Damian Wayne leads his team of Titans on a covert mission to steal information... from his father's Batcave! True to form, though, Damian tells no one what his true goal is until they're already in the middle of their destination!
Damian needs information, and even though he and Batman aren't currently speaking to one another, he decides to risk rolling that particular dice to get what he wants anyway.
Or at least, that's what he tells his team.
Robin has a mission of his own that no one else knows about that leads to a dramatic and emotional confrontation with none other than Alfred Pennyworth!
Meanwhile, his team is about to learn the hard way that it's never a good idea to mess with Batman's stuff...
Damian Wayne proves once again that if ever there were a new champion black sheep of the Bat-Family to take the first-place trophy from Jason Todd, it’s him.
Since the character’s inception thirteen years ago (!), he’s proven time and again that he’s every bit as much the son of Talia Al’Ghul as he is of Bruce Wayne. Teen Titans #26 continues that tradition: Even as he seeks to do good by gathering information critical to bringing down the rogue second Robin-turned-Red Hood, his means of doing so are duplicitous through and through. He lies to his team and uses them as a distraction so that he can steal from Alfred, believing without a doubt that the end justifies the means. There’s been some ebb and flow over the years with just how far into the moral gray zone Damian is willing to go depending on who’s writing him; Adam Glass is choosing to lean very, very hard into the character’s darker instincts (see also: this issue’s last three pages, which I won’t spoil here).
All of which makes for a character of dubious likeability, so it’s a good thing the rest of the Teen Titans’ roster couldn’t be more his opposite. Their personalities all bounce off of his in various and distinct ways; I particularly like how Kid Flash isn’t afraid to call Damian on his bull, but still chooses to follow him. It’s a mature look for a character who’s been something of a tabula rasa since his shrug-worthy New 52 debut.
Then there’s the rookies: Djinn with her naivete and secrets; Crush with her angry facade; Roundhouse with his “why is this doofus even here?” affability; Red Arrow with her cool professionalism – they’re an oddball bunch, but they play off of each other very well, especially when confronted with being caught by Batman. And it’s then that their responses remind us that, yes, these kids are actually kids.
Damian’s confrontation with Alfred has a poignancy to it, even as it leads to its inevitable conclusion, which serves as a bridge to this issue’s cliffhanger and the Robin/Red Hood showdown that’s been brewing for awhile now. I can honestly say that I have no idea where this story is going, and for that, writer Adam Glass should be given all the praise in the world.
Unfortunately, though, this issue is hampered by less-than-stellar art by Bernard Chang. His pencils have an unfinished look to them at many junctures, and then other panels are so sloppily inked that I almost have to wonder if the intent was for the ink to cover up the pencils’ shortcomings. The coloring, too, has an odd quality about it where it often appears to be trying to mimic a lens flare, to withering effect. It comes off as too obviously computer-generated and garish instead of anything resembling organic.
The issue’s climax in the Batcave does, unfortunately, end in a fairly predictable fashion. But as far as the overall writing goes, but it doesn’t necessarily bring the issue down, because it serves to show just how much this team of Titans still has to learn.
Adam Glass continues to shine on the under-the-radar Teen Titans, but the art team drags an otherwise engaging issue down a few notches.
Teen Titans #26: Five-Finger Discount
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
Art - 5/105/10
Color - 3/103/10
Cover Art - 5.5/105.5/10
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