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‘Teen Titans #25’ (review)

Written by Adam Glass
Illustrated by Robson Rocha, Max Dunbar
Published by DC Comics

 

“I don’t wanna play princess anymore.
I wanna play Superman!”

 

Heck, how about both?

When Adam Glass began his run on the Teen Titans earlier this year it was with a trio of stories featuring Robin aka Damian Wayne, Red Arrow, and Kid Flash respectively.

This month, in a double-sized Anniversary issue, he completes the set with two solo stand-alone stories featuring Crush, Djinn, and Roundhouse, as a bookend to his work on this series so far.

In the first tale, Crush and D’jinn hit the road – in killer style, of course – to track down a loose end that we’ve been teased with since the start of Glass’ run: the story of what exactly happened to Crush’s parents.

Or rather, her Earth parents.

Everyone knows that Crush is really Lobo’s daughter. Right?

The vignette is actually two stories.

The story within the story is the tale Crush tells Djinn about her past with her parents, as well as the rather special friend she had as a young girl, and the last time she saw any of them.

Just as important though is the bond that we see developing between the two extraordinary young Titans, one that provides some much-needed emotional depth for both characters, but especially for Crush.

The two young women make an odd couple to be sure – Crush is all swagger and massive shoulder chips, Djinn is a full-on person pleaser, with a rather muddled sense of human propriety – but as it turns out, it works. It works really well in fact.

In part that’s because Glass is a smart enough writer to know how to build something true between the two girls, despite their evident differences. And of course, it’s fun. Girl-power road-trip, baby. Djinn is the Thelma to Crush’s Louise. Or maybe a better reference, she’s like the Willow to Crush’s Buffy. I don’t know if that’s an intentional nod on Glass’ part, but I wouldn’t put it past him, with all the enjoyable pop culture and cinematic references he peppers throughout his scripts.

Regardless, it’s a good bit. Helpful to see the sort of girl Crush is beneath all the brash. Helpful too, to see that Djinn really does bring more self-awareness that naivete to the table.

It’s certainly helpful for Crush, that’s for sure.

As for Crush’s origin story, it’s the almost familiar tale of the last daughter of an alien race crash-landing on earth as an infant, where she is found and raised by a loving earth couple, despite the mysterious attributes that set her apart from everyone she knows. With a somewhat …more modern spin to the tale, that makes it both more tragic, and more appropriate, for our hard-as-steel, orphaned Czarnian princess.

It’s a little ballsy, sure, and a little risky too, playing it that close to Supes’ master mold. But I’m sure Crush would approve: Always steal from the best. And do it with flash.

As for Roundhouse, we finally get the story of what happens when he is shot into the upper atmosphere with a nuclear bomb.

And what we learn is interesting. We already know that the basis of his powers is polymorphic. Last issue we got the detail that he can control his density. But in this issue it’s made clear (in more ways than one) that he is actually able to liquify himself as well. Explaining all the roundness. So, whatever it was that turned him the color of a Smurf, also gave him the ability to… shift his phase state? Or is he pretty much all liquid in there, all the time?

Might explain the particular… quirks of his costume.

There’s more to learn about Roundhouse that’s for sure. And it doesn’t stop with his powers apparently. But this little missing chapter moves us one step closer.

In fact, the only team member we still know remarkably little about… is Djinn. I expect there’s a good reason for that. One we’ll come to understand as things move forward. For now, it’s nice to get a closer look at Roundhouse and Crush.

And it sounds like we’ll be getting more of Crush’s story at some point in the near future too – now that she’s decided to track down and confront Lobo. Who after all, probably is her father. I mean she sure acts and talks a lot like Lobo. And that is her billing. So probably. Unless there’s more to the fate of the planet Czarnia than anyone knows.

Honestly though, I’m not nearly as concerned about who Crush’s father is.

I want to know who her mother is.

Quick shout out to artists Robson Rocha – revising his collaboration here with Adam Glass from that very first Titan’s Special, to take on Crush and Djinn – and Max Dunbar – who handles the Roundhouse story. Both have turned in excellent work for this special issue, including a pretty classic cover from Mr. Rocha.

I’m sure we’ll see them both around again soon.

Next Issue: ‘What’s the first rule of Batman Club?’

 

 

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