Unexpected consequences arrive for Kid Flash, while Aqualad deals with family issues. Things are about to get intense, and perhaps a bit murdery… Your Major Spoilers review of Teen Titans #9 awaits!
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Penciler: Khoi Pham
Inker: Trevor Scott, Craig Yeung
Colorist: Jim Charalampidis
Letterer: Corey Breen
Editor: Marie Javins
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Teen Titans: “Still dealing with the consequences of “The Lazarus Contract,” Kid Flash’s status with the team is challenged by Damian… and the Teen Titans will never be the same. Meanwhile, Aqualad learns more about his powers and the truth about his lineage is revealed!”
THE “LEADERSHIP” SKILLS OF DAMIAN WAYNE
While I don’t share Major Spoilers EIC Stephen’s entirely negative view of the latest kid to call himself Robin, I have to admit that Damian as leader is the most infuriating part of this book. We open with Jackson Hyde, the boy who would be Aqualad, on national television with his new Titan friends. Not only does his stardom reach his mother, back hom in the desert, but it reaches a couple of other people. Jackson, for his part, is a bit distracted by mortal combat with Ra’s Al Ghul, a battle which leads him to reflexively drown the immortal madman. Robin butts in, ending the combat simulation he’s been in, chiding Hyde that heroes “apparently don’t kill.” It’s kind of funny, honestly, until he starts the shouting and it’s clear that he’s actually trying to fix the mistakes he made with Wally West, Kid Flash. Wally himself has a tense meeting with Raven during which neither of them admits their feelings for the other, and he reveals that he’s been offered a position in Deathstroke’s new team (as anyone who has read Previews’ will tell you already.) After his training is complete (and he’s been awarded cool new gear by Damian, including a pair of water swords), Jackson agrees to meet with his mom, only for the last page reveal of his DAD… Black Manta!
HAS BEEN TRADED TO ANOTHER TEAM GOT FIRED
I will admit that I am bugged by the fact that Wally West is the son of Reverse-Flash and Jackson Hyde is the son of Black Manta, especially on a team led by the son of Batman. Parental issues and broken homes are a common theme with this team, but not necessarily in the good thematic way. That said, there are a couple of lovely moments in these pages (Jackson discovering that his mother is the source of his water-sculpting powers is very well-done, and I like Beast Boy and Starfire’s brief appearance, trying to cash in on the team’s new viral status), the pacing feels a little bit off throughout. Add to that some irregularities of the art (a dramatic close-up of Aqualad makes him look oddly cross-eyed, and characters’ features change drastically from panel-to-panel) and this issue has an accumulation of flaws that do detract from the enjoyment of the story being told. I like many of the characters here, but I would perhaps like some of the other heroes to take leadership roles rather than having Robin as the literal center of attention.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A NICE CLIFFHANGER
Throughout the Lazarus Contract storyline, it felt like the creative team was working a bit ahead, telegraphing the exciting changes to come in the book in only a few issues, but this one feels less like a return to normalcy for the Teen Titans as it does a filler issue until the big fight with Black Manta comes to a head. Still, Teen Titans #9 has its moments, delivering some nice emotional reveals even with awkwardness of plotting and art, earning a middle-of-the-road 2.5 out of 5 stars overall. If nothing else, it’s successful in making me feel bad for the star-crossed couple of Kid Flash and Raven…