TEEN TITANS #22 by Adam Glass and Bernard Chang
With a heavy focus on Kid Flash's personality, Adam Glass and Bernard Chang provide readers an incredibly entertaining -- if a bit unfocused -- reading experience with some of the best art in the series!
90 %
Entertaining and Grounded
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Adam Glass has done a lot for the TEEN TITANS in his short time on the series. Chief among these changes was the darker and more brooding tone. While a bit controversial, this change has helped the story develop a number of interesting moral dilemmas. In TEEN TITANS #22, the team faces the most tragic of these conflicts. After the heroic death of Roundhouse, Robin and Red Arrow use their grief to push their teammates even harder. After a particularly brutal training session, Kid Flash begins to questions his place in the group. He feels responsible for Roundhouse’s death. These distractions force Kid Flash into a spiral of mistakes and accidents. So, with Golden Glider raiding a hospital in Central City, any distraction can mean the end of the Teen Titans!

Grief and Edge

TEEN TITANS #22 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Writer Adam Glass made a brilliant decision by having Wallace West act as POV character of TEEN TITANS #22. Not only does he currently have the most grounded and upbeat personality of the group; he also has the most doubts at this stage in the game. He grieves the loss of Roundhouse, a close friend. More importantly, he feels responsible for the hero’s death. It leads to some really great exposition that runs throughout the entire issue. We’re constantly rooted in Kid Flash’s head, meaning we have an interesting perspective of this issue’s conflict. Given that the main baddy, Golden Glider, is typically a Flash villain, this feels incredibly satisfying. I especially love how Kid Flash’s doubt and drive pushes him into greater mistakes through this installment. It gives his every action a lot more weight.

I also feel that Glass does a pretty good job with the other characters. Crush and Red Arrow especially have some really great dialogue throughout. I love Crush’s take-no-prisoners attitude in every aspect of her life. Much like Wallace’s doubt, it leads to more problems than it solves. When it comes to Red Arrow, I feel like Glass does a good job creating a character that I love to hate. She is cold, calculating, and deadly set on her team’s success. She doesn’t care about their feelings. For an assassin, this mentality works really well, even though she felt incredibly cold throughout this issue. I don’t feel like Glass’s use of Djinn and Robin is as strong. He tries to develop a budding relationship between them. This leads to some interesting dialogue for Red Arrow, but it isn’t explored enough to be relevant in this issue.

Saving Lives?

TEEN TITANS #22 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Adam Glass breaks a trend in TEEN TITANS #22. This isn’t a particularly action-packed issue, which really came as a surprise for me. I have come to expect boatloads of superhero fights and equal measures of moral dilemmas in this new arc, but for the most part, this issue feels much slower. Considering that the POV stems from the fastest kid alive, that is rather interesting. Still, it really works. This issue isn’t about superhero-ing. In fact, the villainous heist only acts as a backdrop for the real, human emotions at play in this issue. I really applaud Glass for this narrative decision. He even brings this story back around to Robin’s primary motivations. We see him interacting with his brutalized prisoners, desperate to find a mysterious enemy. This whole issue is just filled with awesome mysteries and emotions.

I did feel that TEEN TITANS #22 was a little unfocused. We start late in the timeline of the story. This opening scene sees a villain threatening a nurse in front of the team. This acts as a major dramatic backdrop, yes. However, I didn’t feel like it was necessary. In fact, it managed to confuse things as the story went on. Glass could have used that space to slow down other events. At this point, everything happens in very short breaths. Glass doesn’t expand on much other than Wallace’s interiority. Even the Golden Glider, the villain featured on the cover, only makes an appearance for two pages before being completely forgotten. I could’ve used a bit more breathing room in this issue, just to make everything that much clearer.

Drawing Like Lightning

TEEN TITANS #22 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Bernard Chang returns for TEEN TITANS #22, and he absolutely nails the artwork for this issue. I don’t know what changed between this installment and the previous one. I have always loved his style, but something about his artwork in this issue feels cleaner. His linework feels more confident, and his characters are so expressive from page one. Seriously, I absolutely loved his depiction of Crush. That over-the-top personality could only be brought to life by Chang. I especially felt like his action sequences were more clear. The compositions that he uses simply feel more exciting and energetic than they did before. I don’t know what changed with this already brilliant artist. Whatever it is, I hope he keeps it up!

TEEN TITANS #22: Final Thoughts

If you have liked Adam Glass’s run on the series thus far, TEEN TITANS #22 may surprise you. This isn’t to say that it isn’t enjoyable. In fact, with Wallace’s POV grounding this issue, I’d say the characterization and emotional weight of this installment is the best yet. Nevertheless, Glass takes a departure from the action-packed superheroics of previous issues. I liked this change, but some readers may find it a bit weird. I will admit that the quick pacing does lead to a jarring experience, but this is still an incredibly enjoyable read!

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