Review: TEEN TITANS ACADEMY #11
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tim Sheridan
Colours: Alex Sinclair, Jeremiah Skipper, Matt Herms
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Teen Titans Academy #11: Dane, a.k.a. Nevermore, came to the academy to become a hero, but circumstance and fate are leading him down a much darker path. To understand their future, the Titans must look into the complicated past of their most mysterious student-and unearth truths that may leave them with an impossible choice.
In Teen Titans Academy #11, Tim Sheridan brings together a number of story threads into a literally explosive climax. The Red X, Shazam, and Nevermore stories collide, bringing us some revelations, conclusions, and some surprises.
Sheridan’s story has been hinting that Dane, a.k.a. Nevermore, will be the cause of the bleak future we saw for the Titans in Future State: Teen Titans. The story has implied that the Titans had plans to kill Dane to prevent this timeline. I honestly can’t buy that this possibility was ever seriously considered by the Titans.
However, a flashback shows us that Red X’s predecessor has convinced him that the Titans intend to kill Nevermore. This goes a long way towards explaining why Red X has been acting against the elder Titans team. And in this issue, we see Red X fighting the Titans to protect Dane from them.
However, we find that the Titans have enacted a plan to avert that disastrous future without having to sacrifice Dane. And this plan involves calling on the help of a number of some important guest stars. Wally West returns to help out his old team, as well as Shazam and the young Black Adam from the future, not to mention the rest of the Shazam family.
During the conflict, the Rock of Eternity is retrieved from Hell. But this is at the cost of the Titans Tower, which is destroyed by the massive amount of energy unleashed in the battle.
I’m glad to see that the Titans managed to find a way to avert the Future State timeline without requiring the sacrifice of one of their students. Instead, Billy offers Dane sanctuary at the Rock of Eternity. Dane fully expects to be killed by the Titans, and seems somewhat surprised by this show of mercy. Perhaps this will have an influence on him, and he will veer away from his demonic destiny.
But have they really avoided the Future State timeline? This story’s conclusion gives some room for optimism. But since we don’t know the exact sequence of events leading to that future, can we be sure they aren’t still headed towards it.
My favourite part of this issue is the reference to Billy’s original heroic name. When Dan agrees to join Billy and Black Adam at the Rock of Eternity, he asks how they get there. Billy tells him, “That’s the easy part. Just say my name”. And Dane calls out “CAPTAIN M–“, but Billy interrupts, “–No. The other one”.
The artwork is also incredibly well done in this issue. There are some incredibly epic illustrations in this issue, such as the explosion of Titans Tower or the emergence of the Rock of Eternity. But some of the more subtle details are just as important. The empathetic look Billy gives Dane at the beginning of their heart-to-heart conversation conveys Billy’s emotions much better than words ever could.
The cover of Teen Titans Academy #11. Despite it declaring, “Red X Revealed!”, we do not actually learn the character’s true identity. While the issue does reveal much about the motivations of Red X, we don’t see who is beneath the mask. However, it appears that that revelation is imminent. I don’t think that Sheridan can keep avoiding it for much longer. I suspect that we will find this out next issue in the aftermath of this issue’s conflict.
Teen Titans Academy #11 provides an exciting climax to the Sheridan’s story arc. I look forward to seeing next issue’s denouement. And I eagerly anticipate seeing what Sheridan has planned for the Academy’s second year.