to break free. I mean, could it be: Kid Flash? (Even though his powers don’t work properly) Crush? (Despite the fact that she’s still under her father’s control) Djinn? (Who’s unfortunately trapped inside her own ring). Or Roundhouse? (The traitor of the team).

So go on. Have a guess who will escape first. Then once you’ve done that, please pick up issue 37 of the Teen Titans to find out the answer. In the meantime, though, here, have a look at this...

Before we begin, please allow me to make one thing perfectly clear. Major spoilers lie ahead because there’s no way I can review this book through insinuation alone. So, with that said, let’s get down to business with the following Q&A…

1) So what was this story all about?  Basically, it was a story of three parts, with each part spliced together in order to divulge a larger narrative. Part One, for instance, established where each of the characters are (prison/home) and what they’re currently doing (talking/eating/getting away). Whereas Part Two, on the other hand, mainly focused on The Other explaining to Damian who he is (see below) and what his motives are (villain exposition, blah-blah-blah). And as for Part Three? Well, this section generally featured the remaining members of the team, either trying to escape from their chains (Red Arrow, Crush, and Kid Flash) or figuring out what to do next (Roundhouse). So, as you can see, structurally speaking, I’d say this story was pretty easy to follow and fairly simple to understand. So much so, in fact, that on occasion it lacked a certain amount of ambiguity which made it feel a bit too pedestrian to read. Which reminds me...

2) Did The Other’s true identity come as a surprise? Yes, yes it did, but not in the way you might think. You see, halfway through this adventure, Damian Wayne gets taken to one side so The Other can explain to him who he is and where he comes from. He’s, spoiler alert, The Heretic, Damian’s twin-brother (ish), and from the looks of it, he followed a fairly similar path than Damian did previously (in regards to being killed and then brought back to life afterwards). But unlike Damian, The Heretic did something very different upon his return: He decided to usurp the mantle of a dark, malevolent overlord, named, The Other, with the intent of taking down the forces of evil from the inside out. And now, after all this time, he wants his twin to take his place on account of some unexplained malady that’ll eventually kill him. Will he do it, though? Will Damian become The Other so he can save his friends and take on the bad guys in another capacity? Personally, I don’t think he will, no, not in the slightest, because over the years, his teammates have slowly managed to change him. Change him from being an unsociable sod to a more civic-minded figure.

3) So what were the rest of the team doing while all of this was going on? Well, they basically sat around and played a game of cards until someone decided to rescue them. Ha! Only joking, folks! Although, to be fair, the team didn’t do too much in terms of action, but they did quite a bit in terms of expressing themselves. Crush and Kid Flash, for instance, updated Red Arrow about their unstable powers while trying to escape from their confinement. Whereas Roundhouse, had a frank and honest discussion with his mother about his feelings of inadequacy! After all, he does blame himself for his sister’s death (which he shouldn’t), and I’m sure he’s still feeling pretty bad about what he did to his teammates (which he should). So, on a therapeutic level, Billy’s conversation with his mother was a very healthy thing to do and needed to be said. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to banish those evil thoughts festering deep inside his mind.

4) Anything else you might want to add? No, not really, although I would like to mention that Bernard Chang’s artwork didn't seem to work too well with Scott Hanna’s inks, almost as if they had to rush a couple of panels just to get the job done. Plus I did find certain parts of the plot pretty predictable to read! So predictable, I could second-guess what was going to happen next before it did. Apart from that, though, all in all, I’d say this was a fairly enjoyable episode because it was well told, nicely paced, and was able to act as a stepping stone for next month’s penultimate chapter. Who will win and who will lose is anyone’s guess. But between you and me, I highly suspect that this series is going to go in a slightly different direction once The Other has been put to bed.

For this month’s musical match-up, I’m going to align this adventure with the Queen song, ‘I Want to Break Free’, simply because that’s what the team wants to do. Break free.

Following on from the previous section, and I’m now going to compare this comic book to a nail file for exactly the same reason.

Say no more, wink-wink!, and comparison made.

Near the end of this issue, The Other turns to Damian and asks him to do something on his behalf. So, out of the following eight options, let’s see if you can guess what he wants him to do? I mean, could it be that he wants him to…

  1. Kill Batman.
  2. Kiss Wonder Woman.
  3. Punch Green Lantern.
  4. Hug The Spectre.
  5. Replace him.
  6. Take up singing.
  7. Become a dancer.
  8. Ignore punctuation.

Nuff said.

TEEN TITANS #37 TEEN TITANS #37 Reviewed by David Andrews on January 15, 2020 Rating: 5

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