One of the few notable points about the Teen Titans Academy series, ten issues in, is one of the new recruit’s very being breaks further from binary gender norms than any previous character.
Stitch has been around the academy since the first issue when it came out last summer and has gotten a reputation for breaking the fourth wall the way Deadpool often does but that isn’t the biggest or strangest thing to be said for this creation of writer Tim Sheridan.
The rag doll-looking hero in training is actually a rag doll brought to life by magic that is considered nonbinary and genderqueer. Furthermore, they (as Stitch prefers) categorize themselves as a “nonbinary effigy” and a “genderqueer quilted American,” though Stitch doesn’t believe they are American.
A protege of Doctor Fate, Stitch is sent to the institution really known as the Roy Harper Titans Academy to learn how to be a hero, and they must feel they learned a thing or two because this newcomer whose full origins are unclear gets upset at Nightwing – the more experienced leader and former sidekick of Batman – for his plan to deal with another trainee.
Teen Titans Academy #10 revolves mostly around a student named Dane, also known as Nevermore, who is headed down a dark path that may lead to armageddon brought on by the Anti-Christ. He may have to be killed but it’s a worst-case scenario which would mean it’s the last resort after all options are exhausted.
In fact, Stitch only finds out about this strategy after sneaking into the teacher’s faculty room, where the character then lectures Arsenal for misgendering it.
Arsenal bluntly asks, “Can someone get her out of here?” Stitch replies, “*Ahem* They–are not going anywhere. You’re talking about killing a kid.”
The character then proceeds to lecture Cyborg about using Billy Batson’s alter ego, Shazam.
From there Stitch targets its anger at Raven and Wonder Girl and finally at Nightwing accusing the Teen Titans of planning to kill Nevermore.
The quilty one lectures the Titans stating, “Oh, so we hand out the death penalty for stuff someone might do? Maybe?
Raven responds, “Stitch. I know he’s your friend, but we’re not just talking about murder. We’re talking about genocide. Every sould on this planet and then, in time everyone in the universe maybe more. We’re talking about ensuring the survival of all living things.”
The living quilt isn’t having any of it screaming, “Wow… There is it. There’s the problem. You’re too old. You’ve been doing this so long, seen so much, paid dearly that your baseline’s changed. Is that what this job does to you? Because it if it, I don’t want it.”
The talking rug continues, “If killing a fourteen-year-old boy–a boy whose life has been entrusted to you–is ‘low cost,’ then what about two lives? Three? Three thousand? What about me? Am I even alive really? Does that make killing me even lower cost?”
Finally, the character concludes its lecture, “The line you’re talking about crossing shouldn’t move based on the severity of the threat.. Hell, there shouldn’t be a line at all. There should be no chance of the Titans doing a heinous thing they know is wrong.”
Nightwing calmly responds, “We’re just considering worst-case alternatives, Stich. We have a plan to subdue and isolate him– No one wants to hurt Nevermore.”
Stitch is still unhappy and begins to lecture Nightwing about using Nevermore’s alter ego saying, “Dane. Say his name. It’s Dane. If you really want to consider this, you better at least have the guts to call him by his name, Dick.”
Written by Tim Sheridan and drawn by Mike Norton with cover art by Rafa Sandoval, Teen Titans Academy #10 is on sale now.
Here’s the official summary, “Dane, a.k.a. Nevermore, came to the academy to become a hero, but circumstance and fate are leading him down a much darker path. To understand their future, the Titans must look into the complicated past of their most mysterious student—and unearth truths that may leave them with an impossible choice.”