Review: TEEN TITANS ACADEMY #5
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tim Sheridan
Artist: Steve Lieber
Colours: Dave Stewart
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Teen Titans Academy #5: After launching their own investigation into the identity of Red X, Gotham City expatriates and new Titans Academy students Bratgirl, Chupacabra, and Megabat come face to face with the mysterious figure in the flesh. With the tables turned, this Bat Pack of kids must reveal their own secret origins to their masked captor!
Teen Titans Academy #5 features the origin story of the trio of students known as the Bat Pack. We learn how the three came together and how they ended up as students at the academy. We also learn the story behind Chupacabra’s unique appearance.
I like that Sheridan is taking an issue to fill us in on their backstory. There are a lot of interesting characters that have been introduced to in this series, and we know very little about a lot of them at this early stage. My preference is to get a full origin story for each than for Sheridan to parcel their stories out a piece at a time.
And I appreciate the story that Sheridan has provided for them. Seeing how their bond of friendship form does a lot to convey their loyalty to each other. And it says a lot about the character of Chupacabra especially. I’ll admit that so far in the series, that I wondered why the other two deferred to him as their leader – especially Bratgirl, who is clearly smarter.
But their backstory shows that what looked like arrogance is really down to his eagerness to prove himself as a detective and hero. His confident attitude can sometimes hide that he has a big heart.
It also occurs to me that the Bat-Pack, like some other notable fictional trios, can be seen to fit the Freudian idea of the psyche. Megabat is the emotional id, Brat-girl is the intelligent and logical superego, and Chupacabra is the conscious ego, making the decisions for the group.
Teen Titans Academy #5 also features the unmasking of Red X. Well, sort of… he reveals his true face to the trio, but not to the readers. But the Bat-Pack’s reaction may give us a hint. Diego seems to recognize the face he sees, implying that it’s either someone they have met, or somebody that would be instantly recognizable like a celebrity. Diego clearly seems impressed to find this out.
Red X states that he is revealing his identity to win them over. He is willing to trust his identity with them hoping that they will reciprocate that trust. He also tries to undermine their trust in the Titans faculty. The question is whether this will work or not. Bratgirl wants to tell the faculty immediately, but Diego is hesitant to do so. Which leaves us wondering which way the trio’s loyalties will fall. Or will this create a fracture within them?
The book ends with the school’s end of term celebration. I love how Sheridan is structuring the title around the school year, with the end of term landing about the same time as in the real world. This fits in great with the idea of christening this year’s annual as the 2021 yearbook.
Steve Lieber also did a great job of the artwork. I especially liked how the art conveys the subtle age difference between the kids in the flashback and the current day. It’s a subtle touch that another artist might not have bothered with.
I have no complaints here. I’ll admit that the premise of setting the title in a school run by the original Titans didn’t strike me as promising at first, but Tim Sheridan has managed to take that concept and build a great story from it.
Teen Titans Academy #5 is another fine issue from Tim Sheridan and Steve Lieber. This series has been a delightful surprise and Sheridan has me hooked on it. I can hardly wait to see what he has planned for the Academy’s summer break.