One of the first comics that I bought on a regular basis was the Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans from the early and mid-eighties. I was a huge fan of the team. On the other hand, I also loved Young Justice, and I have a similar soft spot in my heart for the current Robin, Wonder Girl, Superboy and Impulse. So needless to say, when I heard that Johns and McKone were reinventing the classic NTT with the current DC teens, I wasn't sure what to think.
Teen Titans #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Mike McKone
Inks: Mario Alquiza
After reading the first issue, however, all of my fears have been laid to rest. Johns, McKone and company have outdone themselves. From characterization to artwork, Teen Titans is as close to perfect as a comic can get.
The former members of YJ are invited to spend the weekend at the new Titans Tower in San Francisco, and the majority of the issue focuses on their reactions to the invitations, the adult Titans and the situation in general. The issue offers no real action, but focuses on the characters and their relationships to one another and to their mentors. I didn't miss the action.
Johns does a fantastic job of bridging the gap between the former series and the new one, using the events of the Graduation Day mini to add depth to several of the characters. Kon, Cass, and Tim show the effects of self-doubt and anger, but still seem like the same kids from Young Justice. Just a little older and less innocent. Bart, on the other hand, seemed even more oblivious than usual -- not one of my favorite changes.
Likewise the elder Titans were, for the most part, written well. I loved Kory's speech to Wonder Girl -- especially in the growth and maturity it showed. Gar Logan seemed a little juvenile from his recent appearances in the DCU, however. And Cyborg appearance was too brief to judge.
I love it. The idea of Cyborg, Changeling and Starfire helping to guide the younger heroes of the DCU is just perfect. The YJ kids' wariness in the face of perhaps their biggest mistake -- perfect. And the last page shocker was just icing on the cake. Johns sets up a perfect playground in this premiere issue, then gives the reader a tiny taste of things to come. I was literally begging for more.
Mike McKone has been one of my favorite artists since his stint on Exiles. His realism and cinematic layouts are perfect for Titans, lending the book just enough wow-factor without sacrificing the characterization that makes Johns work so special. The facial expressions add depth to the story without bringing a dark edge to a fairly tense first issue. And the double-page spread of San Francisco is just stunning.
Johns' and McKone's new designs for several of the characters have been rather controversial among YJ and Titans fans. They worked well for me, with some minor exceptions. I liked Superboy's non-costume, and thought that the previews of Wonder Girl and Impulse/Kid Flash's new costumes were fine. Changeling's new look is odd, however. And the more 'realistic' Bart doesn't look quite right to me, but neither complaint is enough to ruin the book. In fact, it might take an act of God to ruin this book for me -- based on the first issue, I'm committed to reading for the long haul.