To save Djinn from the clutches of her evil brother Elias, Robin and the Titans must embark on a dangerous gambit for their friend!
Despite their reservations, the team takes the serum, leaving J.J. Thunder to keep an eye on them...
But as the team descends into hell, little do they know that Elias is already making his play for Heaven!
Teen Titans #40 sees the team descending to Hell and being confronted by their biggest fears. Ho-hum. What should have been a perfunctory sequence at best – each member battling their worst nightmares (Robin vs. Ra’s al Ghul, Kid Flash vs. his father, Reverse Flash, etc.), takes up an astonishing number of pages in this issue, leaving readers feeling like it was filler while they wait for the real fireworks to start again.
Heroes-versus-their-nightmares scenarios are typically used to convey truths about characters they might be unaware of, or as a vehicle for overcoming some internal adversity. Here, though, writers Adam Glass and Robbie Thompson – usually far more reliable than this – don’t really explore any new territory for each character. We already know Red Arrow is scared of becoming a killer. We already know Roundhouse feels bad for accidentally killing his sister. No new ground is covered, and nothing new is explored about anybody. Everything is completely by the numbers, safe, unoriginal, and boring. Reading this issue of Teen Titans, readers might be forgiven for having forgotten it ten minutes later. Worse, the overarching narrative of “Djinn Wars” grinds to a complete halt except for Elias making his move against Heaven. But last issue’s revelation of having brought J.J. Thunder back from his pre-New 52 penalty box is largely forgotten here too, as literally all he has to do is stand around and watch the Titans while they sleep.
The art, at least, is redeeming. Eduardo Pansica brings a versatile panache to each page in a style similar to Eddy Barrows, and Julio Ferreira’s inks are top-notch. And although longtime penciller Bernard Chang has beat feet to the (supposedly) greener pastures of Marvel and and an X-book, colorist Marcelo Maiolo is still on board to provide some visual continuity. His coloring style is perhaps even a better match for Pansica, as it had a tendency to appear blocky working with Chang’s cleaner, less-detailed style. But with Pansica, whose art has more definition and detail to it, he gets to work with, which allows him to flex a bit more. Everything is lush and well-defined. Unfortunately, none of the artists have the best story to work with – hopefully, next issue rights the ship.
Although normally a reliably entertaining title, Teen Titans #40 chooses to play it far too safe and winds up being an exercise in banality instead. The art team saves it from being a complete wash, at least.
Teen Titans #40: Hell Awaits
Writing - 6/106/10
Storyline - 3/103/10
Art - 7/107/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 5/105/10
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