- Written by Will Pfeifer
- Art by Kenneth Roacfort
- Colours by Dan Brown
- Batman 75 variant cover by Joe Quinones
After a 30 issue run and 3 annuals the New 52 incarnation of ‘Teen Titans‘ took a creative break for a while before returning in July 2014 – just in time for SDCC which is where I bought this issue – with a new #1, a new creative team and a slightly adjusted lineup.
Gone are Kid Flash and Superboy and instead Beast Boy, ever popular from the two TV incarnations of the Titans and Raven also takes on a leading role in the series.
I was a reader of the first New 52 version of ‘Teen Titans‘ for the first year but found myself not in a rush to read it each month and eventually it found itself taken off my subscription list as I just wasn’t buying in to the stories or enjoying the way the characters were being written. It felt like there was an awkward lack of self perception which left the team languishing somewhere between the ‘Teen Titans‘ and ‘Young Justice‘ TV series, both equally popular but each also showcasing completely different teams of young heroes.
Ultimately the writers need to trust that these young heroes have enough of their own identities to carry a title without relying on guest appearances by older and more established heroes. The big draw for me is Red Robin for whom I feel a standalone title would actually not be a great mistake during this period where the Bat-verse finds itself without a core Robin or a Nightwing.
That’s not to say that I don’t have interest in any of the other characters but my background knowledge of Wonder Girl would be cameos in the Lynda Carter ‘Wonder Woman‘ series. Similarly my knowledge of Raven and Beast Boy comes from cartoons and Bunker remains a mystery to me.
The hook on this new version of ‘Teen Titans‘ is to really bring them in to the present day and by that I mean social media. These characters are out in the open saving lives in broad daylight so naturally they have caught the attention of the general public and therefore wherever they go they’re photographed, captured on video and tweeted on. It’s an interesting concept: how can you be a hero when your every move appears on the internet for all to see?
Bat-verse comics spend so long lingering in darkness and shadow that it’s nice to see that ‘Superman‘ aside DC Comics have titles which can bring their heroes out in daylight.
Rocafort and Brown have brought a visually intriguing version of the characters to life which sits in stark contrast to the variant Batman 75 cover above by Joe Quinones. Inside the book is some really luscious artwork which is really high on detail and evokes a genuine atmosphere of the city by day. This may sound a little judgemental but to the team being made of younger heroes I almost expected a comic aimed at a younger audience but actually this artwork would appeal to any avid reader who takes a look at it’s pages.
The story revolves around the kidnapp of a school bus in an attempt to almost ram-raid a S.T.A.R. Labs facility, nicely tying the continuity of the Titans in to the wider DC universe. It’s a pretty simple rescue mission throughout but does a brilliant job of reintroducing all the lead characters and their abilities not forgetting to also show how these characters fit together as a team. There’s a simple yet effective cliffhanger to bring you back for issue #2 at the end also.
The strong yet understated script allows the new artwork to take centre stage for much of the book and once you reach the end of the issue you’re left in no doubt that in comparison to the previous volume of ‘Teen Titans‘ there’s more of a gravitas here. For an opening issue this balances all the necessary elements well. One characteristic I remember clearly from reading older issues is the sexuality of main character Bunker which does add an LGBT element to the title that is perhaps handled a little heavy handily in this issue when a civilian states ‘Only complaint I’ve got is with all the superheroes in New York it’s just my luck to get rescued by the two who look like a couple of —‘ and Bunker reacts quite strongly. It’s not highly offensive, it’s just perhaps a little overstated in a book which seems perfectly understated throughout.
None-the-less this is an enjoyable new start for ‘Teen Titans‘ and I hope they find further success with this new creative team.