Teen Titans #6 review

When it was announced that the new Power Girl was joining the Teen Titans, I was dubious. I remember Tanya Spears from Worlds' Finest and liked her well enough, but she's strong and invulnerable, and the Titans already have that in Wonder Girl. I like varied power sets. 

Boy, was I wrong. The arrival of Tanya, with her proactive attitude, has brought this comic to life. She wants the Titans to start going after the bad guys, but not because it's the Nineties and she's EXTREME - it's because she lost her mother to Desaad of Apokolips, purely because she knew the original Power Girl, Karen Starr. 

Tanya emerges from a gaggle of teen vigilantes inspired by Wonder Girl, Cassie Sandsmark, in time to help the Titans with a bunch of snotty, aggressive teens who've gained superpowers from experimental drugs. Cassie wasn't herself an overenthusiastic superfan, she was simply curious about the situation. And when the Titans need help, she turns the tide, her confidence and smarts inspiring Wonder Girl, Red Robin, Bunker and Raven to focus and win the day. 
When things calm down, Tanya explains that somehow Karen left her a portion of her powers, along with a lot of money - even the legal rights to her superhero name - when she went back to her homeworld of Earth 2. Now she wants to persuade other, longer-serving heroes to get their act together and fight smarter. 
Red Robin, Tim Drake, whose ego simply won't countenance that he might not be the smartest one in the room, immediately rejects her idea - how could a different way be the right way if it's not his way? That's not how he puts it, of course, but Cassie can read Tim like a book. She takes Tanya back to her apartment while the others consider a change of tack.  

Meanwhile, a couple of Raven fans find out what happens when you record the daughter of Trigon uttering a spell and play it back

Beast Boy is sneaking around New York's Star Labs, after the science research facility offered to bankroll the Titans. It has to be too good to be true, so he's sniffing around, looking for anything suspicious - as a cute green mouse. And it's safe to say he finds signs of something sinister. 

Star scientist Manchester Black shows up at Cassie's and bids to flatter her into being his pet superheroine, behind the backs of the other Titans. He tells her of dark doings at Star - just as the situation explodes...

Regular writer Will Pfeifer's scripts have been solid in previous issues, but the pace and fun moves up a notch here. There's more wit than previously, and he's working hard to ensure everyone has their own voice, especially the tragically named Bunker, Miguel Barragan 
But what's really prompted me to put fingers to keyboard is the art. I enjoy the work of regular guy Kenneth Rocafort, but just love the contribution of Scott Hepburn, who's filled in this issue and last. His compositions are clean, dynamic and full of personality, perfect for a book about the next generation of heroes. I especially like his Cassie, who's just that little bit cuter, less 'adult', than in earlier issues. If Rocafort leaves the series, I'd be delighted were editors Mike Cotton and Ricky Purdin to give Hepburn the gig. 

What's more, the colours of Dan Brown add extra pop. Hepburn doesn't particularly skimp on backgrounds, but the odd panel with nothing behind characters sees Brown simply apply some scratchy monochrome; it works, and I'd be happy were it to become part of this series' artistic signature. 

John J Hill delivers his patented sharp lettering job while Kalman Andrasofszky comes up with a thoroughly appealing cover. 

Bit by bit, Teen Titans is living up to its potential as a worthy successor to the many previous takes on DC's young heroes. If Will Pfeifer is allowed to develop his cast in line with his own instincts, and the art continues to be shine, this will be a great run.