Teen Titans #2 Review


The latest volume of Teen Titans kicked off on a strong note with its Rebirth and first issue. Bringing in Damian Wayne, the newest Robin, did wonders for the series. His introduction as the Teen Titans new leader was nicely balanced with the classic line-up of Starfire, Kid Flash, Raven and Beast Boy. Now that the introductions are out of the way Benamin Percy can go all in on what he has planned for the series. His first plan looks to be the new Teen Titans clashing with the League of Assassins. How will a typically Batman-centric organization do against the next generation of heroes? Let’s find out with Teen Titans #2.

Writer:  Benjamin Percy

Artist: Diogenes Neves

Inkers: Ruy Jose and Sean Parsons

Colorist: Jim Charalampidis and John Kalisz

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Some time ago Robin is jumping from rooftop to rooftop in Gotham City when he runs into his mother, Talia Al Ghul. Talia wishes her son happy birthday but Robin doesn’t want to celebrate anything with her.

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Talia then brings up the gift Ra’s Al Ghul sent Robin earlier. Robin comments that at least Ra’s remembered his birthday unlike his dad (Bruce Wayne/Batman). Talia tries to convince Robin to return to the League of Assassins and reclaim his place as Ra’s heir. Robin is unsure what he should do.

Talia then brings up how it is also the thirteenth birthday of The Demon’s Fist and that heir ceremonial hunt will soon begin.  Robin says he accepts The Demon’s Fist challenge as it would allow him to put his nightmarish childhood to rest.

Sad at her son’s words, Talia gives Robin a USB drive with information on The Demon’s Fist targets as a birthday gift. Talia then leaves Robin alone with his thoughts.

In the present, right outside of San Francisco Robin shows the Teen Titans the five assassins that Ra’s has sent after them. Robin explains that The Demon Fist chose the Teen Titans as targets because each of them represents what they are not. He then shows them brief descriptions of each of The Demon’s Fist’s powers and individual targets.

Raven senses that Robin is hiding something from them and Starfire asks how he knows all of this. Robin says he is Batman which earns him a big laugh from Beast Boy and Kid Flash.

Robin continues to say he is Batman which earns him more mocking from Beast Boy. While that happens Kid Flash mentions how he uses the name “Kid” because he doesn’t have delusions of grandeur like Robin.

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Raven uses her powers to sense the inner conflict in Robin’s mind. Robin tells Raven to get out of his head.

Starfire pulls Robin aside, addressing him as Damian, to talk about how Dick Grayson told her that he is impossibly arrogant but is destined for great things. She goes on to say that everyone on the team is similar in that way.

Robin tells Starfire that she sounds like someone who is trying to convince herself that he is someone worth listening to. Robin tells her they don’t have a choice.

The Demon’s Fist burst into the cave and attack the Teen Titans. Blank attacks Beast Boy, who counters by turning into a tiger and pinning Blank down. Blank suddenly transforms into Red Robin which causes Beast Boy to freak out.

In another part of the cave Stone attacks Starfire. Starfire is able to surprise Stone with her strength but he quickly knocks her down. Goliath tries to attack Stone from behind but Stone sees him and punches Goliath away.

Plague and Raven also begin fighting. Raven uses her powers to evade all of Plagues attacks.

Meanwhile Kid Flash outruns Nightstorm, who is using his wind power to keep up. Nightstorm is able to get in Kid Flash’s head to open an opportunity to attack him with a powerful tornado attack.

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At another part of the cave Robin questions Mara about how they found them while fighting each other. Mara reveals that once The Demon Fist learned what Robin was doing they tagged Kid Flash with a tracking device. Mara mocks Robin for bringing everyone together into a deathtrap.

Robin, with the Teen Titans behind him, tells Mara he has created a team. Mara counters by revealing that Robin was formerly the leader of The Demon Hand and is the grandson of Ra’s Al Ghul.

The rest of the Teen Titans are stunned by this reveal. They then turn against Robin for lying to them. Robin tries to explain that it is all complicated.

Mara uses this opening to set off a bomb inside the cave.

With the cave crumbling around them Goliath grabs Robin and flies away to safety.

Believing Robin abandoned them, Raven creates a shield to protect the team from the falling debris. As Raven struggles to keep up the shield Robin returns inside a Batplane. He convinces the team to believe in him by revealing that he had the choice of following Ra’s or Batman and he chose Batman.

As the cave explodes Robin flies the Teen Titans away to safety. End of issue.

