Warning: SPOILERS for Teen Titans #20
Dick Grayson in the Titans TV show isn't the only Robin who's turned against Batman, as Damian Wayne and his new Teen Titans crew are embracing a similar angst-ridden philosophy. Nowhere in Teen Titans #20 does Damian or any of his new teammates utter the now infamous "F**k Batman" line from DC Universe's Titans trailer... But the underlying sentiment is the same.
Damian is moving farther outside the moral realm of his father. Whether they realize it or not, Damian's also taking the rest of his new team down with him into the muck. It's a new - and very dark - era for the Teen Titans.
Teen Titans #20 is something of a soft reboot for DC's youngest superhero team. Following the events of DC Metal and Justice League: No Justice, the Teen Titans as they existed post-Rebirth have been abandoned. Damian Wayne as Robin is still the team leader, but everyone else (besides Kid Flash a.k.a. Wallace West) is gone.
Robin, Kid Flash and Titans newcomer Red Arrow a.k.a. Emiko Queen are the three pillars of the new team, and the status quo has completely shifted with them.
The initial DC Rebirth run of Teen Titans was about reining in some of the unruly superhero teens of the DC Universe, giving them guidance and support by older heroes. Damian Wayne is apparently tired of such training wheels, with Teen Titans #20 opening with him completely cutting himself off from the Justice League. The Teen Titans aren't villainsx exactly. But they have no real supervision, meaning the Titans have effectively gone rogue.
And this lack of control has allowed Robin to really unleash his true ideology. Since Damian Wayne was raised to be a literal killing machine that doesn't mean he's pulling his punches or allowing his villains any chances. Damian hasn't broken his father's no-kill rule... at least not yet. However, what he's doing instead might actually be much worse.
It's revealed in the final pages of Teen Titans #20 that Damien has given up on official institutions and prisons like Arkham Aslyum. When the Teen Titans apprehend a criminal, they're not shipping them off to the authorities: Damian is locking them up in the secret basement of Titans' HQ. Robin is holding these criminals without due process, chained to the wall, bloody and beaten. It's a horror show.
The big twist is that Damien is keeping his torture dungeon a secret from the rest of the Titans, too. Nobody on the team is aware of the nightmare that lurks literally underneath their feet, since Damian doesn't believe them to be "ready."
Because of that ignorance, Teen Titans manages to keep some of its usual swashbuckling charm in the same issue with Robin's horrific actions. The brand new Teen Titans still have the signature angst and desire to prove themselves (Emiko Queen wants to escape her brother's shadow, Kid Flash wants to make a name for himself outside Barry Allen and Wally West, etc.), but for the most part it all remains standard teen rebellion. None of them cross the line, besides Damian, into betraying the criminal justice system and everything the Justice League stands for and believes.
It's intriguing that Teen Titans is trying out a new darker team just as DC Universe revs up to premiere Titans. The reader isn't supposed to take Damian Wayne's side, and eventually he'll almost certainly get his comeuppance.
No one says "F**k Batman" even figuratively, for long.
Teen Titans #20 is now available from DC Comics.