TEEN TITANS #11 By Benjamin Percy, Khoi Pham, and Jim Charalampidis
TEEN TITANS #11 is an exciting conclusion to the "Blood of Manta" arc. The issue primarily focuses on Jackson Hyde as he struggles with his relationship with his father. While I wish more of the Titans were in the forefront, this comic still delivers great action and character development to make any fan satisfied.
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TEEN TITANS #11 finishes the “Blood of The Manta” in a satisfying and strong issue. Benjamin Percy continues to do a fantastic job writing this new Teen Titans team. I hope that this series can get to a place where it no longer has to reestablish its characters but can tell new, fascinating stories. Yet, as a fun, kid-friendly comic book, this issue definitely does a terrific job.

TEEN TITANS #11 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

“Blood of The Manta” is very much about consolidating Jackson Hyde into the Teen Titans. He’s the newest member of the team and Percy cements Jackson’s place as a superhero in this issue. In this way, TEEN TITANS #11 is more of a Jackson Hyde comic than one about the whole team. Nonetheless, Jackson looks to be an incredibly interesting and important character of the team based off his compelling portrayal in this issue.

Jackson Hyde – An Independent Hero

YOUNG JUSTICE, which premiered on Cartoon Network in 2010, was a show that focused on several well-known comic book sidekicks and teenager characters like Tim Drake (AKA Robin) or Bart Allen (AKA Kid-Flash). The leader of the eponymous team was the original character Kaldur’ahm (AKA Aqualad).

READ: YOUNG JUSTICE is an awesome series returning for its third season. Here are our thoughts on the upcoming revival!

In TEEN TITANS #6, Benjamin Percy introduced Jackson Hyde into the new DC continuity. Here, Jackson is an aquakinetic teen living with his mother. So, against the wishes of his mom, he joins the new Teen Titans led by Damian Wayne. Now Jackson faces his greatest trial yet: his father, Black Manta.

TEEN TITANS #11 page 9. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Like Father, Hopefully Not Like Son

Throughout his life, Jackson has wanted a relationship with his father, yet his mother refused to tell Jackson who his father was. In TEEN TITANS #10, Jackson realized there was a pretty good reason that his mother hid the truth from him since his father is a supervillain! Now Black Manta takes his son on a quest to capture the Black Pearl of Xebel. Jackson desperately wants to connect with his father but he finds that Manta is cold and abusive. The way that Black Manta treats his son in this issue is particularly brutal and makes his character even more despicable since all that Jackson wants is a relationship with him.

READ: Need to catch up? Take a look at our review of TEEN TITANS #10!

In this issue, Jackson realizes that his strength can’t come from his father’s acceptance of him. It has to come from himself. This story of independence is extremely powerful, well-written, and serves as a well-thought out introduction to Jackson. So, considering that he’s an African American gay teenager, I think a lot of people can relate to his struggles for acceptance.

Team Dynamic

While the majority of this issue is dedicated to Jackson’s storyline, a good portion includes the rest of the Teen Titans. The side plot of this arc is that many members of the Teen Titans have begun to question Damian Wayne’s leadership. Two issues ago Damian kicked Wally West off the team. This upset the remaining members, especially Raven who Robin continues to accuse of “thinking about [her] boyfriend.” Beast Boy is trying to make Starfire take over the team since she’s the oldest and the person the others trust the most. This causes a conflict between Damian and Starfire, who are both trying to prove themselves as capable leaders.

I think that Benjamin Percy has proven that he knows how to write Damian. If handled incorrectly, Damian can seem like a sniveling, bossy jerk. Percy makes it clear that Damian is a kid who’s just looking for people, like Jackson, who accept him. So Damian believes that he needs to prove himself worthy to his father and team, which is why he’s such a strict leader.

READ: Miss the original teenage superheroes? Catch up with the other Titans team in TITANS #14! 

Besides these small snippets, we don’t see a lot of the other Titans in this arc. Dan Abnett’s TITANS has managed to develop every member of the team. Percy has only truly focused on Damian and Jackson. I think that Percy is still taking some time to establish his team, but I hope that once he does we can get a complete team dynamic with well-rounded characters.

Art in TEEN TITANS #11

While Khoi Pham’s drawings in TEEN TITANS #10 were sometimes a bit lacking, he does a great job creating exciting action in this issue. Sometimes he isn’t the best at drawing faces but, since the issue does rely on great fights, I think his work is pretty solid. Particularly well-done is when Black Manta and Aqualad come to blows with awesome power effects.

TEEN TITANS #11 page 16. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

One of my favorite things about the art throughout this TEEN TITANS series is the color. This is perhaps the brightest and most vibrant books in DC’s current lineup. Colorist Jim Charalampidis does a fantastic job here. The style of this comic goes perfectly with its tone and its intended younger audience.

Final Thoughts

Benjamin Percy’s finale of “Blood of The Manta” is a great personal story about Jackson Hyde. It fails to focus on some of the other fan-favorite characters in the Teen Titans, but this is forgivable since Percy nails Jackson’s character. Hopefully, we’ll see a full-fledged team soon rather than more issues of characters squabbling over whether Robin should lead. Until then, TEEN TITANS #11 is a satisfying conclusion to an impactful arc involving our favorite teenage DC superheroes.

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