Things haven’t gone so smoothly for the Teen Titans these last few months. First, Robin kicked Kid Flash off the team when he discovered Wally West was secretly working alongside the hitman Deathstroke. Then there was the whole business with the Batman Who Laugh’s evil horde from the Dark Multiverse invading Gotham and possessing the Teen Titans in the “Gotham Resistance” tie-ins for Dark Nights: Metal.
The team looks to improve its fortunes in Teen Titans #13, mainly by picking up the unresolved story thread involving Kid Flash. Robin may have been the one to form the Teen Titans and fire Wally West, but it doesn’t mean the rest of the team agreed with his choice. But while Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy and Aqualad travel to Central City to bring Kid Flash back into the fold, Robin goes on a recruiting visit to Star City to offer Emiko Queen — the Red Arrow – membership to the Teen Titans.
Damian has done his homework on Emiko — on the recommendation of Green Arrow, who Robin got to know during their Gotham Resistance adventure — and feels she’d be a perfect addition to his team. In fact, you could say the two young heroes almost mirror one another when you factor in their family backgrounds and upbringings.
A large portion of comic book fans are already familiar with Damian’s origin story: He’s the son of Batman and Talia al Ghul, which also makes Damian the grandson of Batman villain Ra’s al Ghul. He was kept hidden from Batman and trained by the League of Assassins until Talia basically dropped Damian off on Batman’s doorstep. Batman and Damian had a few rough patches in the beginning, trying to make up for lost time while dealing with a fundamental difference in philosophies; the League of Assassins trained Damian to kill, which didn’t mix well with Batman’s “no kill” policy.
Damian would go on to adopt the mantle of Robin and fight side-by-side with his father, where they eventually grew closer. Since then, the new Boy Wonder’s rough exterior has slowly dissipated to reveal a softer, caring side — though he’ll never be mistaken for an angel.
In many ways, Emiko had the same childhood as Damian. She’s the daughter of Robert Queen (Green Arrow’s father) and the ninja Shado. Just like with Batman, Robert had no idea Emiko existed, which lead to her being raised by the Green Arrow nemesis Komodo. This is why Emiko initially showed allegiance to Komodo until she learned the truth behind her parentage. Now, Emiko fights on the side of good with her half-brother and the rest of Team Arrow under the codename Red Arrow.
Emiko may have chosen the guise of Red Arrow, but it hasn’t granted her the respect of being called that by her big brother. Teen Titans #13 has Team Arrow on a stakeout to stop Onomatopoeia from detonating a ferry carrying a truck full of explosives. While Emiko boards the ship and is able to apprehend the villain, the clock’s still ticking on those explosives. So Emiko jumps behind the wheel and drives the truck into the ocean, knocking herself out in the process. Thankfully, Damian and his pet bat Goliath swoop in for the save.
This is when Damian delivers his best sales pitch for why he wants Emiko to join the Teen Titans, reciting many of their shared commonalities. Aside from having evil parents, they both have superior intellects and are thus far more powerful than most meta-humans. They didn’t let their upbringings define them; in the end, Damian and Emiko choose good over evil.
Damian talks a good game, but it’s hard to prop up a team that’s touted as “tomorrow’s Justice League” when you don’t bring said team with you on a recruiting visit. Emiko’s smart, and she points this out to Damian when she rejects his offer. In her eyes, why should she join the “junior varsity” when she’s already a member of Team Arrow beside adults in Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Arsenal? Emiko summarizes her feelings bluntly when she tells Damian, “And it’s not me – it’s definitely you.”
Damian doesn’t get a chance at a rebuttal, however, because Onomatopoeia got away. His parting gift was a message that revealed he didn’t want to blow up the ferry; his real objective was to drown Star City in a massive tidal wave. Our two young heroes (and Goliath) are left to figure out a way to stop the wall of water before it makes landfall in the next issue, which should open an opportunity for them to see how well they work together. The result has the possibility of inching Emiko ever closer to fully joining the Teen Titans.
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