RETRO REVIEW: Titans #23

WRITER: Eddie Berganza
ARTIST(s): Scott Clark, Ardian Syaf, Dave Beaty, Vicente Cifuentes
LETTERER: Travis Lanham
COVER ARTIST(s): Angel Unzueta
RELEASE DATE: March 2010

After I sent off my Y: The Last Man review last week, I wanted to take it up a notch. Y may be my favorite series overall (or maybe Saga, I’m continually torn there), but, other than the last issue, there isn’t any specific issue that I consider my favorite. So, I decided I wanted to take the time today to review my all-time favorite single issue. Oh, and if you want to have some fun, ask comic fans what their favorite single issue is, as their responses may surprise you.

Titans #23 is a masterpiece issue. For some context, it takes place directly after the events of Cry For Justice, which you may know as the DC story from 2009/2010 that basically just shit all over Roy Harper. In case you don’t know who Roy Harper is, he’s Green Arrow’s former sidekick Speedy (later known as Arsenal/Red Arrow), and he’s my favorite DC character for a number of reasons that could make up their own post. Basically, CfJ ends with Roy’s arm cut off by the villain Prometheus, and his daughter Lian, arguably the only thing keeping him sober and sane, blown up along with the destruction of Star City. Now, this issue focuses on three other original Titans, Dick Grayson (Robin, currently Batman), Donna Troy (Wonder Girl, currently Troia), and Wally West (Kid Flash, currently the Flash), who receive word from Cyborg that Roy is doing badly and they should really go support him. On the way, they reminisce on the early days of the Teen Titans in the aptly-named “Silver Age,” and how badly most of them treated Roy, when all he ever wanted in the Titans was a family. It’s truly heartbreaking, and I have no shame in admitting that it’s the only comic to ever bring tears to my eyes (by the time the last few pages hit, I was already watery-eyed, but those last couple killed me). Eddie Berganza writes amazing dialogue and beautiful flashbacks, with only one exchange, between Dick and Donna, being a bit strange to read. But it’s so minimal, and the rest of the issue so good, that I proudly give his writing a perfect score.

In art, the book doesn’t fail either. The Titans have never looked so good, and the characters never as distinct and beautiful. The flashbacks are extremely easy to detect, and the different ages presented are clear. The cover is a perfect denomination of the evolution of these characters, from teenage sidekicks to mournful adults, and the color scheme is perfect for the varying levels of emotion displayed.

If you’re a Roy Harper fan like me, you know how hard the 2009-2011 era was to read, because of how poorly he was treated. Between Cry For JusticeThe Rise of Arsenal, and the mess that was Titans after this issue, then you know that once more Roy was stuck on DC’s whipping line and beaten as a character. But, I truly urge all Teen Titans fans, Roy Harper fans, hell, even DC fans, to read this issue. You may come out of it liking Wally West a little bit less, but I promise, there’s a reason it’s the only floppy I keep in my personal library. This comic, for me, is an example of why I’ll always love DC. Sure, there are times when the stories became trite and, frankly, bad (cough, the 90s), but the power of legacy and the effect of time is never as apparent as seeing three best friends cry over their other friend, who has just had his entire life taken away from him.


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