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‘Teen Titans Annual #1’ (review)

Written by Adam Glass
Illustrated by Ryan Benjamin
Published by DC Comics


Y’know, I find I keep asking that question myself. Because one thing writer Adam Glass seems intent on making sure we don’t forget is… Damian Wayne really does seem to have gone off the rails.

I mean, imprisoning bad guys in his own personal dungeon, should be enough to keep that point clear.

But so much else about this book plays out along lines that are familiar and comfortable. The ragtag group of teenage heroes, thrown together by fate and circumstance, all of them tripping over one another, one strong personality after another, while simultaneously, each coming face to face with their own immaturities, and all their broken zones of faith and trust.

And throughout it all, pulling together, gradually, despite themselves, as a family.

Which is true, far as that goes. That’s been the tenor of this book since its inception, despite all the secrets – even because of them.

But the one real notable exception to all that so far, from the get go, and all throughout… is Robin.

Which again, has felt true to form. Damian is… insufferable. That’s his game. That’s his brand. His aggressively brandished superiority complex has always been annoying. It’s meant to be annoying. It’s his norm.

But ever since he got back from space, ever since the Entropy Titan, that complex seems to be driven by something more than confident, driven, over-competence.

Something deeply insecure.

Something like a lack of faith. And a reliance on what’s left, when you dispense with that.

It’s very unsettling. And it comes through.

But nowhere as clearly as it has in this issue.

There are two stories in this year’s Teen Titans Annual. Once again Adam Glass shows a penchant for storytelling through short, action-bound scenes, that further what we know about our characters, by the things they do and the choices they make in moments of conflict and tension.

In the second of those stories the focus is on Djinn, and once again we gain some insight into just how important issues of control and vulnerability are to our young genie heroine. Not a good kryptonite mix when the team goes head to head with the mind-controlling teen freak, Joystick, in what reads like a very classic old-school Teen Titans encounter – until it all goes sideways for Djinn.

The fallout of that episode will be explored in detail next issue. It sounds like our adolescent genie is being primed to take a true leap of faith with her new fledgling family, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her step up.

After all, it’s time for some answers.

It’s far less clear that Damian will be able to make that step, however. Because on top of everything else he’s been trying to come to terms with, it appears that Damian Wayne really is coming face to face with a crisis of faith – faith in himself, that is.

It’s a bad place for the scion of Ra’s al Ghul, because that’s not the sort of crisis he can afford to ignore. Few heroes of the DCU have such a clear distinction in the paths laid before them.

And the path he seems to be on right now, is clearly headed in the wrong direction.

It’s a striking contrast, among other things, to the advances his friend Jon Kent has made of late. All of which leaves one to think that maybe it’d be a really good time… for Damian Wayne to grow up some.

Maybe that’s something Djinn can help with.


Next Issue: Arabian nights.


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