There once was an Arabian Djinn, who refused to get out of the kitchen. She would scream, she would shout. She would dream, she would doubt. Because she thought her kitchen was bitching. Want to know more? Then please ignore the following adventure created by Adam Glass, Robbie Thompson, Eduardo Pansica, and published by DC Comics in March, 2020.

TO QUOTE J. K. Rowling: ‘I don't believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book’.

In order to save Djinn from being confined within her own ring, the Teen Titans travel to Qurac and attempt to trick her brother, Elias, to take her place.

But can they do this? Can the Titans dupe someone who’s far more powerful than they are? And if they can’t, how does this month’s special guest star fit within the scheme of things? Jakeem Thunder! Well, to find out, please pick up issue 39 of the Teen Titans today. In the meantime, though, here, have a look at this…

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this month’s adventure because the artwork was bold, dynamic, and very easy to follow, whereas the story in itself was simplistic in its design but rather exciting to behold. In many ways, you could almost call this episode an introduction of sorts. An introduction which established the heroes (Teen Titans and Jakeem Thunder), defined the villains (Elias and his magical minions), and told us what either side has to do in order to accomplish their objectives (save Djinn, or rule the world, depending on their point of view). Having said that, though...

1) What didn’t you like about this story? At face value, this story is about a group of friends who try to rescue one of their own from a mystical prison. But for them to be able to do this (and do this properly, I hasten to add), they have to travel to Qurac, collect a couple of ancient relics, track down Djinn’s brother, Elias, and then recite a magical spell that forces him to swap places with his sister. So, as you can see, this seems like a fairly straightforward plan because each stage is clearly defined and easy to understand. In fact, it’s so easy to understand, that you would’ve thought they’d practice the hardest part beforehand. Namely, reciting the magic spell. But no, no they don’t, as they’d rather talk amongst themselves about this, that, and the other, instead of going through the motions so they can avoid making any mistakes against a far more powerful foe (which they do). I mean, they're the Teen Titans, for crying out loud, not a bunch of amateurs, and they should have known better than this. Tut-Tut-Tut! Let’s hope they will improve next month.

2) What did you think about this new creative team? Well, from what I‘ve seen so far, I’d say Robbie Thompson and Eduardo Pansica are pretty creative individuals, even though they do possess a couple of notable flaws. Robbie, for instance, was great at streamlining a rather complicated script, but wasn’t that great at toning down some of the heavy-handed quips, japes, and coy remarks, which detracted from the actual plot. Whereas Eduardo, on the other hand, was great at sculpting scenes, constructing characters, and producing panels in a similar style to Sal Velluto’s work (the former 'Black Panther' artist), but wasn’t that great at being consistent and was rather messy too. Either way, I’m sure the best is yet to come, since they did manage to define each character with a certain degree of authenticity, with Robin, being the stoic one; Roundhouse, being the funny one; Kid Flash, being the reliable one; Crush, being the angry one; and Red Arrow, being the one who takes the blame for the team's mistakes, ha!

3) Who’s Jakeem Thunder? In the mid-nineties, DC Comics decided to revitalize the Justice Society of America by bringing back a new version of their old roster in a fresh and exciting way. This first began with James Robinson’s version of Starman, Geoff Johns’s version of Stargirl, as well as Grant Morrison’s version of Hourman, etc-etc-etc, until it finally came the time for Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt to take their turn. Which they did, in February, 1998, no less, when Jakeem Thunder made his comic book debut within the pages of The Flash ongoing series (issue 134). Now, by all accounts, Jakeem’s origins started when Johnny contracted age-related dementia, before he then accidentally passed on 'his abilities' to Jakeem purely by mistake. Not a major mistake, mind you, because this fresh-faced kid was a great addition to the DCU, that's for sure, and he only got better when he joined the JSA and proved himself to be a true hero in his own right. Essentially, his powers are fairly similar to his predecessors, as he’s able to unleash his genie (otherwise known as 'The Thunderbolt'), whenever he says the magic word, 'So Cool', prior to telling him what he has to do next. So, with a little luck, his next instruction will be for him to stay on this book. Fingers crossed.

4) Is 'The Thunderbolt' Elias's brother? Halfway through this adventure, both Djinn and Elias turned to Jakeem's Thunderbolt and called him ‘brother. So, depending on your point of view, you can look at this in either one of three ways. Firstly, you could take ‘brother’ in its literal sense, as in sibling, relative, or family member. Secondly, there’s the more formal use of the word ‘brother’, as in compatriot, associate, or part of a religious group. And thirdly, they could mean ‘brother’ as in someone’s assumed name, otherwise known as a ‘nom de plume’. But as far as I’m concerned? Well, I’d say it's option number one, the family option, with The Thunderbolt being Djinn and Elias’s mutual sibling, due to this being a medium, a comic book medium, that isn’t generally known for having a lot of nuance (but I could be wrong).

Anyway, all that aside, and on the whole, I would just like to say that this was a pretty decent episode of the Teen Titans because the artwork was nice, the story was progressive, and more or less, the future seems promising from here on in.

To celebrate the return of Jakeem Thunder, I would now like to musically match-up this episode with the Jonas Brothers song, ‘Cool’, because Jakeem’s magic word is, ‘So Cool’.

For fairly obvious reasons, I’m now going to compare this comic book to a magic lamp, similar to the one that’s featured in the cartoon, 'Aladdin'.

Say no more.

At the end of this episode, Robin turns to his teammates and says to them… what? What do you think he says? Something like…

  1. We’re going to have to kill Elias.
  2. We’re going to have to play tennis.
  3. We’re going to have to learn sign language.
  4. We’re going to have to die.
  5. We’re going to have to live.
  6. We‘re going to have to sing for our supper.
  7. We’re going to have to go shopping.
  8. We’re going to have to take our clothes off.

Nuff said.

TEEN TITANS #39 TEEN TITANS #39 Reviewed by David Andrews on March 05, 2020 Rating: 5

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