It always worries me when guest stars are the big draw of a comic. Sadly, that’s what happening in Teen Titans #45!

TEEN TITANS #45

Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Javier Fernandez
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Mike Cotton
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 16, 2020

SOLICITATION: After the shocking events of last month’s Teen Titans Annual, Crush has been named the new leader of the Teen Titans. With Damian Wayne missing, can Crush hold the teen team together? And now that she’s in charge, which villains will Lobo’s daughter go after first? And will Red Arrow, Kid Flash, and Roundhouse follow their hotheaded new leader into battle?

NOW WHAT?

There’s an inherent danger when you blend familiar characters with new—What if it doesn’t work? Of course the Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans were a huge smash, so we keep going back to that formula with the Teen Titans. I mean, I enjoyed Dan Jurgens’ go at it some time back. I’m still looking for that run to be collected and released.

Well, the creators of  this latest incarnation have gone to that same well, and I’m not sure it’s working so well. I mean, Kid Flash is just one of the heroes with that name now, and Red Arrow is a little limited when it comes to what she can do to fight the baddies.

Crush. Well, she’s the one I have the most trouble with. Lobo is fine on his own, but when you start diluting what was supposed to be the “last” of his kind, it’s not all that thrilling to me. And the main baddie of this issue is Gizmo, who has turned into another Toyman.

Red Hood shows up to tell them to leave Damian to “the adults,” a nice put-down—something teens just hate to hear! If anyone should NOT do that, it’s Jason Todd. Even Damian continues to cast a powerful shadow, influencing this entire issue.

The big reveal is on the final page, and I won’t spoil that in case someone hasn’t read the issue yet. The rest of the book feels more like it‘s treading water to get to that last surprise. I mean, I enjoy battle sequences as much as the next fan, but it feels more like a video game when the fighting runs too long for me. Taking the Titans into battle without training in Crush’s leadership was rash, and I doubt she’ll  be running things for long.

Maybe that’s the point of this issue—that Crush is for those people who want action, action and more action all the time. At least, when they aren’t arguing among themselves.

My problem is that I just don’t care all that much for who’s left in the Teen Titans now that Damian has,  like many before him, shown that being Robin is never more than a temporary gig.

The good new is that there is issue #50 on the horizon, so this title will either get cancelled (like Batman Beyond) or go in a “bold, new direction” like Nightwing did. Either way, I’m not too excited.

The characters who are teens do act like teens, which is well done. But after literally decades of teens acting this way, I’m not convinced it’s worth keeping on with this book.

ACTION ART

The art was very action-oriented, with Crush smashing things on the ground before sneering naughtily  at the reader. There is a double-page spread when the TT’s are attacked by Gizmo’s toys that was cool. The colors often reflect the moodiness of Crush and those around her.

The art was probably my favorite part of the issue. And I wasn’t all that big a fan of it, sadly. It feels very much like standard superhero fare.

BOTTOM LINE: Waiting for Issue Fifty

I applaud the effort to provide more diversity in Teen Titans. You’ve got an alien, a heavy set misfit, a female archer, and a speedster of color. I really wanted this to work. I just don’t think it does. Robin kept my interest in the book. Now that he’s gone, I may be leaving, too.

If you aren’t already a big fan of one or more of these characters, I’d say you should pass on this series for now. Either that or pull out the glorious Wolfman/Perez issues of days gone by and relive those high-power days. This book just didn’t cut it for me. Sorry!


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Teen Titans #45

43%
43%
Passable

I applaud the effort to provide more diversity in Teen Titans. You’ve got an alien, a heavy set misfit, a female archer, and a speedster of color. I really wanted this to work. I just don’t think it does. Robin kept my interest in the book. Now that he’s gone, I may be leaving, too.

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About Author

Wayne Hall creates the Wayne's Comics Podcast. He’s interviewed Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, John Layman, Kyle Higgins, Phil Hester, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, David Petersen, Christos Gage, Mike Grell, and Matt Kindt. On this site each week, he writes his "Comics Portal" column (general comics comments and previews) and reviews comics.

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