Last month, Robin (son of Batman) went and found himself some folks to play with. One by one, he took down Beast Boy, Starfire, Raven, and Kid Flash with ease, and then finally revealed himself and his intimidating associate Goliath to the lot of them. Teen Titans #1 picks up right where we left off, as the boy who always gets what he wants tries to obtain the one thing that has so far eluded him: friendship.
The Teen Titans have been a joke
Our story begins in flashback, Damian celebrating his birthday with Alfred. The story flashes forward, and after making his introduction to his would-be super-team, he lays out why they ought to be working with one another.
The start is a little rocky, in particular because Damian’s moaning about Batman’s priorities seems to disregard a lot of the development from Tomasi and Gleason’s Batman and Robin. Bruce traveled to Apokolips and back to bring his son from death to life, so the complain is a bit hollow. You may chalk it up to a teenage tendency to exaggerate, but it rubs me the wrong way.
Thankfully, things improve once the whole team is together. Damian tells Beast Boy and the others that the Titans of The New 52 were exactly what many of us real-world readers already knew they were: a laughingstock. Admitting—even in a slanted way—that the previous iteration of this series was awful immediately builds up a lot of good will, and Percy keeps me happy through to the end.
It’s actually funny
But Percy’s greatest success comes not from dwelling on the past, but in righting its wrongs. Other than a few isolated issues or moments, Teen Titans has been far from fun or funny in the nearly year-long period during which I’ve been reading and reviewing it. But as with a great many Rebirth titles, something that was missing has been found, and Percy’s plot is as rich with fun as it is with intrigue, and his character interactions brought me to laughter frequently. Beast Boy has a few stinkers, but anyone that talks that much and attempts to be funny all the time is bound to screw up once in a while, and these failures may well be Percy’s intention.
This issue’s big fight is great fun, as well. We’re spared any excess chest-thumping, and the results are far from predictable. Meyers renders it all beautifully, with a great energy and scale. I’ve wondered for months if his aesthetic is a bit too childish, but he switches gears well once the action kicks in, and in a way that doesn’t grate against the rest of the book. Put simply, when Teen Titans needs to be funny, Meyers delivers, and when it needs to be straight-up cool, he doesn’t miss a beat.
A villain we can take seriously
If you’ve been following news about this series, or if you read my interview with Percy from New York Comic Con, or heck, if you look at the cover, then you know who the big bad villain is. Of course, you could be new to this whole comics thing, and that’s okay, too. Suffice it to say that the villain for this first arc of Teen Titans is a formidable one, and his ties to Damian make him a particularly interesting choice.
- You enjoyed the Rebirth one-shot and want to see what happens next (this one picks up right where that one left off).
- You’ve missed having fun with the Titans.
- You’re new to comics and want to get in at the ground floor on a book that is connected to—but doesn’t heavily depend on—the wider DC Universe.
It’s hard to say where or how things will go from here. We already learned about an artistic shakeup weeks before this issue dropped, and the Titans ultimately have an uphill climb after years of underwhelming stories. Khoi Pham may prove a great replacement for Meyers, and Percy could well stamp out the bad memories of the past five years, but we’ll have to wait and see. Past and future aside, this present issue of Teen Titans is a sizable step in the right direction.