REVIEW: ‘Teen Titans Academy,’ Issue #6

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Teen Titans Academy #6

It’s summer vacation for the students of Teen Titans Academy! Summer Zahid (AKA “Black Ice”), Gorilla Gregg, Stitch, Chupacabra, Tress, and their friends. They go to Beach Pond, New York, where Summer and her family would go during their vacations as she grew up. But not all is at it seems, as the once-friendly townspeople are mysteriously withdrawn and antagonistic. As things start to get even stranger, it’s up to Summer and her friends to uncover the mystery and save the day. Teen Titans Academy #6 is written by Tim Sheridan, with art by Rafa Sandoval, colors by Ulises Arreola, Jordi Tarragona on inks, letters by Rob Leigh, and cover by Rafa Sandoval and Alejandro Sánchez.

Once again, Sheridan does a fantastic job at writing and expanding the characters he and Sandoval have created and set in this series. In particular, he does a wonderful job with the de facto leader of the issue, Summer Zahid (created by Sheridan and Sandoval). She’s bright, optimistic, genuinely kind, a natural leader, and steadfastly determined to do the right thing. She is fundamentally a normal (albeit ice-superpowered) teenager who happens to be a brown hijabi Muslim.

It’s gratifying to see a character like her have fun with her friends while being a superhero, and Sheridan clearly has put great care into writing her. I only hope that future issues of Teen Titans Academy and other DC stories with Muslim and MENASA writers delve further into her ethnic and religious background (specifically with where exactly her family hails from, even though I suspect they’re South Asian). Still, for what is presented so far, Summer is an amazing DC character who hopefully has a bright future of heroism ahead of her.

While there are issues of intolerance brought up in the issue, it has nothing to do with her ethnic or religious background, only for her and her friends being metahumans. Prejudicial analogs have the potential to go south in superhero stories, but when they’re done right, they can be very effective. Sheridan strikes a great and subversive balance here by touching on these underlying issues while showing that something sinister is at play. The involvement of Gorilla Gregg, in particular, is fascinating, with the start of a new storyline for this nephew of his infamous uncle. I’m extremely eager to read the next issue.

The art by Sandoval, Arreola, and Tarragona is superb. All the characters are drawn and colored with rich detail, and Sandoval incorporates great texture into the panels. The action is thrilling, with great displays of everyone’s powers, and a variety of angles that’ll immerse you further in the story. Arreola’s colors and Tarragona’s inks work together to get every character, even if they’re in the background, to stand out, adding to the rich details of the comic.

Leigh’s lettering is once again excellent. He is always able to add to the humor of Sheridan’s writing with different emphases and styles of his letters, making the comic feel even more alive. It’s the lively finishing touch of this fantastic issue.

Teen Titans Academy #6 is a superb issue of comic storytelling. Sheridan richly expands on the story and characters he and Sandoval have set up with an intriguing mystery and fantastic character dynamics and action. Summer Zahid is a fantastic leading character, and this issue helps set her up as a wonderful force to be reckoned with in DC Comics, along with the rest of her teammates. With the trademark great art by Sandoval, Arreola, and Tarragona, and the vivacious lettering by Leigh, this is one Teen Titans story you don’t want to miss.

Teen Titans Academy #6 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Teen Titans Academy #6
5

TL;DR

Teen Titans Academy #6 is a superb issue of comic storytelling. Sheridan richly expands on the story and characters he and Sandoval have set up with an intriguing mystery and fantastic character dynamics and action. Summer Zahid is a fantastic leading character, and this issue helps set her up as a wonderful force to be reckoned with in DC Comics, along with the rest of her teammates. With the trademark great art by Sandoval, Arreola, and Tarragona, and the vivacious lettering by Leigh, this is one Teen Titans story you don’t want to miss.