The Terminus Agenda, a crossover betweenTeen Titans and Deathstroke, continues for its third part in Teen Titans #29. Written by Adam Glass and illustrated by Bernard Chang, the issue shows the team divided as the revelation in Deathstroke #42 rocks the ensemble's core trio to its foundations. Meanwhile, the usual teenage drama continues to escalate between the comic book series' main cast of characters.
The previous chapter ended with Kid Flash having learned that Robin and Red Arrow are imprisoning the team's defeated villains in a sub-basement directly below their headquarters at Mercy Hall. Incensed at the potential security risk and Robin and Arrow taking matters into their own hands rather than consult the rest of the team or turn over the villains to the proper authorities, Kid Flash confronts his teammates over their clandestine decision and how it may affect the group moving forward.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Teen Titans comic without some non-mission related interpersonal drama along the way, and so Glass and Chang reveal secret love interests, the requisite social awkwardness that comes with those teenage years and more as the story arc continues. However, it's when the creative team leans more into the superhero action that this issue excels, both narratively and visually.
Glass is no stranger to writing misfit teams in the DC Universe, having helped relaunch the Suicide Squad in the early days of the New 52 era. Obvious differences in tone and content aside, where Glass' scripting really shines here is when he examines the psychological effects of the team's recent battle with Deathstroke. As with most ensemble titles, there's a lot going on in this issue, but when Glass focuses on the quieter moments when Kid Flash and especially Damian Wayne loses themselves to their own thoughts on what has recently transpired and its lasting mental ramifications, his script truly shines.
Less effective is the more typical teen drama facing the team, which can come off as forced at times, throwing off some of the issue's pacing. A secret crush between teammates is brought right out into the open, though it will likely not pay off until the conclusion of the current crossover. In the interim, team member Roundhouse continues to prove his worth to the group, attempting to break the tension with his sense of humor and hip lingo. A comic relief character has been a vital aspect of the Teen Titans since Beast Boy's arrival, but not only is Roundhouse unfunny to the point of coming off as grating, his dialogue painfully panders to teenage audiences through his constant use of slang. William Wu will almost assuredly get his moment to shine in the climax to the story arc, but here, in this transition issue, he's simply an unwelcome distraction.
Fortunately, Chang's art remains consistently top-notch throughout the issue, with even the more quiet moments drawing readers in. The menace of the various imprisoned villains comes off well, as do the emotional outbursts, reflected in more raw artwork without compromising consistency. When the interactions intensify, from a tense one-on-one conversation with Deathstroke to what starts out as a routine sparring match between the team's two leaders, Chang is more than capable of dialing up the sense of kinetics appropriately, pulling readers even deeper into the story through genuinely captivating sequences.
With only one chapter and an epilogue to go, "The Terminus Agenda" has much to accomplish to live up its promise of deeply impacting the Teen Titans and Deathstroke's futures. That said, while the requisite action sequences certainly deliver, Glass and Chang make a stronger case for the psychological effects of the story much more than its interpersonal ones. A solid chapter of the crossover that really works when it focuses on the bigger picture, the issue ends with one hell of a cliffhanger, setting both the team and story up for a slam-bang finale and a potential betrayal from within.
Teen Titans #29 is written by Adam Glass and illustrated by Bernard Chang. It is on sale now from DC Comics.