As night falls over the farm, a rooster-shaped weathervane creaks atop a barn. The dissonant sound of grating metal crescendos to a full-blown screech as intense winds slam the doors shut. I mean, it has to be the wind, right? Armed only with pitchforks, their superpowers, and an array of Kevin McCallister-approved booby-traps, the team has found some uneasy respite amidst the bales of hay. Unfortunately, if there is the one thing their last encounter taught them, it’s that no bastich eludes Lobo for long. The Main Man cometh, and he has set his sights on the Teen Titans.
“Now this is my kinda party.”
As if channeling every epic heavy metal concert, Teen Titans #32 is a mosh-pit filled with Glass’ expert exploration of team dynamics, excellent characterization, and violence. Although the Teen Titans serve as this issue’s heart and soul, it is Lobo’s humor that makes this issue shine. All of these elements are brought to life by Bernard Chang’s excellent artwork with Marcel Maiolo’s colors.
One of the biggest concerns that I had going into this storyline was that all of the drama surrounding Robin’s secret prison would be swept under the rug. Thankfully, Adam Glass has done an excellent job of weaving the tension plaguing our team into the title’s overarching narrative. As a result, it is clear that the events of “The Terminus Agenda” will not be forgotten nor cleaned up neatly. The unresolved tension between these characters has allowed Glass to craft some of the issue’s best moments.
In particular, the sequence involving Red Arrow and Crush truly stands out. Not only does this moment show where these allies stand after their big blowout, but it also serves as an excellent emotional tether for the reader. Approaching her teammate from across a field, Red Arrow lets Crush know that her father is on the way. After learning of the farm’s significance, Crush bravely declares that she isn’t going to let Lobo destroy it. Thankfully, Red Arrow’s direct approach cuts through Crush’s façade when she says, “Don’t act like you’re doing this for me, Crush. I get it. If you trust people, you can get hurt. But you have a lot of options, and we’re not going anywhere.” Through appealing to a feeling we have all experienced, that if we trust others, we could get hurt, Glass has made this conflict more relevant for the reader. Additionally, Emiko’s reassurance that our friends will always be by our side is comforting for those of us who have experienced this emotion.
Additionally, Robin and Djinn’s exchange during their preparation for Lobo’s arrival illustrates the awkward tension between these two characters. Although Robin apologizes for his deceit, Djinn quickly dismisses his attempt at reconciliation. Their discussion on what the team should do with Lobo is especially compelling given the events of “The Terminus Agenda.” Robin states that although he may have agreed with killing Lobo at one point in his life, he doesn’t agree with this tactic now. Nor does he think that Djinn wants to follow through with it.
These character interactions do an excellent job of propelling the narrative forward without providing a clean resolution for the team. Although the characters are moving toward reconciliation, the issues that these teens face are complex. Providing a clear-cut resolution to these complex issues would only cheapen the reading experience.
“What the frag is this thing!?”
By the end of this issue, it is obvious that Adam Glass loves writing Lobo. This is evident through the humor that he employs when working with the Main Man. Whether it’s the comedic delivery of a one-liner or the inventive methods Lobo uses to attack the team, every moment will leave you smiling.
One of my favorite parts of the issue is how Adam Glass and Bernard Chang shift this issue tonally from quiet reflection to 1980’s horror film. Through transforming Lobo into this boogeyman on the hunt for the Teen Titans, Glass, Chang, and Maiolo are able to craft a sequence within the barn that is both hilarious and horrifying. The moment where Lobo reaches out of the ground to grab onto Crush is straight out of horror movie, and Chang’s panels with Maiolo’s colors expertly convey the tension in these moments. Chang’s artwork shines during sequences of brutality as Lobo bestows another ass-whipping upon the team. Additionally, Chang’s work throughout the entire issue is expertly done as his work wonderfully conveys the characters’ emotions during the quieter moments.
It is important to note that although Lobo instills this sense of humor within the issue, Glass never misses an opportunity to advance Crush’s storyline and the overarching narrative. It is in the midst of the battle that we find out that Obelus was not a gift from dear, old dad, but rather Crush’s biological mother. The mystery surrounding her mother continues to be engaging an element of this series.
Unfortunately, the only gripe that I have with this issue comes from one of Djinn’s most badass and terrifying moments. Once the team discovers that they can’t kill Lobo, Djinn uses her powers to “change him.” For a cost, Lobo is no longer a threat. This moment does an excellent job of illustrating the terrifying power that Djinn wields, and the potential conflict that could arise from her ability to change people. However, Lobo’s change nor the cost is ever explained. Although I have learned from the past few issues that Glass will follow through on these statements, I can’t help but feel this could have benefited from more explanation.
Ultimately, Teen Titans #32 is an entertaining mosh-pit filled with expert exploration of new team dynamics, excellent characterization, and, perhaps most importantly, violence. Adam Glass’ use of humor with Lobo allows this issue to shine as every moment with the Main Man truly will leave you smiling. It will be interesting to see how Lobo has changed in the next issue as well as what this will cost the team.