Review: TEEN TITANS ACADEMY #14
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tim Sheridan
Artist: Tom Derenick
Colours: Peter Pantazis
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Teen Titans Academy #14: It’s a fresh start for the students and staff of the newly-rechristened “Titans Academy”! As classes resume, two faculty members navigate the awkwardness of a new relationship-and one student, on a dangerous training mission, must finally face the mysterious past that’s haunted him all his life…
Teen Titans Academy #14 is the penultimate issue of Tim Sheridan’s title, which is ending next month with issue #15. While we don’t know why DC cancelled the book, I am guessing that it may have something to do with this summer’s Dark Crisis event. I expect that the original Titans are going to figure prominently in the event. And they may well be seeing major changes in their status quos. Perhaps some of them might be members of the next incarnation of the Justice League.
I also get the feeling that Sheridan found out about the cancellation rather abruptly, and is trying to wrap up dangling storylines. Or at least leave them at a place where it will be easier for him or another writer to follow up on them later.
One of these plotlines is the merging of Changeling and Cyborg into a single body, which is revealed this issue. This was first hinted at in Future State: Teen Titans. While it appears that the Future State timeline has been averted elsewhere in the DC titles, a lot of events in this title seem to be tending towards that future.
Personally, I have mixed feelings about this development. It’s a fascinating idea, and Sheridan’s doing a great job of exploring the emotional toll it’s taking on both to adjust to this development. However, with the title ending so abruptly, I fear that Sheridan won’t get time to fully develop this storyline.
Also, while it makes an interesting story, I don’t really want to see this as a permanent change for the characters. But if they’re still in this state when the title ends, how long will they remain in this merged state before they are restored to their separate selves. If neither appear in whatever Titans title comes after Dark Crisis, they might be stuck like this for quite a while.
We also see Stitch and some of the Freshman class set off on an unauthorized mission to help Nevermore, Shazam, and the teenage Black Adam. Instead of arriving at the Rock of Eternity, however, they meet up with Dane and Adam on Apokolips. I wonder if this is going to lead to a final wrap-up of the storyline that has kept Billy and the others in Hell. And also, what impact will this have on the upcoming miniseries featuring Mary Marvel – or is that Mary Shazam?
Fittingly, this penultimate issue opens with a graduation. Upperclassmen Kid Flash, Roundhouse, and Red Arrow graduate from the Academy. I wonder what that means for the characters. Do they now join the faculty? Do they go off on their own, or are they still part of a Titans team? I guess a lot of that will be determined after the fallout from Dark Crisis is settled and we know what the new status quo for the Titans and the Academy is revealed.
It’s a minor quibble, but the solicitation refers to the Academy as the “newly rechristened Titans Academy”. However, during the graduation ceremony, Starfire declares the name to still be “the Roy Harper Titans Academy”. So, it seems that Sheridan had a change of mind before completing the story.
But I don’t really mind that the school’s name hasn’t changed. It does lead to an interesting exchange as Roy expresses his surprise at the name not having changed. Donna answers, “I like it. And our lawyers say you’re still legally dead”. Roy’s response is just to say, “only on the inside”. This kind of banter shows the friendship and love that exists between the original Titans. And it shows that Sheridan understands this crucial element of any Titans title.
With only one issue to go, I wonder if Sheridan will be able to satisfactorily conclude his overarching storyline. It’s almost certain that some plotlines will be left hanging. So, I hope that Sheridan will be able to continue his story in some form post-Dark Crisis. But Teen Titans Academy #14 did hold some interesting developments and set up next issue’s finale to be an exciting conclusion to the series.