Once again, DC Comics reinvents a major franchise as part of their “Earth One” series of original graphic novel series.
This time, it’s Teen Titans.
Superheroes don’t exist in this DC series (which stands-alone from other “Earth One” series). So how do you re-create a team of super-heroes which were originally teen versions of the Justice League?
You take a bit of X-Files, mix in some Superman mythology, then borrow from DC’s rich history of secret laboratories and genetic engineering, add a few tropes from Runaways, and give it a “real world” setting.
So we see the genesis (literally and mythologically) of Terra, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Raven, Starfire, Tempest, and Jericho in this volume.
As with Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, this volume borrows from the mainstream DC Universe, sometimes heavily, sometimes with a throwaway reference (like a soldier named “Trainor”).
The origin story uncovers mysteries, and teases more to come. (Raven is the nexus of the group, linking to TEN other individuals, according to the visions perceived by her Navajo grandfather.)
Fans of the previous Teen Titans comics will find lots of interesting tangents from well-known characters. Those who know the mythology of DC will have lots to contemplate, as much is implied and explicated.
Neophyte readers will easily understand the characters, their secret history, and the unknowns they face. While I read a review copy via Adobe Digital Editions with somewhat jaggy art, Terry and Rachel Dodson’s art is very clean and dynamic. A variety of panels and layouts are used, but do not deviate from the traditional left-right grid. The eye flows easily from one panel to the next.
The only objectionable part of the story? Perhaps the teens smoking tobacco.
I’ll recommend this for middle school readers, on up to those who enjoy a good meaty superhero tale. I’m intrigued to discover more (especially who the diamond totem on the cave refers to…)!
Here’s hoping DC keeps to an annual schedule of publishing future volumes. (148 pages equates to about six months of comic book art work.)
Meanwhile, while we wait, there are additional Superman and Batman volumes scheduled, and Grant Morrison is adapting Wonder Woman with Yanick Paquette.
Myself, I look forward to the day when each month offers a new “Earth One” volume!