Sunday, August 24, 2014

I Reads You Review: TEEN TITANS #1

TEEN TITANS #1 (2014)

WRITER: Will Pfeifer
ART: Kenneth Rocafort
COLORS: Dan Brown
LETTERS: John J. Hill
COVER: Kenneth Rocafort
VARIANT COVERS: Cliff Chiang; Joe Quinones
32pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (September 2014)

Rated “T” for “Teen”

“Blinded by the Light” Part 1

DC Comics has once again relaunched the Teen Titans franchise.  I was a huge fan of the best Teen Titans rebirth, The New Teen Titans, which first appeared in DC Comics Presents #26, before debuting in The New Teen Titans #1 (November 1980). The series, created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez, ran from 1980 to 1996.  For awhile, The New Teen Titans was DC Comics' X-Men-like powerhouse, but I think the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths was the start of its downfall into irrelevance.  [For a number of reasons, including a refocus on core DC Comics franchises such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, but that's for another discussion.]

The recently launched Teen Titans comic book series is written Will Pfeifer, drawn by Kenneth Rocafort, colored by Dan Brown, and lettered by John J. Hill.  The Teen Titans roster is Red Robin (Tim Drake), Beast Boy, Raven, Bunker, and Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark).  It is the second Teen Titans series of The New 52.

Teen Titans #1 (“Blinded by the Light” Part 1) finds the team taking on a school bus hijacking.  According the terrorist-like hijackers' leader, their target is really S.T.A.R. Labs, with the children on the bus merely being pawns.  Of course, the Teen Titans can easily handle such criminals, but are our heroes missing the bigger picture – a larger conspiracy.

A friend of mine who read Teen Titans #1 before I did told me that he did not like it, and he is a longtime Teen Titans fan.  I am really a fan of the Teen Titans from their Silver Age origins to The New Teen Titans.  I am not particularly interested in the various Teen Titans (and Titans) series that came afterward.  I did not care for this Teen Titans #1.

Will Pfeifer tries to write these Titans as cool-under-pressure, up-to-date, and on the cutting-edge of everything.  They actually come across as contrived and about as cool as plastic do-dads.  They are more a collection of character traits and personality quirks than they are real characters.  Kenneth Rocafort's art is crowded, and reading it is like trying to see through a television picture beset by static.  Dan Brown's coloring is just decoration.

I don't have anything against the Cassie Sandsmark Wonder Girl, originally created by John Byrne and introduced back in Wonder Woman (Vol. 2) #105 (cover dated: January 1996), but I prefer Donna Troy.  I like the costume that Raven wears, but I prefer the pre-New 52 character.  You know what:  I don't think these Teen Titans are for me.  Maybe others will enjoy it; maybe I'll even try another issue or two.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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