“Teen Titans” #18 presents the middle chapter of the series’ “Who is Wonder Girl?” story arc, and Greg Pak, Ian Churchill and Tom Denerick pull together past storylines to finally present everything in a cohesive manner. While this chapter is very much a transition from last month’s cliffhanger — which separated the team and pit Wonder Woman against Cassandra — to next month’s chapter where everyone works together, there’s no denying it’s a little too exposition heavy.
Pak takes plot points from both “Wonder Woman” and past issues of “Teen Titans” to create “Who is Wonder Girl?”, in which he reminds us that Lennox is Wonder Girl’s father and that Lennox died when Cassandra released the First Born. From that, everything comes together as Cassandra tries to make amends for Lennox even as Wonder Girl finally understands her heritage and that she has some rather divine aunts (among others in the extended family). Pak does a good job of pulling together all of the information we’ve seen up until now; even little plot points, like Wonder Girl’s armor being demonic in nature, are referenced. After a slightly aimless and disjointed recent run (with both creators and characters arriving and departing with little to no warning), this feels like a moment of stability.
At the same time, though, not a lot actually happens in “Teen Titans” #18, aside from information being dished out to characters and readers alike. Pak is gearing up for the conclusion of the storyline, but not even the big confrontation at the end of the issue is that exciting. If anything, it’s a little anticlimactic, even as it’s also nice to see Pak remembering what Wonder Woman’s lasso is for; more often than not these days, its truth-revealing nature seems to be set to one side. In the end, it’s not a bad script, but it’s also something that could use a bit more punch to the proceedings.
Churchill and Denerick share the pencils this month, and — while it feels like Denerick’s a go-to person for fill-ins these days — he’s still a good choice in terms of meshing styles. Both artists draw the characters in a clean, rounded manner, although Denerick’s faces seem a little flatter than Churchill’s. It’s nice that both artists manage to make everyone look heroic here; there’s no doubt this is an imposing Wonder Woman and little elements — like the way Bunker’s bricks seem confining as they surround Cassandra — are solid. Wonder Girl’s armor in full spike mode looks a bit ungainly, but — considering the design was inherited — I’m more than willing to cut a pass on that. All in all, no big complaints.
Pak’s stay on “Teen Titans” is temporary, and that’s too bad. While this particular chapter isn’t as strong as the previous one, it shows a certain knowledge of the Titans and how they tick. Hopefully, this series can gain some stability with the new creators coming on board as part of “Rebirth”; this storyline certainly gives the impression that someone higher up wants “Teen Titans” to be a little more streamlined, and it’s certainly moving in that direction. That gives one hope, if nothing else.