Teen Titans #1 Review

Teen Titans #1 Review Someday we’ll get a team book where they all start off together, right?

What They Say:
Tim Drake, Batman’s former sidekick, is back in action when an international organization seeks to capture, kill or co-opt super-powered teenagers! He’s going to have to team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl and the hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash to stand any chance at all against a living, breathing weapon with roots in another world!

The Review:
Back when I was first getting into DC Comics prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths, books like Infinity Inc, All Star Squadron and Teen Titans was where I was at. I liked the teams, the legacy aspect and with Teen Titans in particular, the kind of more mature look at how sidekicks moved into the spotlight themselves by growing them up a bit. Unfortunately, when I tried to get back into the book years later, I did it just before the One Year Later event and it changed what I had just latched onto into something different and that kept me away. With this new incarnation, we’re back to building the team from scratch with the whole five years after the start of the Justice League approach, so it’s a fresh start to the team with a few differences from the original in some ways and ties to the other books that are going on which can give it a bit of an interconnected feeling.

Like other team books that are kicking off, the opening issue here focused on bringing just a couple of the members together rather than the whole team, which is unfortunate since we saw that even the Young Justice TV series pulled it off just right. Here, the focus is on a trio of characters with a hint at the fourth where Red Robin is orchestrating everything. The rise in young superheroes is causing quite a problem both nationally and internationally as we see Kid Flash create a bigger mess when he tries to help out when a mansion in Westchester County has burned down. That joins part of a national conversation about the unregulated heroes running around and the number of them that are kids who may not be the smartest ones out there that seem to make things worse.

And the pull back from this is that Tim Drake as Red Robin sees it as his responsibility to help tame it, stemming somewhat from the fact that he was working with Batman who essentially introduced the idea of young heroes by working with him. While Tim isn’t the first Robin, he’s moved on like Dick Grayson and is trying to find his own place in the world, using his strong technological and data moving skills to bring about change for the positive. But he’s also seeing that there’s something out there that’s working against the younger heroes, a group called N.O.W.H.E.R.E. which has now hunted him down to try and recruit him for their project. And they’re also after an attractive young blonde named Cassie Sandsmark that denies she’s got powers even though basic tracing proves to Tim that she’s certainly some kind of “wonder girl.”

Digital Notes:
This Comixology edition of Teen Titans contains the main cover as seen with the print edition with no variants or other extras included.

In Summary:
It’s all basic setup material since we just have a few of the members showing up and a nod towards Superboy as well, and it feels a bit rushed in a way because of it. While it could be busy by dropping everyone in, working with the cast that it does, only Tim gets some time to really show who he is and that works since he’s in the future leader position here. But the narrative doesn’t work strongly with the way it has to leap around to tackle not only him but Cassie, Kid Flash and the nod towards Supeboy. There are things to definitely like here, as Brett Booth’s artwork is very good and it has a slick, polished feel to it that keeps you looking at the details of it all. And there are some interesting characterizations coming out of it as we see a confident Tim working to form a team to deal with public perceptions but also this larger mystery group that wants the kids. But something about the whole thing just left me not completely feeling it and I can’t help but to think it’s related to the partial group introduction. The book will definitely get me back for several more issues, but very likely as a +1 month digital purchase.

Grade: B