Titans (vol.3) #20 (2018)

Titans (vol.3) #20 (April, 2018)
“Titans Apart, Part One”
Writer – Dan Abnett
Penciller – Paul Pelletier
Inker – Andrew Hennessy
Colorist – Adriano Lucas
Letterer – Carlos M. Mangual
Assistant Editor – Dave Wielgosz
Editor – Alex Antone
Group Editor – Brian Cunningham
Cover Price: $3.99

For folks who might not know… or care, I review the most recent volume of Teen Titans (that’s volume six) over at Weird Science DC Comics… and lemme tell ya, folks… it’s a boring book.  I can’t say that it’s objectively “bad”, but… nothing happens!

This week, I reviewed the final issue of the volume (#19… on shelves today), and was baffled at how little forward momentum had occurred over the past 1-2 years in the title.  Every issue/arc was predicated on a Titan either joining… or quitting… or rejoining… or being given the boot!  Other than that… nothing happens!

So… it might go without saying (though, I’ll say it anyway)… I’m a little gun-shy on the post-Rebirth Titans books.  And so, the sister title, Titans, has just been stacking up in my “maybe I ought to get around and read this” pile.  So… let’s do it!

We open with Roy Harper, all by his lonesome trying to take on some Intergang Enforcers.  It looks as though he’s about to bite it, when his old friend… older lover, Cheshire arrives on the scene to bail his poor butt out of trouble.  Together they’re able to take down the baddies, and make a clean-ish getaway.

We follow them to a (presumably) nearby Noodle Shop, where they do a little catching up.  I’m going to guess that Lian Harper (that’s Roy and Cheshire’s daughter) was never a “thing” post-Flashpoint/Rebirth… otherwise, I’m pretty sure she’d at least get a passing mention.  Roy and Cheshire were definitely lovers though.  He fills her in on the Titans dissolution… and his would-be plans for the future.  Cheshire suggests they work together on taking down the Intergang Cartels… but questions Roy’s ability not to fall back into “the pit” of using, if he’s so close to drugs.

Later, Roy checks in with Donna… who is being held on the Justice League Satellite due to her having… I wanna say, a split-personality gimmick going on?  She turns into “Troia”, which to me is that gaudily-dressed short-haired version of herself… but apparently that’s something altogether different.  He tells her that he’s going to go radio-silent for awhile… which causes her a fair amount of distress.  Wonder Woman pops in with a tray-full of grub… and they have a strange and sorta contentious chat.

We shift over to Keystone City where Dick Grayson is helping Wally West (the real one) move into his new digs.  They talk about how their lives will be moving in different directions now that the Justice League put the kibosh on their collective.  I didn’t know the Justice League had like full-on legislative power, but I guess they do!  They even question whether or not they should be hanging out… out of costume!  What kind of madness is this?  Not a good look for the League.

We rejoin Roy and Cheshire who are infiltrating an Intergang Cartel.  The baddies are synthesizing the drug “Bliss” off of an original compound.  Intergang goes down easily… and the goods are gotten.

We follow Roy and Cheshire back to his place… where she persuades him into sleeping with her.  In fairness, Roy doesn’t take all that much in the way of prodding in order to head to the bedroom.

We shift ahead a bit, to find a groggy… maybe stoned… Roy stumble out of his (now empty) bed.  He wonders if he “gave in” and used.  In the living room, he sees that the “Bliss” sample (along with Cheshire) is gone.

We wrap up with Cheshire giving the goods to Monsieur Mallah and the Brain… who thankfully weren’t in bed themselves!

I tell ya what… after reading “Nothing Happening” Teen Titans, this book is like a breath of fresh air!  The story may not be exactly what I’m looking for, but… I can’t argue that there is, in actuality, a story here!

From the moment I saw this cover in the solicitations, I kinda had that knot in my stomach.  I figured “well, they gave it a try… but it didn’t quite work out”.  This was (outside of the Superman books) what I wanted most out of Rebirth.  I wanted the Titans… my Titans… back.  If you flip through the archives here, I gave an impassioned plea when I reviewed Titans (vol.3) #5… it was probably the most boring book I’d read in years… and I was able to synopsize the entire issue in less than five minutes.  I listed my complaints and observations… and wrote that, even five months in, I feared for this book’s longevity.

And here we are.  I can’t say it’s all this book’s fault, however.  DC does feel like it’s in a bit of an upheaval at the moment.  We’ve had crazy delays on things like Dark Knights: Metal… and currently with Doomsday Clock.  The Justice League books are up in the air… everyone needs to stop and gawk at the incoming Bendis… and the Titans, well… they’re just collateral damage.

Luckily for us, what we get here isn’t half bad.

Like I said above… I’m not sure if Lian Harper was ever a thing that happened.  I mean, if she did (and if Justice League: Cry for Justice happened)… she’s long dead at this point (Convergence: Titans notwithstanding), but still… I feel like she’d warrant a mention.  I think we can guess that she never born in this timeline.

Sticking with Cheshire… I really dig how calculated she is here.  Like every line she spoke was planned out.  Expressing interest in Roy’s life by asking where the Titans were.  On the surface it looks like she’s genuinely concerned… but in reality, she’s just trying to see how easy a “mark” Roy’s going to be.

I think my only real “complaint” is, I’m left unsure as to whether or not Roy relapsed.  It’s sort of implied… but, isn’t made crystal clear.  It might just be Cheshire messing with his head.  I guess the answer might be in the next issue.

The art comes from one of my favorites, Paul Pelletier.  Just love this guy’s work!  He’s always been one of those artists that I try and follow when he takes on new gigs… and I’m definitely jazzed to see him here.

Overall… this is a promising start to the arc that will wrap up this volume.  I try and keep away from solicits (because they might as well be called “spoilers for what’s going to happen in three months’ time)… so, I couldn’t say what (if anything) the future holds for this property.  I can say, however, that this one is worth a read.

Lenticular Whoziwhatsit:

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