Written by Adam Glass
Pencils by Robson Rocha
Inks by Daniel Henriques
Colors by Sunny Gho
Teen Titans Special #1 is a double sized issue that spotlights Robin, Red Arrow and Kid Flash in 3 separate stories, shining a light on them in a personal way rarely seen in the Teen Titans regular issues that have come before this.
In the first story, we follow Damian as he visits a family diner run by immigrants who make a soup that reminds him of his mother and his early formative years. What makes Adam Glass’s first story work so well is that Damian is not portrayed in his usual obnoxious self, which when done speaks of really lazy writing. Any writer worth their salt who has read or researched Peter J. Tomasi’s Batman and Robin New 52 run will welcome this story with open arms as Glass gets inside the head of Damian and shows us who he really is behind the bravado. This is Damian, not the kid who comes in with the angry one liners and insults, sure that’s a part of his personality but never his defining trait, and Glass should be congratulated for finally showing all future writers who will use Damian Wayne what he is all about.
The second story follows Emiko Queen, the Red Arrow. If you are not familiar with her, she is the half-sister of Oliver Queen. Her mother Shado is a highly trained assassin who works for the Ninth Circle, an international criminal organization and bank. Emiko has a complicated relationship with her mother, and in her story Glass shows the reader just how difficult it has been for Emiko to turn against her mother as she attempts to stop her killing some powerful politicians who are looking to do some very good things that would be to the detriment of the Ninth Circle’s financial interest. Glass plays with the longing that Emiko has for reconciliation with her mother and tears away that possibility in the bluntest of ways. With big help from Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques and Sunny Gho, we get a final panel visual to her story that is truly heartbreaking.
The art itself overall is wonderful in this issue. There is great difficultly in illustrating three completely different settings and places without making the transition too jarring. The art and stories are perfectly matched in this special, so much so that they deliver a knockout blow that will please all readers.
In the third and final story, we follow Wallace West, Kid Flash. A young hero who is so torn and confused who always seems to be in a perpetual state of sadness and anger. Glass tells a story that explores the good and the bad of the father figures that are in Wallace’s life. The meat of his story is a dinner conversation he is having with his older namesake. It starts off amicable and heartfelt, but then Glass turns it on its head when Wallace picks at the thread of a throwaway comment which leads to a long disagreement ending in Wallace questioning whether he even needs to listen to Barry or Wally when they offer him advice. It ends with Wallace running off angry and looking to do some good to make himself feel better. The echoes of Wally and Barry’s strained relationship that is being explored in Joshua Williamson’s Flash War arc in the Flash series ring so loudly after you will read this. It is a lovely touch by Glass, one that the reader can only hope was quite intentional.
This special is something I would highly recommend to all Teen Titans fans. It is well written and unlike any Teen Titans comic you have read recently. The art is so good, peaking with Emiko’s story being the visual highlight of the issue. It’s a must-buy that gives hope to the series finally becoming a consistent and successful title.
9 out of 10
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