World’s Finest: Teen Titans got off to a strong start as we saw the original team’s early adventures. Mark Waid and Emanuela Lupacchino did well in balancing out modernizing the original Teen Titans adventures while maintaining all their classic elements. Will that momentum continue with the second issue? Let’s find out with World’s Finest: Teen Titans #2.
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Emanuela Lupacchino
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Steve Wands
Donna Troy, Garth, Karen Beecher, and Mal Ducan’s double date is interrupted by a distress call from Lilith and Gnarrk.
At Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Lilith and Gnarrk tell the Teen Titans they have been tracking a teen girl named Dalisay, who has been missing for several days. Robin assigns Wonder Girl, Speedy, and Aqualad to investigate an abandoned house while he, Bumblebee, and Kid Flash question Dalisay’s friends at her school.
Once they enter the abandoned house Wonder Girl, Speedy, and Aqualad are split up and are placed in nightmare scenarios of their greatest fears.
Meanwhile Robin, Bumblebee, and Kid Flash learn that Dalisay is a telepath but as her powers have grown, they’ve become harder to control.
Back at the abandoned house Aqualad finds Dalisay and speaks honestly about his own experiences that relate to how Dalisay is feeling.
With Aqualad and Lilith helping Dalisay the rest of the Teen Titans head home. They all then get notifications of a Titans convention happening in Metropolis soon. End of issue.
Taking how they went about tackling slice-of-life and superhero storytelling, Mark Waid and Emanuela Lupacchino improve on every aspect of this series with World’s Finest: Teen Titans #2. Taking that foundation to tell a story with Donna Troy and Garth with others playing supporting roles created a strong focus for this second issue.
Utilizing comic books like World’s Finest: Teen Titans to explore characters that don’t get much attention is what makes this series already stand out. And when it comes to this Teen Titans team Dick Grayson and Wally West have been consistently gotten the spotlight in the solo and team books. The same can’t be said for characters like Donna, Garth, Roy, and Karen, who only get time on the Titans. This approach also taps into what made Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s run so beloved.
World’s Finest: Teen Titans #2 in particular focuses in on Donna and Garth, who while being in a relationship are in two completely different spots in their lives. With Donna we see how she is enjoying leaving Themyscira for the first time and exploring the world. Everything is a new experience for her and she is open to discovery of what is out in the world. Using this as inspiration for why Donna gains an interest in photography was a nice touch to add more meaning to why she eventually takes I on as a career.
At the same time, we see that not everything about Donna’s choice is a happy one. As we see with how she is faced with her greatest nightmare, there is a part of Donna that does wonder if she made the right choice leaving Themyscira. This taps into the sense of belonging many of us feel and adds layers to the attitude she is shown having at the beginning of this issue. The way she ends her story does make it so when she opens up about this to the other Teen Titans it’ll be much more meaningful.
For Garth we see him on a similar arc of belonging but in a much different approach. While Donna seems happy being in a relationship with him, Garth doesn’t have that same comfort. Part of this discomfort on Garth’s part is his feelings of being seen as a freak and outsider. That is reflected in his nightmare as Garth sees himself as some monster even though he physically blends in with the rest of the world.
While Garth doesn’t get over it by the end of World’s Finest: Teen Titans #2 he does show a strength in his character to push through his fears. Making the way he overcomes and steps up a stronger development for Garth’s character is that he does not let it impact how he deals with Dalisay. Garth shows a great empathy for Dalisay and chooses his words carefully to make sure she knows he is there to help her.
All of this speaks to the great approach Waid and Lupacchino are taking to modernize the original Teen Titans time. They fully understand what made these characters such fan favorites but aren’t handcuffed by what came before. Waid and Lupacchino go with an approach of how they can honor previous creators work on the Teen Titans and adjust that storytelling to have the way the team operates be reflected of a more modern time.
Little things like Robin recruiting Lilith and Gnarrk to be part of the Titans Advance Scout is an example of that. Waid and Lupacchino open a new avenue to bring in other classic Teen Titans members while keeping the story to the core team. This also builds on how the Teen Titans are not an exclusive club but an extended family for all the next generation to help each other grow together.
Making the storytelling work even better is Lupacchino’s artwork. Lupacchino has a classic art style that gives this book a look you would expect from a Silver Age comic. At the same time, Lupacchino makes sure to have many modern art tactics so it doesn’t look old. Adjustments to costume styles and the setting help make World’s Finest: Teen Titans #2 be one of the better looking comic books DC has right now.
Mark Waid and Emanuela Lupacchino take what they established in the first issue and improve on it in every way with World’s Finest: Teen Titans #2. The focus is given to Donna Troy, Garth, Roy Harper, and Karen Beecher. In the process we see how Waid and Lupacchino continued to modernize the original Teen Titans adventures while maintaining what makes this team so beloved.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10