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The Good: Beginning this new Teen Titans series with the League of Assassins going after the new team is a good way to make the statement that this is Damian Wayne’s Teen Titans. Since we have seen Dick Grayson and Tim Drake leading the team against every threat imaginable there need to be something that makes Damian’s tenure as leader stand out. Kicking things off with the League of Assassins does just that and gives each member of the new Teen Titans to come together.

The League of Assassins has been an organization that has been largely forgotten as a threat within the DC Universe. There have been a several strong storylines involving Ra’s and Talia Al Ghul over the years in the Batman book. The thing about these stories was that they never elevated the League of Assassins as an organization or its members. They were just about the conflict between the Batman and Al Ghul families.

Now Benjamin Percy looks to change that with his development of The Demon’s Fist group. This new batch of characters all have a unique look compared to the usual League of Assassins members. To go along with their design Percy is able to make them unique by giving them different powers to go along with their training. Learning that Mara, Blank, Stone, Plague and Nightstorm each have their own unique powers makes them feel even more dangerous.

What I love most about The Demon’s Fist is that they are the team that Damian Wayne was originally going to lead before he decided to be by his father’s side as Robin. This instantly makes this first story arc of Teen Titans feel more personal for Damian, and in extension to the team. Because now we have two different teams, one that represents who Damian was and another team that represents who he would like to be.

Teen Titans #2 does a good job highlighting this fact and using it to establish that Damian may not be fully prepared to lead a team. For all of his confidence the entire fight between the Teen Titans and The Demon’s Fist was out of his control from the moment it started. This chaotic situation shows that, just like when Dick and Tim first led the team, Damian has a lot to learn when it comes to leading the Teen Titans. It’s a position that offers plenty of opportunity of growth for Damian as Robin and outside of Batman’s shadow.

While Teen Titans heavily focus on Damian’s role in this story Percy does not forget about the other members of the team. The fight between The Demon’s Fist is another example at the place in their individual careers the Teen Titans are in. Outside of Kid Flash, each member is experience but still has weakness that they need to overcome. And each of those weaknesses are things that Percy can have them overcome as a team.

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Starfire is a good example of this as she is the oldest and most experienced member on this version of the Teen Titans. Percy maximizes that experience by having her be the one that actually tries to talk to Robin about how he is handling assembling the team. While Starfire could’ve easily taken charge of the entire situation she understood that Robin just executed his message incorrectly.

This maturity from Starfire balanced out the immaturity of Beast Boy and Kid Flash. Percy clearly had fun writing these two as characters that could poke fun of Robin and how he was trying to take charge. At the same time they both share similar character arcs.

For Beast Boy it’s accepting his own shortcomings and the bad things that have happened around him, like Tim Drake’s death, instead of just masking it with his cockiness. And for Kid Flash it will come down to how he grows used to his powers and learns to be part of something bigger. These two arc should play well with Robin’s own arc that is about growing to be part of something more than just his own goals.

Diogenes Neves does a great job taking over the artistic reigns from Jonboy Meyers with Teen Titans #2. While Neves has his own artistic style he is able to maintain the anime-esque look that Meyers established. Every page is brimmed with color, even in the darker scenes like Damian’s meeting with his mother, Talia Al Ghul.

Inkers Ruy Jose and Sean Parsons and colorists Jim Charalampidis and John Kalisz deserve just as much credit. Their contribution to Neves artwork adds to the frenetic energy of the action sequences. The entire art team is able to get over how well The Demon’s Fist match up against this new Teen Titans team.

The Bad: Raven has always been a hard Teen Titans member to write. Given her origin it’s been hard to see writers go beyond the darkness of Trigon with her. And in Teen Titans #2 we don’t see much of that change as her dialogue comes across as the most generic Raven dialogue. Hopefully Percy is able to do more with Raven to give her added character depth moving forward than what we have seen so far.

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As much as I enjoyed the artwork the one gripe I did have with Diogenes Neves and company’s work is Talia Al Ghul’s design. From the pencils to the coloring she looked like Raven. It wasn’t until Damian addressed her as “mother” that I first realized that it was Talia and not Raven. It would’ve been better design wise if the coloring of Talia’s robe was changed to a green or brown and not have a red crystal that is almost identical to Raven, who we saw in the next page following that opening scene.

Overall: Teen Titans #2 is another strong entry in the opening arc of Benjamin Percy’s plans for the next generation of DC Universe heroes. Percy did a great job establishing The Demon’s Fist as a credible threat for the Teen Titans to face. This issue also furthers the character arcs for each member of this new team. Add in the strong artwork from Diogenes Neves and you have all the you need for an enjoyable reading experience.