No Rest for the Team in Titans #19
In Titans #19 the team tries to take a breather after the explosive events of the last issue. The Justice League just can’t let them catch a break, though. Concerned about the direction Donna Troy’s future could take, the League stops by to offer their two cents. Not just on Troy/Troia, but also on the newly resurrected Wally West. In the meantime, Arsenal, Roy Harper, is out on his own, trying to take out a new drug dealer in town. By the end, though, all is not as straightforward for Roy as it might seem.
While not a lot happens in this issue, there is some really nice character development. As the League and Titans come to a head, there are real moments of clarity for members of both teams. Especially from Donna, Wally, and Batman. There is an especially nice conversation throughout the issue between Roy and Donna. It highlights how much history these two characters have with each other, and how much they care. There is a great scene between Batman and Nightwing, with Batman questioning Nightwing’s leadership. The resolution of that was quite endearing, showing that Bruce truly believes in Dick.
Dan Abnett has written these characters with an eye on growth. There is a real maturity on display for the Titans that was absent from much of the earlier run of the rebirth series. Much like the characters, this book has undergone some growing of its own. The Titans are now taking the time to listen to what their elders have to say. Not only that, but they actually take some of the advice to heart, with what might be real change on the horizon.
Abnett has teamed up with his old Guardians of the Galaxy artist, Paul Pelletier, for this issue. That makes me pretty happy, as I find Pelletier to be an incredibly solid artist. He doesn’t disappoint here. The action scenes with Roy are very fluid and well done. The hardest part, though, is that this is mostly a talking heads issue. Very light on the action, so you have to have your attention held by people in capes talking. This can be incredibly rough in the wrong hands.
Luckily, Pelletier is more than capable, and is able to show real emotion on the characters’ faces. You can feel emotions from Omen as she blames herself for the events that transpired. Or the anguish from Dick as he feels like Bruce is attacking him. Right down to the genuine concern in Wonder Woman’s face over what might happen to Donna. Pelletier is able to hold your attention through the entire issue, and I am happy to hear he will still be on the book for at least the next issue.
The only real knock I have on the book is the lack of detail in the backgrounds. I don’t know if this was due to scheduling, if the inker decided not to go the extra mile, etc. Maybe they felt it would detract from the talking heads if they did. All I know is that it felt incredibly flat and lifeless in an otherwise expressive book.
Overall I enjoyed this book, and I look forward to the next issue. With the Titans growing up and listening to those around them, I feel like real change is upon us. I have seen a lot of talking head issues of comics, Bendis is famous for them, and they can be a total bore. When placed in the right hands, they can still hold your attention. You can actually feel for the characters. This issue was a great breather for the audience after the last arc, even if it wasn’t for the Titans themselves.
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