The Return of Kid Flash, Finale (Teen Titans #14 Comic Review)

Teen Titans 14_cover

The Teen Titans plead with Wally West to rejoin the team.  All he wants is for Robin to apologize. But Robin is busy trying to recruit Emiko Queen.  Too bad she just helped one of Green Arrow’s worst enemies destroy Star City!

Teen Titans # 14
Writers:  Benjamin Percy
Artist:  Khoi Pham
Inker:  Trevor Scott, Vicente Cifuentes & Norm Rapmund
Colorist:  Jim Charalampidis
Cover Artist:  Dan Mora
Publisher:  DC Comics

What You Need to Know:

The Teen Titans (sans Robin) fly to Central City and ask Wally West AKA Kid Flash to rejoin the team.  He agrees, but only if Damian Wayne AKA Robin apologizes for firing him in the first place.  Meanwhile, Damian takes Green Arrow’s advice and seeks out Emiko Queen AKA Red Arrow to replace Wally. Unfortunately, that’s also when old GA villain Onomatopoeia loaded an SUV with explosives so Red Arrow sunk it in the bay…thus allowing him to blow it up and cause a tsunami intended to destroy Star City.

What You’ll Find Out:

Damian and Emiko are sitting on Goliath as they fly over the tsunami.  They estimate potential casualties to be around 30,000.  Emiko admits she screwed up when she rushed to drown Onomatopoeia’s bomb in the sea thus allowing him to set it off and cause the giant tidal wave.  She tells Robin to withdraw his invitation to join Teen Titans (not that she wanted to join his stupid team).  He is incredulous she could turn down the 2nd greatest super-team behind the Justice League.  She demands to know where the 2nd greatest super-team is now that they’re in middle of a crisis!

The Teen Titans are in Central City trying to persuade Kid Flash to not wait for Robin to apologize. Just come back to the team.  That’s when Robin radios the team saying he can’t win without them and asks for their help.  Shocked and stunned, they fly off to help Robin, but Wally just stands there uncertain of what to do.

Robin and Red Arrow are using Goliath to rescue people drowning in the tidal wave when the Titans show up.  Aqualad is trying to use his power to calm the waters and as usual, we get Raven using powers no one has ever heard of before to help him.  Apparently, she can now cast “energy displacement spells” which one can safely assume she’ll never use again in future issues of the book. (GRRR!)

The two of them can’t stop the wave so Robin orders people on the pier to run for safety. Kid Flash answers the call…

Teen Titans 14_page 10

The mocking of Damian about his girlfriend is a cute bit.  They manage to disperse the wave and Green Arrow radios Emiko to ask what the hell is going on there.  She tells him they stopped Onomatopoeia from dropping a tsunami on Star City, but GA reminds her that he isn’t a terrorist. He’s a serial killer of non-powered superheroes like her.

Onomatopoeia is atop a building and opens fire with machine guns, hitting Emiko in the shoulder.  Enraged, Robin helps her to safety and charges toward him.  Beast Boy is shocked when Kid Flash mentions Robin is saving his girlfriend (it’s funny—just go with it) and then it’s KF to the rescue. He boosts Robin up the building at super-speed to beat the bad guy.

Once Onomatopoeia is beaten, Kid Flash tells Robin he heard about him facing an evil version of himself during a team-up with Green Arrow (in Dark Knights: Metal).  He confesses he can empathize with Damian about seeing the possibility of evil in himself because his father was the Reverse-Flash.

That’s when Wally drops a mini-bombshell about spying on Deathstroke…

Teen Titans 14_page 18

Emiko announces she has to go help Green Arrow and isn’t joining the team because she’s too cool for them.  Then she kisses Robin and takes off.  He blushes and the team teases him…as Tim Drake watches them on hidden camera.  Alfred asks him when he’ll tell them he’s alive, but all Tim says is “Soon.

What Just Happened?

I read Ben Percy’s New 52 run of Green Arrow and unabashedly hated it.  But the DC Rebirth version of Percy seems like a writer reborn.  Both in GA and here in Teen Titans, Percy shows off a depth of knowledge about DC characters like never before.

This wasn’t a deep story with any sort of complex plot.  It didn’t need to be.  Percy hit all the right notes and managed to throw in a few nice surprises to boot.

In tandem with Josh Williamson and Michael Moreci’s Flash, Percy’s Teen Titans is breathing new life into the New 52 Wally West.  He’s likable. His actions are well thought-out.  He’s less angry and his motivations are clearer and more logical.  Also, the hints at a romantic relationship with Raven are a canny choice. Yes, that development is a pure homage to the Eighties’ New Teen Titans, but their flirting and affection have been amiable and winsome.

I don’t think this means Emiko Queen is officially Robin’s girlfriend, but it’s a charming idea that is funny without being overplayed.  Damian Wayne hasn’t been this appealing since, well, ever.  He’s still a snarky egomaniac, but he’s actually not entirely arrogant and annoying for once.

There are a couple of recurring bumps in the road, though:

  • DC has insisted on depicting Starfire as hopelessly naïve and gullible in the ways of our world for the past 5 years. It has worn thin many times over.  She’s been on Earth too long for this gimmick to be even remotely credible now.  Mandating that writers keep her ignorant of human customs, jokes and slang is unbelievable and stupid.
  • Also, DC really needs to decide exactly what powers and abilities Raven has and then stick with it. They literally have writers giving her new super-powers in one arc after another, then completely forgetting them and dropping them forever. At this rate, Raven should soon be as powerful as Superman or Doctor Manhattan.  (Which could certainly be an interesting twist in Doomsday Clock, but I digress.)

Nice to see DC has Percy working Tim Drake’s return to Teen Titans.  Granted, it’s only a tease for the upcoming “Super Sons of Tomorrow” crossover, but still, the nod to continuity outside of this series is welcome and appreciated.

And Khoi Pham continues to grow as a visual storyteller becoming one of the better artists to ever grace the pages of any Teen Titans series.

After nearly a decade of the Titans franchise suffering through a series of ill-advised creative decisions and less-than-stellar creative teams, the Teen Titans are fun to read again.

Rating:  7.5 / 10

Final Thought:  This was candy-coated comic book fun.  Nothing life-altering happens. It didn’t need to.  The newly budding friendship between Robin and Kid Flash is a breath of fresh air and the hints of Red Arrow as Robin’s potential new girlfriend are sweet.  This is not a perfect book, but it’s a good series with a much-improved writer and an artist that is growing leaps and bounds in his work.  Read Teen Titan; you will have a good time!

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