WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS up to Titans #20
When the Titans of DC Comics break up, Arsenal finds his most dangerous partner to date. The first part of that sentence is going to be a shocker for fans of the former Teen Titans who haven't kept up to date, but believe it. After spinning out of control in one of their most painful adventures to date, the Justice League decided to play 'parent' to their former sidekicks. Adults they may be, but the Justice League put them on indefinite leave until their actions could be reviewed. Which... didn't go over well with Roy Harper, otherwise known as Arsenal.
That part of the story is less than surprising to anyone who knows Roy (either in the comics or his live-action, Arrow adaptation). It was Roy's dedication to fighting crime that made him the loudest critic of the League's 'overstepping' authority. And in our exclusive preview of Titans #20, it's that same devotion that puts Roy back out on the beat without any of his former backup.
As it turns out, the former drug addict Roy Harper trying to crack down a new drug ring isn't even the riskiest part of his new mission. That honor goes to the sudden return of his former lover, Cheshire... a supremely deadly assassin for hire.
The love affair between Roy and Cheshire (real name Jade Nguyen) goes back years in DC's history, and calling it complicated would be an understatement. When Roy went undercover to infiltrate Cheshire's higher-ups, the pair fell madly in love, eventually resulting in their daughter, Lian. Murders, betrayals, and something resembling genuine affection eventually followed - but that was before DC's Rebirth reset the universe's continuity. Which makes this unexpected team-up of Roy and Jade even more meaningful.
Is this the start of Roy Harper's romance with Cheshire getting a second life? Or will Roy's mission to crack down on a new drug cartel end their love affair even sooner than before (and long before a child comes into the picture)?
Take a look at the preview pages below:
These preview pages pick up exactly where Titans #19 ended: Roy Harper refusing to sit on the bench when drugs flood city streets, even when it gets him surrounded, outnumbered, and seriously outgunned. But to say that he's any safer sharing noodles with Cheshire would be making a big assumption. But if Roy is going to be taking the spotlight as the rest of the Titans take some time off, then this first glimpse of "Titans Apart" is promising. It's the similarities between Roy and Jade that made them a match in the first place, and Dan Abnett is setting up the same explosive chemistry.
But there's no doubt that the lines will be drawn as Roy and Cheshire pick their way up the food chain to the very top of this new designer drug's production chain. Roy wants to bring the drug kingpin in... but Cheshire is being paid to take them out. Who will get their way? And will it affect Roy's relationship with his fellow Titans, Donna Troy in particular? For that, we'll need to wait for the rest of the issue.
Check out a full synopsis for the issue below:
TITANS (2018) #20
Published: February 14, 2018
Writer: Dan Abnett
Art: Andrew Hennessy, Paul Pelletier, Adriano Lucas
Cover Artist: Andrew Hennessy, Paul Pelletier, Adriano Lucas
“Titans Apart” part one! After the Titans are forced into a hiatus by the Justice League, Roy Harper, a.k.a. Arsenal, finds himself without a team—but not without a purpose—as he investigates the rise of a dangerous new drug running rampant in the streets of New York City. But Arsenal isn’t alone—his ex, Cheshire, has joined him on his mission! But are her motives as altruistic as she claims? Or are darker forces at work?
Titans #20 hits local comic shops and digital services on February 14, 2018.