TEEN TITANS #17 by Ben Percy, Scot Eaton, and Jim Charalampidis
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
TEEN TITANS #17 sees the return of Ben Percy to the series, and the team is all the better for it. With some of the most balanced plot and character moments in the series thus far, as well as some incredibly strong art, this is a must-read for fans of the team.
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Beast Boy has a complicated history in the DC Universe. Though most casual fans know him from the hit TEEN TITANS animated series, he made his debut in DOOM PATROL. From those early days, Beast Boy has been an instant celebrity. At the center of his character, past the energetic exterior, is a boy racked with insecurity. Readers rarely get the chance to dig into the green comedian. However, in TEEN TITANS #17, writer Ben Percy takes the reigns yet again to show us the real Beast Boy. Yet can he survive the danger his drive for community pushes him toward?

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Following the events of “Super Sons of Tomorrow,” Titans Tower is in ruins. Beast Boy, duped by a future version of Tim Drake, must deal with the overwhelming loss of his home. After taking a breather from the team, Gar is approached by a girl named Joran. The head of an organization called Nevrland, Joran and her ragtag Lost Boys are at the forefront of technological discovery. They want Beast Boy, a fellow outcast, to push their products. So when a bus careens off the Golden Gate Bridge, and Nevrland’s tech is implicated, can Beast Boy trust his new community?

Back in the Saddle

Teen Titans #17
TEEN TITANS #17 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Ben Percy makes his stunning return to the TEEN TITANS series after a two month hiatus. Let me tell you, TEEN TITANS #17 has him at the top of his game. The plot itself is fantastic, creating a nice balance between action segments and character moments. I especially loved the team’s frantic rescue of the falling school bus. The action feels very tightly paced, focusing on each character’s individual specialties. The scene gives a welcome nod to the fact that, though their tower is gone, the Titans are still in business.

Percy, though, doesn’t just rely on the strength of this single action segment. In fact, this issue acts as a spotlight on Gar Logan. Beast Boy’s hiatus from the team provides a ton of great characterization without feeling overwrought. These dialogue heavy scenes could fall apart for being too slow. However, I never found myself bored. The dialogue in each matches Gar’s personality, giving way to very funny moments throughout.

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The Beast Within the Boy

Teen Titans #17
TEEN TITANS #17 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

As a spotlight, though, the plot itself cannot hold this story together on its own. Thankfully, Percy provides some incredible characterization of the fan-favorite character. From the first page, we know exactly what Gar’s inner struggle is like. Having lost his family, Beast Boy strives continuously for a sense of community, and that motivation is mirrored throughout the issue. TEEN TITANS #17 manages to paint a clearer picture of Beast Boy’s strengths and flaws than I have seen in a long time. This character matches the same energy and intuitive storytelling as was found in the TEEN TITANS animated series. He might not be a perfect character, but man, do we love him.

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Meanwhile, I was rather happy with the balance of characterization throughout. This might be a spotlight issue on Beast Boy, but Percy doesn’t forget that the other Titans exist. In the previous issue, which focused solely on Starfire, I felt that Marv Wolfman didn’t capture the team in a team book. However, Percy manages to show that the Teen Titans have a personality even when Beast Boy is missing. Meanwhile, the newly introduced characters in Nevrland, while a bit singular in personality, definitely have their intrigue. While I could have done with a bit more in their portrayal, their motivations are presently pretty clear, and they make their case very well. When Joran tries to bring Beast Boy in, her speech about a community of weirdos actually had me hooked.

Kudos to the Newbie

Teen Titans #17
TEEN TITANS #17 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

TEEN TITANS #17 marks the debut of Scot Eaton on the series. To put it simply, his work really intrigued me. He brought a realism to the series that seemed to fit the more serious side of this story. However, his pencils still have a ton of energy. His anatomy is spot on throughout, and his action sequences are fantastic. I mention the bus scene again — with so many working parts, the whole thing could have felt cluttered. Eaton manages to illustrate this moment in a way that is still incredibly exciting without losing clarity. Most importantly, his animal artwork feels really cohesive in this story, standing out as some of the best in the series thus far.

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Adding to this more realistic style is the fantastic color work by Jim Charalampidis. His colors look more muted. This desaturated color actually does a lot for the more serious air of the story. More importantly, anything super-saturated stands out. For example, the Beast Boy’s green fur and the bright purple sheen of Nevrland’s tech. Charalampidis’ art goes a long way to sell the reader on the reality of this world.

Final Thoughts: TEEN TITANS #17

TEEN TITANS #17 may very well be the best issue in the series thus far. With a balanced plot and some genius character moments, the storytelling in this issue showcases Ben Percy at the top of his game. Meanwhile, the art from Scot Eaton and Jim Charalampidis gives the readers a new, but brilliant, view of the DC Universe. Altogether, this is an incredibly solid issue in one of DC’s strongest running series. Pick this one up immediately.

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