“Damian Knows Best, Part 3”
Writer – Ben Percy
Artist – Khoi Pham
Ben Percy and the creative team offer readers a glimpse into the backstory and intensity of the conflict between Damian and the Dragon’s Fist in Teen Titans #3.
The dispute with the Dragon’s Fist runs deep and is built on years of animosity. In particular, the competition between Damian and Mara is intense. Damian proved the superior warrior, as these cousins fought time and again for the right to lead the League of Assassins. He did not hesitate to rub this fact in the face of his opponent over the years.
As a result, Mara is out for revenge. The Dragon’s Fist caught the Teen Titans off guard, having tracked Kid Flash through a device implanted beneath his skin. Their recent defeat has left them wounded and concerned.
In Teen Titans #3, readers are privy to the self-perception of the newly forming team. Damian believes the team is perceived by the older, more established heroes as, “a bunch of irrelevant kids, playing pretend.” While this may be true for some of the Titans, Starfire has a long and storied history with established characters like Nightwing. This simply does not apply to her. I wonder how long it will take for Starfire and Damian to clash.
As a result of Damian’s confession, the team spills their deepest secrets and reveals their self-doubts. In doing so, they reach a new depth of understanding. Percy reminds readers most of the Titans have dubious relationships: Starfire’s sister is Blackfire, Raven’s father is Trigon, Kid Flash’s father is Reverse Flash, and Beast Boy tragically lost his family. As a result, this development brings the team to a new place of understanding. I suspect this will be a turning point in the development of the new Teen Titans.
The Titans rightly perceive the Dragon’s Fist as full of hatred, but also jealousy. For the Dragon’s Fist, the Titans represent what life could be – a life of freedom and meaning after imprisonment by violence-crazed madmen. In the end, Damian makes a sacrificial decision that will alter the story significantly moving forward.
Like its previous issues, the art of Teen Titans #3 is pleasing. Vibrant colors and intricate shadows are well placed. The issue is evenly paced and the panels add fluidity. In contrast to the first two issues, however, it can’t help but feel muted. The lines are not as sharp and it misses the stylings of previous artists. This is not to demean the art of Teen Titans #3, rather to say the change in style was noticeable.
Teen Titans #3 is a solid book. It moves the story forward by examining the past.