Teen Titans #24
Writer – Tony Bedard
Pencils – Ian Churchill
Inks – Norm Rapmund
Colors – Tony Avina
Cover – Mike McKone & Rod Reis
Assistant Editor – Brittany Hozherr
Editor – Alex Antone
Group Editor – Marie Javins
* WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!
** This issue of Teen Titans directly follows the events of Detective Comics #940 **
As a reviewer, I do my utmost to avoid spoilers. My aim is to present an honest opinion of the assigned issue – one that invites dialogue from devoted readers, and engagement from not-yet-readers. Reviewing Teen Titans #24 presents a challenge, in large part, because the story revolves around a major event involving a pivotal character in Detective Comics #940. If you don’t want spoilers, please stop reading now, purchase Detective Comics #940, then come engage the conversation with this review.
Teen Titans #24 is a tribute and testament to the influence of Tim Drake.
The writing in this issue is solid. The storytelling angle is an interesting one, as the team deals with the loss of their leader. The Titans reminisce about their interactions with Tim – each exploring special moments in a way that humanizes the often intentional, perfectionistic Drake. The issue is poignant and serves as a character study of Tim Drake, but also uncovers much about the other Titans’ personalities, insecurities, and how they functioned so well together. Teen Titans #24 makes it clear – Tim was the glue that held the Titans together.
The art is gorgeous. Clean lines, excellent use of shadow, vibrant colors. When reading team books with lots of characters, it can sometimes get confusing as to who is speaking, whose thoughts we’re reading, and whose voice is narrating. Not so in Teen Titans #24. Each character has a few panels devoted to their memories of Tim. These are framed well and readers know immediately who the storyteller is because of the colors, the scenery, and the lettering of their dialogue. This is a textbook way to write team comics well and draw their story to a close.
My one complaint about Teen Titans #24 is that for regular readers, it comes out of nowhere. Without Detective Comics #940, readers are left without context, wondering what has happened to Tim and the team. The issue opens with the each member recalling stories of their time together, but we don’t learn why until page 6. Even then, it’s vague.
I wonder how many readers will be left without context for this issue of Teen Titans? The opening panel directs reader to Detective Comics #940, but how many will purchase the book at the same time? It begs a question: Are modern comic book readers devoted to specific titles? Or, do they stop reading and purchase another title to get the context they need? It was an interesting choice for the culminating issue of this title.
Still, Teen Titans #24 delivers a poignant eulogy for Tim Drake. He was well-loved and held the still-maturing Titans together, both on and off the battlefield. Readers of Detective Comics know there is more to Tim’s story, but the creative team of Teen Titans does a wonderful job showcasing the leader, mentor, and friend Tim was. It also teases an intriguing dynamic with the appearance of Damian and his potential interactions with the Titans from here on.
If readers felt Teen Titans #24 had the tone and gravitas of finality – they aren’t wrong. Those dynamics teased in the final panels will have to play out in a different book, as #24 is the final issue of the Teen Titans (2016) title. This last issue is a fitting end for the team – with the potential for rebirth, but its future left in suspense. Power Girl’s <klik> of the light switch was an appropriate and poignant panel that delicately captured the moment for this iteration of the Teen Titans.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment: