Review: Titans #25

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With Luthor’s assassin revealed, it’s up to Slade to deal with her. Can Deathstroke keep his client alive, take care of this seemingly immortal assassin and keep his team from falling apart?

Titans #25
Written by Eric Wallace
Art and Cover by Fabrizio Fiorentino
Colors by Hi-Fi
Letters by Travis Lanham
Edited by Brian Cunningham
Published by DC

Previously on Titans: The team is assembled and, after a sloppy first job by Deathstroke’s standards, is headed to Metropolis for their second case. Hired by Lex Luthor to seek out and eliminate a traitor in his midst, the team intercepted Luthor’s convoy and opened fire. During the attack, Luthor and three others fled into the sewers where the assassin finally revealed herself; Lex’s body guard. Once she made her move, however, Deathstroke made his and put a bullet right between her eyes. After a quick chat between client and employer, Deathstroke notice the assassin’s body was not where he left it. Instead, it was right behind him with both Deathstroke and Luthor in her crosshairs.

ASSASSINATING AN ASSASSIN

This issue picks up right where we left off last time; with guns pointed right at Luthor and Deathstroke. Façade is revealed to be a shape shifter and fires at Lex and Deathstroke but hits Luthor’s two business associates instead. As Façade chases after her targets, Deathstroke appears out of the shadows from behind and decapitates her. As the head rolls to a stop, it looks up and smiles as a bomb goes off that brings down rubble separating Deathstroke from Luthor. The rest of the Titans have now made their way into the sewers as Osiris and the Tattooed Man run into Deathstroke who tell them to head to the surface. Deathstroke then attacks the Tattooed Man for questioning him which sends Osiris into a frenzy against his boss. Dodging all of Osiris’ attacks, Deathstroke gases the boy and reveals that he’s the shape shifter.

Meanwhile, Cheshire and Cinder have found Lex and are escorting him to safety when, once again, Deathstroke emerges from the shadows. Before he can say much, a giant tattoo blade flies at him and slices him in half. A pissed off Tattooed man joins the group as Façade finally reveals her … I mean, his true face; which Orisis quickly smashes in. The real Deathstroke returns to the action as Façade throws a gas bomb. By the time the gas clears, the team finds themselves with two Cheshire’s. Pulling the old “it’s not me, it’s him” routine, Deathstroke points his gun and shoots them both. Seeing that Façade isn’t all that injured, Deathstroke then chucks an electromagnetic disc into Façade’s gut, knocking him out. Later on in the Labyrinth’s Medical Unit, Deathstroke tells Cheshire that, unless she gets over her grieving and reconnects with her killer instinct, she can leave the team. Meanwhile at Lexcorp, Luthor makes an example out of Façade to all of his employees. This issue ends when Osiris returns to his room to find Isis’s statue crack and takes it as a sign of his sisters desire to return.

FALSE ADVERTISING

The first thing that bugs me isn’t even about the issue; it’s the marketing. In the last issue, they’ve shown the tension building in Osiris with working for a man like Deathstroke. They hyped up this issue with “And do not miss the fight of the century: Deathstroke Versus Osiris!” on their website. While misleading advertisements and covers aren’t new business in the comic industry, it is still annoying. I was really interested to see Osiris bail out of the team or get into a fight only to have him wooed back in the next few issues. That seems to be a formula that many comic writers use now a days. Instead, they pull a slight of hand trick on us and have “Osiris Versus Façade who-happens-to-look-like-Deathstroke.” At this point an annoyance like this should be expected so you can’t get mad at it, but if you were undecided about this issue and only bought it to see what they advertised, save your money.

I’M IN THE BUSINESS OF KILLIN’ AND BUSINESS IS BOOMING

This is a title and a team that you’d expect violence from. And they deliver. While it’s not as gory as other comics, it’s just enough to give a splatter fan a fix. On page two we see a guy get a piece of his head blown off followed by Façade’s decapitation on page three. Very cool. The issue is action packed without feeling like there was no story progression. They didn’t need to rely on blood to have a good fight as the battle with Osiris clearly shows. I did, however, really enjoy seeing Deathstroke get sliced in half. All of these things are pretty standard for some comics now a days though. So how do they make the action stand out in this issue? With Deathstroke shooting Cheshire. At first, it seems to be the typical “I’m the clone, no she’s the clone” situation, but then you have to remember that Deathstroke could tell which one of the two was the real Cheshire because he could see their heat signatures. Essentially, Deathstroke shot Cheshire on purpose to prove a point that she was getting weak on the job. I have a feeling that that little fact might have slipped through some people’s radar when reading it the first time.

MENTAL EVALUATION

Normally when you think of a team of villains, you figure they’re all a bit nutty to begin with but these guys are starting to come apart at the seams. First up on the list is the obvious choice, Osiris. As if he wasn’t the brooding angry loner already, we can add delusional to the list for thinking that his sister’s face breaking is a good thing. Apparently the next issue is supposed to deal with his White Lantern story but I’m skeptical that we’ll anything worth mentioning. Next up is Cinder. She’s an easy one. She’s just plain suicidal and looks like she’s willing to take the rest of her team with her. Cheshire is pissed off at Deathstroke for shooting her and for what he said to her in the infirmary. I wonder how much longer until Cheshire betrays this team like she did the Secret Six. That brings us to Tattooed Man who has to be the sanest person on the team. Sure, Deathstroke may seem to be sane but when you remember his issues with protégés, it really does solidify Tattooed Man as having to work with people he just can’t understand. I’m sure he’s a bit nutty too but at least he doesn’t wear his crazy on his sleeves like the rest of the team does. I’m officially starting the lottery now, people! Place your bets. Who is the first nut to crack and leave the team?

PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL

At the conclusion of their first multi-issue story, I’m liking what I’m seeing. Although I’m starting to see a pattern with DC using the same name for minor villains (see the Batman villain named Façade), everything else is entertaining. I’m really enjoying this artist’s work on the title. Who ever hired Mr. Fiorentino found someone who could capture the tone of the book beautifully. I have to give this issue a solid three and a half stars because I’m expecting this kind of quality to be par for the course on this title. The story wasn’t stand out but it was more fun than an average comic.

Rating: ★★★½☆