To prepare for my future, with or without the Teen Titans, I must first understand my past.”
Raven has left the Teen Titans and fled to the suburbs where she experiences what it’s like to actually be a teenager in high school. However, there is something sinister lurking in the shadows and it threatens Raven’s new found peace.
Writer Marv Wolfman makes Raven #1 very accessible to new readers with a brief recap of what has happened to Raven and the Teen Titans. Instead of an omniscient narrator, Wolfman uses Raven as the narrator as she tells us what happened from her point of view. Not only does Wolfman use it as an effective narration tool, but it also allows him to peel back Raven’s layers and give us an inside look into her fears, her worries, and her joys. However, there are a few points that he doesn’t explain right away such as Raven’s new identity. It can be confusing when you don’t really know who he is referring to.
While he explores Raven’s character, Wolfman, along with artist Alisson Borges, builds a very familiar world with a suburban family and stereotypical high school. However, Wolfman and Borges add a little bit of humor, poking fun at the suburban family’s not-so-unique décor. It really shows off their chemistry when Raven’s internal monologue matches up perfectly with the images we see.
If you thought Wolfman and Borges’ storytelling couldn’t get any better, they weave in mystery and intrigue throughout the issue. They balance calm and placid suburban life with Raven’s supernatural and at this point mysterious life. On one page you witness a typical family dinner and then as you flip over you are thrown into her supernatural world with demonic beings trying to hunt Raven down.
The book flows very well up until the very end. When the book shifts to the last scene, it is very jarring. Wolfman and Borges take us from a battle scene straight to a fun carnival scene. You are pretty much left hanging, trying to figure out how you got to the Carnival. There isn’t any explanation; you just have to roll with it.
Borges shows a wide range of artistic ability with domestic scenes being juxtaposed with unbelievable supernatural scenes. She does seem to struggle a bit with facial expressions. While it might be realistic to have characters’ eyes and eyebrows a little asymmetrical it really stands out and can distract from the story. Borges also seems to be influenced by Japanese animation as some of Raven’s facial expressions are ones you probably have never witnessed in your life. One panel displaying Raven with wide eyes but small pupils and oddly biting on her lip really stood out as extremely strange.
Borges does excel with panel creativity. One action scene especially stood out as Borges has Raven’s body overlap the panels below it. It creates a sense of motion as the upper panel flows into the bottom ones. There was also another unique panel design where she used a thought bubble to show us exactly what Raven is thinking.
Colorist Blond does an expert job of accentuating Borges’ artwork especially when it shifts from the idyllic suburban life to the supernatural terrors. The difference in lighting is stark with bright whites in the suburban life and different shades of reds and blues during the supernatural scenes.
Raven #1 is a solid entry. The story is compelling with plenty of mystery and it let’s us really look into Raven’s character while also being easily accessible to new readers with a great use of Raven narrating the story to catch you up on what has previously happened with Raven. There are some issues with the story especially towards the end where the flow is broken and you are left hanging trying to figure out what is going on. Borges’ artwork is for the most part good; she uses some interesting panel layouts, but struggles a little bit when it comes to facial expressions. If you are looking for a Supernatural mystery Raven #1 will fill that spot perfectly!
- Great chemistry between Wolfman and Borges; the words and art really match up well
- Solid characterization of Raven
- The juxtaposition between supernatural mysteries and placid suburban life
- Facial expressions need work in a few panels
- Flow is broken in the final scene; it’s very confusing