Slade Wilson has something up his sleeve, and it has something to do with the fact that we’re currently dealing with a surplus of Wallys West. This could end badly… Your Major Spoilers review of Teen Titans #8 awaits!
Writer: Priest, Benjamin Percy & Dan Abnett
Penciler: Khoi Pham
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Jim Charalampidis
Letterer: Corey Breen
Editor: Alex Antone
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Teen Titans: “The Teen Titans collide with the Titans after both groups are targeted by the World’s Deadliest Assassin – Deathstroke! But when Robin interrogates Nightwing about his history with Deathstroke, dark secrets are revealed and alliances are broken!”
DAMIEN WAYNE IS NOT EASY TO STOMACH
The perils of jumping into a big crossover cannot be overstated: It’s easy to have no idea what in the world is going on. When the crossover is between two teams calling themselves Titans, each with a Flash named Wally West, led by a former Batman acolyte, featuring an aquatic character, a hooded woman and a strange, powerful warriors, it’s darn near vexing. Of course, the creative team handles the issue really well, as we begin with young Kid Flash encountering a strange man in the streets of Central City. The next day, he turns up missing from Teen Titans exercises, leading Robin to reveal that the elder Titans have also lost their Flash. There’s some well-done character work in here, and I especially like the Beast Boy/Robin interactions and the moment where the two teams confront each other. A big dumb super-fight is barely averted by Nightwing telling both teams the truth: He made a deal with Deathstroke. That self-same Deathstroke has stolen Wally “Flash” West of the Titans and Wally “Kid Flash” West of the Teen Titans, and reveals himself to young Wally as the man whom he befriended. Time is broken, Deathstroke intones, and with Kid Flash’s help, he can unbreak it. By the time the combined Titans arriv to get their speedsters, Deathstroke has already done the unthinkable: Stolen Wally’s super-speed.
WHY HAVEN’T THESE PEOPLE TALKED?
While I am fatigued of Deathstroke as the “most dangerous person in the world not named Batman”, this issue goes a long way to humanize him, explaining that he is driven by guilt for his children who, thanks to his influence, are dead, insane and imprisoned, in order of age. This issue finally gives Khoi Pham the perfect inker, as Wade Von Grawbadger keeps all the dynamic madness of Pham’s work with a more disciplined (and thus easier to follow and much more attractive) inked line. Kid Flash looks especially good under their combined pens, and everyone looks dynamic, heroic and cool, those whose costumes aren’t perfect like Kid Flash’s is. The plotting and dialogue are excellent as well, taking a book that could have been utterly confounding and working around the difficult bits with aplomb, making the story and stakes clear and setting up a last-page reveal that is terrifying in its simplicity: A murderous super-killer with super-speed.
THE BOTTOM LINE: WELL-DONE AND ENGAGING
In short, this is a very solid issue, working as a single chapter in the ongoing narrative but also as a standalone issue, giving depth to Kid Flash’s fears and doubts about his mentor, making Deathstroke seem relatable without blunting his menace and playing with the concept of multiple Wallys in fun ways. Teen Titans #8 isn’t even hampered by Damien, as he works well within the cogs of the story, and the art is well-done throughout, earning a well-deserved 4 out of 5 stars overall. As big crossovers go, this one has understandable stakes, clear characterization and it’s easy to understand the motivations of even the villain, making for a good read…