REVIEW: ‘Teen Titans Academy,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Teen Titans Academy #4 

In addition to the question of “Who is Red X?”, who are the members of the Bat-Pack at Teen Titans Academy? How did Chupacabra get his powers and appearance? This issue explores all that and more in a series of flashbacks explaining the origins of these burgeoning heroes and how they came to the nascent New York City-based academy. Teen Titans Academy #5 is written by Tim Sheridan, with art by Steve Lieber, colors by Dave Stewart, letters by Rob Leigh, and cover by Rafa Sandoval and Alejandro Sanchez.

Sheridan continues to do a good job of making the new characters he and Sandoval created full of vibrancy. The Bat-Pack, composed of Diego (Chupacabra), Merissa (Bratgirl), and Lucas (Megabat), are three kids from Gotham who have been inspired by Batman and his allies to solve mysteries, and we get to see how they become metas and part of Teen Titans Academy. They continue to have a great rapport among themselves and others, and will likely continue to charm readers. Sheridan has clearly put a lot of thought into their dynamics, and it shows on the page.

We see Diego’s transformation into Chupacabra, a name taken from the mythical Latin American creature, who is said to suck people’s blood in the same way a vampire does. While this is interesting to read,  I don’t think we had enough time spent on this aspect of the storyline. Diego is simply very eager to become a metahuman, even as it completely changes his appearance, including turning his brown skin to chalk white. I know it’s a part of his meta transformation, but the optics could have been better in the handling of this character of color. 

I couldn’t help but miss the other students of Teen Titans Academy. The Bat-Pack is overall great, but I hope that the series follows up with characters like Alinta, Summer Zahid, and others. While I understand why the Bat-Pack is relevant for the Red-X plotline, it still feels strange that there is this much focus on them, especially as we know from Issue #3 that Alinta has a connection to this storyline as well, and the series has left that to the side, at least for now. Overall, I think it’s been an issue with pacing for the overall series, and I hope that we get back to the other students soon.

Lieber’s art remains great in this issue. There’s an innocent quality to the style that reflects the issue’s main characters’ perspectives as they get indoctrinated into metahuman/superhero life. Stewart goes for a minimalist range of colors here to great effect, especially in his use of shading across the different panels. Overall, the comic is a visual treat.

Leigh’s lettering is solid, immersing readers as he uses different fonts and styles. The speech bubbles that must convey a great load of information don’t feel intrusive and keep you clearly on the narrative.

Teen Titans Academy #5 is an overall good issue that continues the exciting journey of the inaugural student body of the academy but suffers from stifling the exciting narrative we’ve had so far. While flashback series can be good and getting to know more about the Bat-Pack is great, this, unfortunately, felt somewhat disconnected from the main beats of the story we’re invested in. But the Bat-Pack may simply need more time to grow. The art and lettering complement Sheridan’s great writing, and it still remains a generally fun issue nonetheless.

Teen Titans Academy #5  is available now wherever comics are sold.


'Teen Titans Academy,' Issue #5
3.5

TL;DR

Teen Titans Academy #5 is an overall good issue that continues the exciting journey of the inaugural student body of the academy but suffers from stifling the exciting narrative we’ve had so far. While flashback series can be good and getting to know more about the Bat-Pack is great, this, unfortunately, felt somewhat disconnected from the main beats of the story we’re invested in. But the Bat-Pack may simply need more time to grow. The art and lettering complement Sheridan’s great writing, and it still remains a generally fun issue nonetheless.