TEEN TITANS #23 by Adam Glass and Bernard Chang
While it does face some issues in the characterization and plot structure, TEEN TITANS #23 is a very satisfying new issue for the series. Writer Adam Glass does a fantastic job giving readers a panoramic look at so many elements of this story in a well-paced and clear way, while artist Bernard Chang gives us a fantastic visual experience.
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For the most part, Adam Glass‘s current run on TEEN TITANS has felt fairly self-contained. While it has taken villains from all over the DC Universe, the team hasn’t really interacted with the world at large. Given the scope of their mission and the fact that they are an off-the-books team, this largely makes sense. In TEEN TITANS #23, though, the team is thrust into DC proper.

Someone wants Commissioner Gordon dead and has sent the assassin Lady Vic to do the deed. Our heroes manage to swap the commissioner out with the magical Djinn and save the man’s life. However, now they have another problem. How do they catch a master assassin when they can barely work together?

Finding Balance

TEEN TITANS #23 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

TEEN TITANS #23 is one of Adam Glass’s more balanced and varied stories in the series thus far. The way he combines different story elements, from Kid Flash confronting the presumed dead Roundhouse to the team’s action-packed confrontation with Vic, feels really satisfying. None of the scenes felt extraneous or unimportant. Glass gives each major moment its due, and it shows. I really enjoyed reading this issue. Every single scene had some fun new element being introduced. I love that this team simply can’t work together as a unit. It constantly ups the tension, and it allows the team members to feel like individuals. One of the biggest problems with team books is that the group often supersedes the person. Glass remedies that with his chaotic and uncooperative roster.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of TEEN TITANS #23, something did nag at me from the beginning. The Commissioner Gordon assassination element of this story falls away rather quickly. Yes, the team is hunting Lady Vic from the start, and the basis for the rest of the plot sees the team trying to learn who she works for. However, it never gets addressed, and the motivations behind the ensuing super fight fall away. I never felt like the team found any helpful answers, and I didn’t feel like it mattered to them. They only cared about the fight once it began instead of the reasons behind it. That’s fine, especially since the action set piece is so well developed. However, I still wish that Glass focused a bit more on the underlying elements of this issue.

A Team Of Misfits

TEEN TITANS #23 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The character work in TEEN TITANS #23 follows the tradition of excellence that Glass has already established. It has its issues, of course, though most of these are minor in the grand scheme of things. I definitely felt like some of the characterization could be pushed a little further. For example, Crush and Damian have a rather tense conversation near the issue’s end about Crush’s priorities. The conversation does a lot to highlight both characters’ personalities, but it gets dropped almost immediately after. This applies to the characterization for nearly every character, with them each getting a brief moment in the spotlight before falling away.

This might seem like a glaring error, but Glass manages to make it work. As always, he picks a single team member (Djinn in this case) to narrate the story. As such, we get a deep, in-depth look at her character in a way that is deeply satisfying and entertaining. More importantly, we get her impressions of her teammates, something that adds to the brief character moments spread throughout.

On another note, this piecemeal characterization still does more than most modern team books. It lets us see each character as an individual. It gives us brief looks at their personalities, motivations, and desires. Yes, Glass could have pushed each moment a little bit further. However, as it stands, the way he focuses on each team member, giving them each the spotlight, gets to the heart of team books. It gives the individual a spotlight without shifting away from their duties to the team itself.

Into Battle

TEEN TITANS #23 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Bernard Chang takes on the art for TEEN TITANS #23, and I continue to adore his take on the team. His art style has so much energy, giving even the slow dialogue moments a sense of urgency. I especially thought his splash pages were really impressive. The first, showcasing Djinn-Gordon shot in the eye with reporters looking on in horror, is absolutely brilliant. The true star of Chang’s work, though, comes from his attention to anatomy.

The fight scenes are incredibly dynamic and believable largely because Chang obviously puts a lot of time and attention into making the poses as fitting as possible. Every character’s pose has its own touch of personality, and it’s a pleasure to turn the page and see what Chang has for us next.

TEEN TITANS #23: Final Thoughts

TEEN TITANS #23 is an incredibly solid issue. Like any story, it has its issues, but in this case, they are fairly minor. A little bit of deeper characterization and a more thorough look at the Gordon assassination plot would have been nice, but what we get is still incredibly impressive. Team books aren’t easy.

There are so many varied elements to consider, but Glass consistently makes the job look easy. I had my doubts when DC announced this new team of Teen Titans. Glass has constantly assuaged my anxieties, giving us a new team that I can’t wait to see in future issues.

One Comment

  1. […] out. In TEEN TITANS #24, though, all of those secrets threaten to claw their way to the surface. In the previous issue, the mysterious mega-villain Other tricked the team into chasing would-be assassin Lady Vic. […]


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