THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Scott Lobdell’s often maligned Teen Titans run can, from time to time, produce something interesting. Kid Flash was frequently the focus of these interesting developments, referencing his past as some kind of intergalactic super-criminal from the future, known as Bar Torr. It’s been a long time coming, and finally, issue #25 finally confronts Kid Flash’s past head on.
While Kid Flash’s guilt of being Bar Torr is evident, Lobdell doesn’t touch on the specifics of Torr’s apparent crimes. This actually allows Lobdell to give us context clues and show little glimpses of the evil inside Kid Flash. Writing around the bush, so to speak, works in this issue’s favor, building a lot of suspense, and making the reader interested in what Torr’s crimes could be to deserve this much hate.
While the conflict only just begins this issue, the Titans are unaware that the Superboy they carry with them is actually John Lane Kent, the monstrous son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane from the future. Mix this with a Kid Flash who can’t seem to control himself and Raven (who is obviously a traitor) and we have a set-up for some engaging conflict to come.
Rather than running from their problems, the Titans decide to see Kid Flash’s trial to the end. This is far different from the shallow writing earlier in the series when the Titans would simply ignore their interesting problems and we wouldn’t see anything bubble to the surface for many issues.
Tyler Kirkham’s pencils this issue really works for the Teen Titans, especially with the darker tone of this story. Characters exude emotion and Kirkham’s use of motion help the action tremendously. It’s always nice to have a new artist give a great first performance, and it seems as if Kirkham’s work can only help this ailing comic run.
Some of the characters come off as a little too one-dimensional. Rarely, in any issue, do we get characterization of Solstice past her loving Kid Flash, nor do we see any semblance of conflict within Raven, who right now seems a boring, purely evil villain. Teen Titans can move a little fast, not giving characters enough space to breathe, or enough space to let a moment land, which hurts development in the characters who aren’t Red Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, or Superboy.
Unfortunately, even with all of the suspense, issue #25 is still just another middle issue. We don’t see Torr’s crimes, we don’t see the inevitable battle between Superboy and the team, and Raven is simply confused as to why her daddy isn’t in the future. A lot of this issue can be summarized as “please buy our next issue.”
Surprisingly, this issue feels like an episode of Justice League, and that’s a good thing. The issue has some dark themes, but it also is pretty fun along the way. We see some conflict within the team, even within Red Robin himself, and the set-up this issue is leading towards what could be a great story arc. The team still doesn’t feel fleshed out however, and these paper-thin characters drag this issue into mediocre territory.