Teen Titans Vol. 1 Review – The New 52
There’s a special place in my heart for the Teen Titans, especially for Tim Drake’s team. I loved reading about their adventures and drama in my younger, more angst-driven days. It’s like Dawson’s Creek, but with superheroes. When I purchased my copy of Teen Titans Vol. 1, the feeling of unfulfilled nostalgia started to envelop me. Nostalgia I hoped this book would satisfy.
The New 52 Teen Titans Vol. 1: It’s Our Right to Fight was released on September 11, 2012. It is written by Scott Lobdell (Red Hood and the Outlaws, X-Men, Generation X) with illustrations supplied by Brett Booth (Backlash). It brings together issues #1-7 of Teen Titans under a single binding, published as a trade paperback. While this is okay for less popular titles in the New 52, this one really should’ve been a hardcover. The Titans are as much a part of the DC Universe as the Justice League and deserve better treatment.
Tim Drake once again takes the lead for this underaged superhero squad, this time as Red Robin instead of Batman’s Boy Wonder. Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Superboy, and a few other familiar faces from pages of past Teen Titans books are also back for this title. They are joined by a cast of new characters on both sides of the battle. So, all the elements for a hormones-driven teen drama/superhero story are there. Isn’t that exciting? While not as emotionally dramatic as it was during the apex of the story arc for Tim’s first group of Titans, this collection didn’t disappoint. During the reading, it became painfully apparent that I’ve outgrown this kind of storytelling. However, it’s good to see that they’ve stuck with the same kind of banter, plot, and character development that have become the signature of the Titans. And yes, there is a story, and it’s an entertaining one to peruse, with lots of twists and surprises. Tim, with his excellent detective and planning abilities, sticks true-to-form as the best Robin ever. Writers of the Justice League comic should also take note: This is how a team superhero story should be, and Red Robin, unlike his mentor, did not reveal his secret identity to his teammates, let alone to the biggest buffoon in the DCU (Green Lantern). Kudos to Lobdell for getting it right.
The artwork is where this book literally and figuratively shines. Costume design for all of the characters is a thing of beauty. Most notable are Kid Flash’s constant wardrobe changes. The evolution of his look throughout the collection is amusing, with the final design both thrilling and fitting for his character. All of the heroes and villains are treated with a fine attention to detail which results in kick-ass apparel for superhero-ing (or villainy) for everyone. They’re all decked in lines and colors that pop out of the page. Along with varying panel placements, the dynamically rendered environments and action sequences that get one cheering for the protagonists (Wonder Girl does some tight maneuvers in this one) make this volume a fun ride for both adult and teen readers. Included in the back of Teen Titans Vol. 1 are several pages of character sketches detailing some of the evolution and brainstorming involved in designing the final looks of the main players in this book. There are also sketches of alternate cover designs at the end. Bonus!
While the dialogue might be a little sophomoric for most grown up comic book readers, the series is presented in a way that hails back to how comic books used to be when the target audience isn’t quite as mature as it is now. This book serves as a great entryway for new and young readers who might still be in high school or college. The tie-ins with Superboy and Gen-13 characters also make for a nice “pocket” universe for young adults within the DCU. While some people might feel a little too grown up for titles such as this, I certainly found it to be a great read. Coupled with the wonderful artwork within its pages, I have no regrets about my purchase of Teen Titans Vol. 1.