Saturday, April 18, 2020

Teen Titans Rebirth #1 (2016) Review

Teen Titans Unite! Or Else!

Story and Visuals By: Ben Percy & Jonboy Meyers
Colors By: Jim Charalampidis
Letters By: Corey Breen
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: September 28, 2016 


You know, if I did a pornographic version of this comic book, I would call it Teen Trojans. Yeah, I got nothing. Check out my review of Teen Titans Rebirth #1!

Explain It!

The way I’ve taken these Rebirth issues is that they are establishing the new status quo for a given title. Forget any nagging bits and bobs of continuity, don’t concern yourselves with stuff that seems to negate a major plot point from the previous series. This is a series being reborn, and over the time I’ve reviewed Teen Titans, I’ve made no bones about it needing some kind of kick in the pants. Well, here it is! And it opens with Beast Boy getting down in a Los Angeles nightclub—looks like we have picked up where the last issue left off, and Gar is the toast of the town. Hanging with the DJ, mobbed by sleazy bald guys, it’s nothing for him to coax a hottie back to Chez Green Kid by turning into a kitten. That’s the oldest ploy in the book! They’re lounging in his pool, when Gar decides to turn into a shark, likely turning this young woman’s bikini bottoms brown and putting a damper on the evening’s romance. Oh Beast Boy, you relentless cut-up! While blondie gathers her things and splits, someone in a very Raven-esque hood comes along and tazes Gar Logan right in the pool! That’s got to be against safety regulations.

Meanwhile in the Caribbean, on the island of Torando, Starfire is meeting with the local constable to discuss human trafficking—namely, the slave trade that seems to be happening on the island. The cop chomps on an apple, and offers some to Starfire just as a little worm (that looks suspiciously like her old pet, Syl’Khee) pokes out of the bite hole. That’s…weird. At that moment, some guy on the beach grabs up a screaming kid and runs away! Starfire takes off after him and easily knocks him down with one of her energy bolts. He turns around and claims he was made to do this thing, but just as Starfire gets curious a hand in an electric glove taps her on the shoulder and knocks her out cold! Speaking of apples, in the Big Apple we’re outside the Art Museum, which looks quite like the Metropolitan Museum of Art but is labeled only Art Museum. Our old buddy Raven, now looking more like a scene kid in a military flight jacket, teleports in and magically dopes up a guard so she can take in an exhibit—the centerpiece of which looks like a painting of Baby Raven being menaced by her demon father, Trigon! Why would someone want to see this? I’ve drawn picture after picture of Jim and Eric falling prey to a number of disasters, but I’ve never thought to show any to them. While she trips out on her daddy issues, someone shoots a tranquilizer into her neck and she goes night-night. And clearly, Raven isn’t the one that did it.

Over in Central City, Wally West—the New 52 Wally West, to be clear—is strolling along, considering his predicament as a speedster superhero. Some guy tries to rob a corner store, so Wally speeds up and snatches the stuff back from him, and then gets blamed by the store owner for stealing it in the first place! So he just suits up in a pretty cool-looking Kid Flash outfit and takes off in a splash panel that is worthy of being on a t-shirt, or maybe a tattoo for a really hardcore New 52 Wally West fan. While running along, Wally thinks of all the stuff that’s happened to him since his introduction in the comics, which was good because I missed like more than half of it. In the subway tunnels, Wally comes upon a body lying next to the tracks—but it turns out to be a gas-spewing dummy that renders Wally West unconscious! By spewing some kind of knock-out gas, if that wasn’t clear. Later, the four powered teens—titans, in their own right—find themselves restrained in some ellipsis that specifically negates each of their powers. And this diabolical trap is presided over…Damian Wayne, and his gargantuan Man-Bat, Goliath!

I must say, even though I knew this Teen Titans team was being organized under Damien, I was still pleasantly surprised by the last page’s reveal. I was doubly glad to see Goliath will be part of things, since I loved his character in Robin: Son of Batman but thought that series fizzled out a little too soon. It’s cool that this series does pick up somewhat after the previous one left off, implying that this Raven is a post-Raven miniseries Raven, making that title more interesting to watch. It took me a couple of pages to get into the art, but I did adjust to it in short order and I think it presents a unique, colorful take on this title. And let me tell you, it needed the color. It’s tough to be too critical on a “pilot episode;” This book did accomplish what it intended to do, and gave me a little happy surprise at the end. If the ten-dollar massage around the corner could do that, I’d be a happy man.

Bits and Pieces:

A pretty thorough introduction to the members of the Teen Titans going forward, and you can't ask for a whole lot more from a Rebirth title. The artwork is very unique but really worked for these characters, and it's so colorful and angular it's almost kaleidoscopic. It's tough to say what this title will be in the future, or whether it will feature a team of friends instead of a gaggle of jerkfaces, but what we see here is an indicator that all signs point to "maybe!"



Anonymous said...

Is Ben Percy's dialogue less awkward here?

Reggie Hemingway said...

For the most part, though there are some clunky exchanges.

Unknown said...

I like how they chose to do this i realized off the bat thatit was damian but this was fun just need to know why the hell he has a giant red minotaur

Reggie Hemingway said...

We meet Goliath in the series Robin: Son of Batman!

Unknown said...

Aaah yea didnt read that :p

Unknown said...

I thought this book looked amazing! Starfire and Raven look totally HOT in every panel they're in. The full page Kid Flash spread looks totally cool. And the last page of Robin and Goliath is killer! I have to say I pegged the hooded figure as Damian from page one but that didn't dampen my sheer joy and turning that page! I'm fully expecting to LOVE LOVE LOVE this book, which just makes me even madder that I have to wait til 2017 for Super Sons! 😡

Unknown said...

Goliath is not a Minotaur. He's some sort of monster-bat. Damian wiped out his entire brood or litter or family or whatever when he was a baby monster-bat and then felt guilty and kept him as a pet. That's not spoilery, is it? I mean it's not a major plot point or anything but I would totally recommend Robin Son of Batman if you like Damian Wayne. I loved it.

Unknown said...

Thats not really spoilery lest not to me only son of batman i read was from robin wars and left bad tatse, might check it out now thanks

Unknown said...

Loved that they are using n52 wally and not forgetting about him and art was on point so now how long before Titans vs Teen Titans lol

Reggie Hemingway said...

You can buy a reprint of the trade collection of Bob Haney's 1970s Super Sons series this winter!

Rick Mills said...

Damian is such a dick. Goliath caught me off guard, I’ve never heard of him, and haven’t seen anything within the Batman comics so I was baffled when he was standing behind Damian. I’m intrigued as to how the team is going to want to work with Damian now.