Book Reviews Comics

#FridayReads -Teen Titans (2011 [Vol. IV]), Vol. 1: It’s Our Right To Fight

Yes, I'm aware that it's a Saturday, but I won't let that stop me.

You know, except for  not reading The Casual Vacancy – and not writing this post on the correct day – I’m on track to hitting most of my February goals. I believe that’s what you would call progress.

You gotta appreciate the small things.

Considering that I started this on a Friday, I’d like to contribute my review of volume 1 of Scott Lobdell’s run of Teen Titans to the Friday Reads tag. In the New 52 iteration of my favorite teenaged superhero crew, we follow Red Robin as he tries to stop the nefarious organization, N.O.W.H.E.R.E., from kidnapping and experimenting on teenaged metahumans. Along the way, Red Robin builds a team that consists of old favorites like Kid Flash, Superboy, and Wonder Girl, as well as newcomers Bunker, Skritter, and Solstice. As far as Teen Titans lineups go, this one is definitely worth your curiosity.

When I was originally supposed to register this trade on my Goodreads account, the reviews for this version of Teen Titans were not good. Or rather, they were worrying. The general consensus seemed to be that it started off good and interesting, then quickly got out of hand. Because I still haven’t read the second trade, I won’t be able to correctly judge the series as a whole. However, I do feel like this first arc is a good read.

As far as teams go, I like that the legacy characters are not people that I haven’t known to be traditionally a part of the Teen Titans lineup. I personally don’t care for Tim Drake after Damian Wayne beat him up, but seeing him in this de facto leader role definitely makes him a great deal more interesting. Superboy’s still an asshole, in every iteration, but he’s a beast and I can respect that. I am partial to Donna Troy’s Wonder Girl because I like the aesthetic, but Cassie Sandsmark is coming off as pretty damn awesome at the moment. I have never seen Bart Allen be the Kid Flash in the Titans, but I guess someone has to replace Wally West when he joins the Justice League.

I appreciate the newer characters for what they are: new and interesting. Miguel Jose Barragan, aka Bunker, is possibly the most optimistic character I have seen in a long time. Kiran Singh’s Solstice comes in a close second, but that’s only because she’s literally made of a possibly gaseous substance and looks like the night’s sky. I like that Celine Patterson is here for the black girls, but she’s an insectoid who apparently has an easily manipulated mind when she’s in that form. I don’t know how I feel about that.

I like this run well enough, but I do have some issues with it. I feel like the use of Grymm was a waste. Like he was introduced as this possibly scary minor foe, but he ended up being a side adventure at best. And what made it worse was that three members faced off against this guy, but none of them bring him up to the rest of the team when they’re reunited. Like, a villain just controlled your team mates mind, and you don’t think that that’s a necessary concern for the rest of the team?

There’s also the use of Danny the Street. Why, in heaven’s name, is there a metahuman that literally turns into a street to create intradimensional doorways? I understand how useful that would be, but I’m really curious as to how he’s able to do that whilst still apparently being undercover and held captive. And we never get to see this kid’s face, although we do hear his voice early on when he and Bart are block mates at N.O.W.H.E.R.E.’s facility.

I don’t like that Superboy is essentially a science experiment, but I never know what DC wants me to do with the character. I’m pretty sure that this version of Superboy is Kon-El, and I’m actually very interested in his possible relationship with Wonder Girl, but he too much mirrors Power Boy, from the 2008 Titans run, for me. He’s an asshole when you meet him, he has a relationship with a superheroine that could keep up with him, and then he dies. I mean, this Superboy is probably a MUCH better person than that Power Boy, and I’ll at least get to spend some time with him, but I get the feeling that DC just does not care for teenaged Supermen. It does not help that neither have them have actual names when they’re introduced.

Yet and still, I enjoyed this Teen Titans arc. It’s a lot better than the last one I read, even though that might not seem like much of a recommendation to other people. Still, I like the fact that this run introduces new characters and actually makes use of them instead of using them for canon fodder, which was my biggest issue with the 2008 run.

Unfortunately, I still have the second trade in this series to read, and that’s where the reviews really get scathing. Hopefully, it’s all just a matter of opinion, and I’ll find it even more not as bad than I felt this one was.

Hopefully, but I’m not asking for much.

If you would like to keep up with me and my adventures in appreciating the many different types of literature, please be sure to subscribe to this blog. If you just want to chat with me about these particular comics, make sure to hit me up in the comment section.

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