Damian Wayne confronts his twisted doppelganger, who has been the Other the whole time!
The Other transports Damian inside his ring to prove that his Book of the Damned can free Djinn from her prison like he says it can. Damian is confronted with Djinn's darkest secret at last...
Damian and Djinn reconcile their differences, and Djinn tries to talk him out of accepting the Other's offer. But it may not go as planned...
Meanwhile, Roundhouse, seeking redemption for trapping Djinn in her ring, frees the rest of the team in the hopes he can earn his place back among his friends!
It's all leading up to an epic final clash with the Other, where the fractured Teen Titans must come together as a team at last or die separately!
The mystery of the Other, an overarching storyline for the last year and half, comes to a suitable, slam-bang, emotionally resonant conclusion in issue thirty-eight of Teen Titans. Writer Adam Glass is the man for this generation of Titans: after spending the last ten or so issues breaking the team down, this issue they at last overcome their differences when it matters most and come together as a team. Even Damian Wayne, the poster child for misguided self-centered ego, lets down his guard and admits he’s been in the wrong and needs to not just do better in general, but be an overall better teammate. Big words for a little guy who just a few issues ago was ceaselessly conspiring behind his teammates’ backs with zero regard for their feelings.
The entire sequence could have easily come across as contrived. Instead, everything feels completely organic, and it hinges on this moment:
After Djinn shows him that he could have everything he wants if he takes up the Other’s mantle, he rejects it because he fundamentally understands he’s in the wrong. That is a HUGE moment in the evolution of Damian Wayne, and it brings him back down to Earth in such a way that he’s able to admit to the rest of the team just how much of a jerk he’s been. To re-emphasize, for Damian Wayne, that’s HUGE.
And it’s also necessary to make Damian a likeable character again. He’s done some truly unconscionable things throughout Glass’ run on Teen Titans, and although the specifics of the endgame was never fully telegraphed it was assumed he would somehow regain the trust of his teammates. But not like this, not in the face of getting exactly what he thinks he wants. It’s a humdinger of a mea culpa that nobody could have seen coming. Hats off to Mr. Glass for so thoroughly pulling the rug out from under readers’ expectations.
But Damian isn’t the only Teen Titan in need of a do-over. Roundhouse is looking for some redemption too, after his misguided attempt to make his teammates “safe” that came off as a terrible betrayal and ultimately resulted in Djinn getting imprisoned in her ring. There are still some seriously sore feelings on that front, especially from Crush – who is still “crushing” on Djinn – but in the end, the ties that bind prove to be more than enough for his friends to give Roundhouse a second chance.
The art from Bernard Chang continues to shine this issue as it usually does. Scott Hanna was responsible for the finishes, though, and colorist duties are given over to Hi-Fi rather than Chang’s usual collaborator Marcelo Maiolo. But Hi-Fi’s work is similar enough (maybe by design?) that the transition between colorists is so smooth as to be unnoticeable. Chang hasn’t missed an issue since Glass and he took the reins on this book a year and a half or so ago, which says a great deal about his commitment to this book. That’s a rare commodity in today’s comic market, and should be lauded!
Redemption is the name of the game in Teen Titans #38, and the winning team of Adam Glass and Bernard Chang sell it with utmost confidence. Just when you thought this book couldn't get any better, the creative team lowers the boom and proves it can. Far and away one of the quietly strongest books DC is publishing right now!
Teen Titans #38: The Miseducation of Damian Wayne
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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