Damian Wayne never had a traditional childhood. His mother saw him cared for but only as a means toward training him for the task of killing his father. He rejected her morality and joined The Batman as his latest and most lethal Robin. As such, Damian treasures those things remind him of hearth and home, like his favorite Lebanese take-out joint. It was one of the few comforts Damian allowed himself and one that was lost forever when a gangster’s attack destroyed a family as well as a restaurant. Now, Damian seeks the boss of those responsible for the crime…
Emiko Queen never had a traditional childhood. Raised by the assassin Kodomo, she was taught how to use a bow and to hate The Queen Family she didn’t know she was a part of. She came to reject the path offered by her biological parents and came to follow her half-brother Oliver’s example as a hero… whether he wanted her to be Red Arrow or not! Still, a part of her wonders if her assassin mother might be redeemed. It is a hope that leads to a meeting… and a deadly trap!
Wally West never had a traditional childhood. His aunt Iris took care of him, but Wally never knew his dad… until he found out his “Uncle” Daniel was his biological father, The Reverse Flash and part of The Suicide Squad. Wally developed speed powers as his own and tried to adhere to the morals Aunt Iris instilled in him. Perhaps a little too strongly…
Three teens united by heroism and issues with their parents. Three teens who are about to have one bad night. Three teens who seek to deliver a new form of justice for a new generation…
Teen Titans Special #1 is an effective introduction to three of DC Comics more controversial teen characters. There are many readers who outright loathed Damian Wayne when he was first introduced, finding him to be an annoying spoiled brat. Some readers consider Emiko Queen to be another prime example of how Green Arrow rips off everything Batman does (a new teen sidekick trained as an assassin? How original!). And some people take issue with the “other” Wally West because some of Wally’s early stories didn’t give him much personality beyond “troubled youth”.
Adam Glass places us inside the heads of each teen, as they cope with a moral crisis of some kind that ties into their parents. It’s a fascinating approach and one that instantly builds sympathy for each character while letting us get to know them for who they are behind their masks.
The artwork is equally involved, with Robson Rocha working an amazing level of detail into each panel. The inks by Daniel Henriques are kept light, which gives an odd sense of clarity to the relatively dark stories involving Emiko and Damian. It is a welcome and eye-catching choice however, particularly paired with the vivid colors of Sunny Gho. Rob Leigh does his usual stellar job on the lettering.
Unfortunately, there’s some just oddities in the script that seem at odds with previous continuity regarding these characters. For instance, the script mentions Damian’s love of ox-blood soup, which seems strange given how one rather famous meme-inspiring panel affirmed that Damian was a vegetarian. And I’m of mixed feelings regarding the revelation that Shado somehow survived her apparent and poetic death in Benjamin Percy’s conclusion to his run on Green Arrow. Fans of Glass’s work on Suicide Squad may enjoy this issue but as competently executed as it is, I personally see little here to encourage me to keep reading Teen Titans.
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