Teen Titans #17
Writer: Greg Pak
Pencils: Ian Churchill
Inks: Norm Rapmund
Colors: Tony Avina
Cover: Ian Churchill, Andrew Dalhouse,
Norm Rapmund, Ethan Van Sciver
Greg Pak takes over writing duties in Teen Titans #17 and moves our heroes further into the mainstream of the DC Universe. The team is traveling across the East Coast, attempting to avoid entanglements with law enforcement. For the Titans, “No unnecessary heroics,” is the name of the game. However, the team is itching for action – especially one, Cassie Sandsmark.
In Teen Titans #17, we also get a nice bio on each of the Titans – something new readers like myself appreciate:
Red Robin – Tim Drake, Team Leader
Tanya Spears – Power Girl, Genius who gets big
Miguel Jose Barragan – Bunker, forms purple constructs with his mind
Rachel Roth – Raven, half-demon sorceress
Garfield Logan – Beast Boy, can transform into any animal
Cassie Sandsmark – Wonder Girl…
But, “Who is Wonder Girl?”
In the New 52, it’s Cassie Sandsmark. A teenager with a complicated past, Cassie is finding herself in a world that feels foreign. Her godlike abilities are a mixed bad – part blessing; part curse – raising more questions than answers. While she deals with feelings considered a normal part of adolescence, Cassie is anything but normal.
Teen Titans #17 is a Cassie-centric issue, as her origins are explored more fully. “Who is Wonder Girl?” is a recurring thematic trend for the character, Wonder Girl. “Who is Wonder Girl (Donna Troy)?,” represents a recurring them in DCU, first explored by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in 1984 (see New Teen Titans #38, 1984; New Teen Titans #50-54, 1988-89) and pops up every now and again in both story arch and references. So, when we DC fans read, “Who is Wonder Girl?,” it’s a clue to look for new direction from the character in a new generation.
Tim Drake believes Cassie’s powers originated from the theft of an archaeological artifact. As her discontent and past behaviors resurface, Drake is left more cautious and concerned than ever about his teammate. Making this more difficult is romantic tension between the two, Tim and Cassie, which is mentioned in the issue by Miguel (Bunker).
Cassie hears voices throughout Teen Titans #17, compelling her to locate her father. She ends up in an apartment in London, where she and her friends are attacked by hyena-men seemingly out of nowhere. There, Cassie discovers her ancestry may just be other-worldly. She meets her aunt Cassandra, who claims Cassie is a granddaughter of Zeus. Cassie decides to go with Cassandra on a quest to resurrect her father.
Teen Titans #17 includes many locations including: The Adirondack Mountains, Wilmington, DE, Waynesboro, VA, and London, UK. The breadth of the story is big and really sells the team being on the run. However, the rapid switches leave the reader slightly disoriented.
The art in the issue is beautiful. Cassie, in particular, is well-rendered – youth, exuberance, angst, power, and beauty – are juxtaposed nicely. The colors are vibrant and easy on the eye. With the changing scenery, the background art – landscapes, forests, buildings – plays an essential part in the story and are well done; providing a nice palate for the action and emotion, which remains front and center.
Teen Titans #17 ends with the inclusion of one of DC’s Trinity, Wonder Woman.
Wonder Girl and Wonder Woman have long been associated and her inclusion in Teen Titans is telling. Could Diana’s presence bring the Titans into a much larger story than currently thought? Will the team play a bigger role in the DCU? This remains to be seen.
We do not get those answers in Teen Titans #17. This is an issue designed to set the stage for upcoming stories with a new creative direction. It’s well written, keeping the playful banter of the Teen Titans series in place. The pacing of the issue was jerky, based on abrupt location changes, which helps sell the story of a team without a home – but, feels that way to the reader. Cassandra’s appearance and the pitting of her against Wonder Woman – with Wonder Girl in the middle – smacks of difficult decisions ahead for young Cassie.
Teen Titans #17 is a good introduction of Pak’s new direction. I suspect it will only get better from here with new twists and turns awaiting our heroes.