Richard Gratton's Fantastic Reads 4 U

Teen Titans #5
DC Comics
Release Date: 02/22/2017

Teen Titans is one of DC's titles that gets better with each successive issue. Writer, Ben Percy has done a great job with this title's opening 5-part story arc. Khoi Pham's art is fun, if occasionally cartoony, but somehow appropriate for the youth of the characters. Though the opening installments of this title (including the Rebirth issue) were both predictable and somewhat hard to buy into, Percy has found depth in several characters, and that is compelling enough to draw me back for more.

Teen Titans #5 is a solid comic that wraps up the "Damian Knows Best" story arc and solidifies the team under the leadership of Damian Wayne. What is most impressive about this opening arc is the manner in which Percy is able to take us from the Rebirth issue, where 13 year-old Robin kidnaps each of the soon-to-be Teen Titans (which really stretches our suspension of disbelief), to issue #5 where Robin's assembled Teen Titans fully support Damian's leadership and rescue him from the grip of the Demon's Fist and Ra's al Ghul. As unbelievable as it seems, Percy has taken the team from being kidnapped to standing firm behind Damian's leadership of the group. What makes this dynamic especially interesting is the impact of Damian's flaws and weaknesses and how the rest of the team works at being patient with him and seems willing to help him grow into the young man and leader they believe he can be.

I'll admit I was skeptical at the start of this series, but not anymore. The depth of character, the humor, and the adolescent angst all contribute to a well-crafted story. The guest appearance of the well-meaning, oft-absent father, Batman doesn't hurt any either.

Khoi Pham's work on Teen Titans is fun so far, somewhat cartoony at times, but fun nonetheless. Pham's art has a young feel to it, making the characters appear a bit adolescent which is just as it should be considering Damian's age and that of the rest of the team. My only complaint artistically is the look of the Demon's Fist: As a group, they are flat and unremarkable, nothing about them stands out visually. Perhaps Percy and Pham share the blame for this. I wish Percy had fleshed out these characters a bit more so we could get a better sense of who they are.

My only real complaint about the story itself is the lack of vicious, evil from Ra's al Ghul. I realize it wouldn't be relevant to the story or to the purpose of the story, but Ra's al Ghul comes across as more of a pushover than he should be in this story. In no way does this detract from the story itself, I just think the same ends could have been achieved with any other cerebral villain; and if anything, this story takes away the credibility Ra's has as a big-time villain.

Writer Ben Percy's run on Teen Titans gets better with each issue. He has set up a team of heroes who already seem like a quirky family with defined characters whose personalities, strengths and weaknesses draw us in and make us want to know more about each one and what will happen next. Teen Titans is a book I look forward to each month, a solid read definitely worth checking out.

Scale of Awesomeness: 7 out of 10