Review – Teen Titans Special #1 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer(s): Dan Abnett, Benjamin Percy and Christopher Priest
Artwork: Brett Booth, Paul Pelletier and Khoi Pham
Colours: Jim Charalampidis, Andrew Dalhouse and Adriano Lucas
Inks: Andrew Hennessy, Norm Rapmund and Wade Von Grawbadger
Letters: Willie Schubert
Release Date: 31st May 2017

The final part of the Lazarus contract is finally here, bringing an epic crossover between the Titans, the Teen Titans and Deathstroke.  As you would expect this is an oversized special and yet somehow the team has still managed to squeeze in the equivalent of post credit scenes into the book.

The story continues directly from the three books that feed into it as we witness Deathstroke attempting to utilise the speedforce to obtain a “do-over” to bring back his son Grant from the dead.  Both teams of Titans attempt to work together, even meeting up with their past selves as time becomes muddled and out of control.

The writing team this month had a tricky job to deal with such a large number of unique characters while making them all sound as they should, but thankfully this is never an issue here.  Everyone feels exactly like they do in their own books with Damian actually coming off slightly brattier than usual. Slade’s desperation is also practically palpable as he effectively mirrors Barry Allen during Flashpoint. The two newest members of the Titans struggle to be noticed during the commotion and we have to question the leadership skills of at least one of the team leads.

The art this issue is nothing short of incredible, and given the emotional weight this story has gained it is fitting that the main focus is on the character’s relationships.  During the darkest scenes, the skies open and torrential rain showers our downcast heroes as they all struggle with their current situation.  The ever-important facial expressions and body language are present and help to add a gravitas to the narrative that words alone would fail to capture.  Trips to the speed force are bright and electrifying in contrast to the real world which feels like it is being choked out of existence.

Annuals have become a regular occurrence in the modern era of DC Comics and can sometimes be viewed as ‘throwaway, but this one is unique in that it’s an important part of three different ongoing books and, despite being labelled, Teen Titans is actually just as important to readers of Titans and Deathstroke.  Each of those franchises get a separate ending in the book leading directly into whatever happens next.  I’d argue that the Titans epilogue is the most dramatic of the three.  All of the endings will greatly affect the status quo of the DCU, but the Titans one more so than the others.

If you are on a budget and only reading one series it can feel slightly unfair to be forced into reading this team-up book.  On the other hand, the link between these books feels natural given the characters involved and their relationships with each other, and it’s good to feel that connective tissue manifest itself in such a dramatic way.  The creative team take great pains to make everything feel authentic and present us with a fully connected and well written tale that will have lasting ramifications for all involved.  It’s no over exaggeration to say that the world of the Titans and the Teen Titans will never be the same again.

Rating: 4/5.

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The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
John Tweets from @ShinKagato

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