Open Mike Night: Teen Titans Rebirth

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Teen Titans: Rebirth #1

Story and Art by: Ben Percy and Jonboy Meyers
Colored by: Jim Charalampidis
Lettered by: Corey Breen

Published by: DC
Cover Price:  $2.99

Mike Maillaro: I’ve always loved team books featuring young characters.  New Mutants and New Warriors were among my favorite series when I started comics.  I loved Jurgens’ take on Teen Titans, not to mention Peter David’s Young Justice.  But the real heart of  teen team comics has pretty much always been the “real” Teen Titans.  

For me (and a lot of people if you follow critic and internet chatter), Teen Titans has been one of the weakest parts of DC’s New 52, which is a real shame. They even relaunched the book hoping to get it a jolt, but it still just floundered without any real direction.  This left a huge opportunity to reinvigorate the franchise with DC Rebirth.

The Teen Titans disbanded at the end of the last issue when their leader Tim Drake was seemingly killed.  This issue features Damian Wayne deciding to starts his own team of Teen Titans...by kidnapping each team member.  Raven, Starfire, Kid Flash, and Beast Boy.  Pretty much this entire issue is about establishing the character, which is always a solid idea for a 0 issues (which is basically what these Rebirth specials are).  Oddly enough, the only character that doesn’t get a lot of focus is Robin himself.  I bet there are a lot of readers wondering why he’s hanging out with a massive bat creature at the end of the issue…

Mike Weaver: I’ve always been a fan of team comics in general.  The dynamics within a group make for good drama when written well, that’s basically the concept that launched Marvel in a nutshell.  I’ve always liked the push and pull between “How do we give our strong characters a proper showing?” and “How do we make sure the weaker characters have something to do?”  

I think you can see where this is going.  I have pretty much from the moment I first saw him hated Damian “GodRobin” Wayne.  And watching him effortlessly take down the Titans, especially Raven and Kid Flash, was pretty bad on my willing suspension of disbelief.  I find myself wondering...if Damian can just take out the Titans like that, what use does he have for them, honestly?  He can just offpanel his way through the villains of the DC universe without help.

Maillaro: Damian has grown on me because of New-52  Batman and Robin, and his most recent solo series, but yeah, I can totally understand hating him. Maybe he needs the Teen Titans as fodder.  He is definitely his father's son, for good and for bad.  He had a plan, and took down characters he should not have been able to.  Just like Bruce does so often.

I am also thrown by Starfire inclusion on the team.  She seems way too old for this group. Did they include her just for the Teen Titans Go connection?   Kind of surprised they didn't throw in Cyborg at that point too.  Wonder Girl would have made much more sense as the team powerhouse.

Weaver: I think that Kory works to a degree, because even though she’s older, she has a naive perception of the way Earth works.  Yes, I can see that has developed a little bit recently, but I still see her mentally as a teenager in the way she perceives Earth related topics.  I’m not really sure where New 52 left the various Titans age wise, but I know in the original Titans, well, the original “New” Titans, not all of them were teens, despite the name.

Maillaro: Most of the “real Titans” are part of an older team called Titans.  Dick, Wally, Donna, Garth, Roy.  Their memory of the team was wiped out by some combination of Abra Kadabra, the Watchmen, and Mister Twister.  I know that sounds very much like bad comic book logic, but Titans Hunt and Titans Rebirth have been some very good comics, surprisingly.

But back to Teen Titans, despite some misgivings about Robin and Starfire, I genuinely liked this, especially as a first issue of a team book.  We get some solo focus on each character, we understand the how of the team being brought together (even if it requires them all jobbing to Damian), and still some questions about why.  I do think this is the best Beast Boy and Raven have been written in a long time.  

Weaver: Yeah, as much as I don’t like Damian’s role here, I do think they set up each of the characters really well.  The passages from each character’s perspective gives you enough of their history and demeanor to work with even if you never saw them before.  They’re surprisingly deep for each only receiving a couple of pages of self-narrative (followed by Damian acing them).

Maillaro: One thing I always have to give DC credit for is editorial consistency.  I am sure I am the only one who really cared, but I loved seeing Goliath with Robin.  I am hoping that NoBody shows up soon too.  I really liked Robin’s odd little group in Son of Batman.  As opposed to Marvel who killed off Multiple Man last week, and it seemed like no one involved in that comic had kept up with anything Jamie Madrox had been doing in X-Factor for all those years.  Yes, I am just using this paragraph to take a cheap (but well-deserved) shot at Marvel for the garbage that was Death of X.

Weaver: However, last week we read a comic with Raven based in San Francisco, and here she’s picked up in New York.

Maillaro: Raven’s mini-series bridges the gap between the two Teen Titans series, so it is possible she ends up in New York at the end of the mini.  Yeah, okay, even I don’t believe that justification...

Weaver: Eh, she can teleport, I’ll give it a pass.  I want to give the writing a 4, with the strengths being the character vignettes (especially Raven and Beast Boy...but also this is a much better Starfire than we saw in the Starfire solo comic we reviewed a while back).  The weakness, of course: jobbin’ to Robin.

I’m not sure how I feel about the art.  It was generally alright.  There wasn’t a lot that stood out to me positive or negative, although I wasn’t a huge fan of Raven’s look.  I’ll give it a 3.5.

Maillaro: I had fairly low expectations here because of how bad Teen Titans has been in New-52, so I definitely was satisfied by this comic.

I will admit, I actually didn’t recognize Raven at first (even though it said RAVEN in big letters underneath her), so I do have to ding the art for that.  Yeah, I think your scores are pretty dead on perfect for this one. Enjoyed the story quite a bit, and there was nothing particularly bad about the art, but nothing that quite blew me away either.


Maillaro: This week was a cornucopia of new series.   Waid relaunchs the young characters of Marvel as Champions,  He-Man/Thundercats get a long awaited crossover, Death of X (HELL NO!), Jessica Jones, Shade the Changing Girl, Ellis’s new series for Aftershock, Shipwreck…

Weaver: I might be willing to do a couple of those.  Let’s start with Champions, and if we have time, Shade.

Maillaro: I was predicting you would say Champions and Jessica Jones, but those are perfect choices too!  Shade is another Young Animal book.  Doom Patrol was really odd, but I loved it!

Weaver: Okay, fine, if we have A LOT of time, Jessica Jones too.  See you then.

Maillaro: That is totally not going to happen, but I will certainly try!

 


Final Scores

 

Maillaro – Story (out of 5)

Weaver – Story (out of 5)

Maillaro – Art (out of 5)

Weaver – Art (out of 5)

Teen Titans: Rebirth #1

4

4

3.5

3.5

Summary: A really solid first issue.  You get introduced to all the characters and have a sense of the direction this book will be heading.  It was kind of ridiculous to see Damian able to take down all his teammates so easily, but that is par for the course with the Wayne family.  Definitely the best book that has come out with Teen Titans on the cover since New-52 started!  

 
Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0