“I’ve lived in the shadows of great men. No longer. I burn too brightly for that.”
Last but not least, Damian Wayne finally emerges from the ashes of the DCYou! The son of DC’s greatest hero takes his first Rebirth role as leader of the Teen Titans. Green Arrow’s Benjamin Percy is the latest writer to tackle the unenviable task of the Teen Titans. After suffering from some lackluster tales in the New 52 era, the Justice League’s juniors were in need of a complete rehaul. Luckily, Percy and artist Jonboy Meyers are more than up to the task in Teen Titans #1
A Damian-led team already makes for an interesting premise, not to mention Percy’s use of some fan favorite superheroes. Beast Boy, Starfire, and Raven all return to their Teen glory in this issue. While Cyborg won’t be making any cameos it’s already entertaining to have most of the Cartoon Network show’s roster together again. While they may not have the same chemistry as the previous team there’s plenty of camaraderie to be had thanks to Damian’s clever and unsurprising manipulation. Percy has clearly done his research, moving away from the melodrama of the New 52 and creating a fun and lively world in which this team can grow.
The set-up is fairly simple: Damian is now a teenager. Eager to find his place in the world he sets out to create his own legacy as leader of the Teen Titans. As the focus is placed solely on Damian, and his motivation for getting the team together, this issue serves as more a companion than the next installment in the story. There’s no conflict to be found save for the young Wayne’s brash approach to friendship. While it’s touching to see Alfred and Damian share a moment, it’s a shame it had to come at the expense of his relationship with Bruce.
Utilizing some classic meta-commentary Percy writes a Robin who’s upset that he’s been left out of his father’s life, or really the entire Rebirth relaunch. Never one to go quietly, it’s no surprise he compensates by kidnapping his future teammates and forcing them to work together. Thankfully he’s as stubborn as he’s always been. Bringing this team together is how both Percy and Damian himself aim to make his mark on today’s comic shelves.
The story itself is a clever introduction to this new team, the glaring problem is the lack of direction. While not every story or comic needs an antagonist, a superteam does. Damian’s motivation to reform the Titans was enough to get things started but without a clear goal or motive there’s no reason for any of the other members to remain.
Percy gives Damian a heartfelt exchange to deliver his sympathetic reasons but it’s almost unbelievable that the rest of the team is so eager to move on. The brief battle sequence was an exhilarating way to start things: Damian and Goliath against the very team they hope to create. Unfortunately, the fight ends too quickly with every character ready to move on and become the Titans once more. Though the conflict could have used a little more room to breathe this issue begins the formative foundation for a truly new Teen Titans.
One of the more upsetting aspects of the book is the recently announced departure of series artist Jonboy Meyers. His work is once again a highlight of the book, managing to capture the energy and youth that the team is supposed to represent. While no one draws Damian quite like Patrick Gleason, he knows just how to encapsulate all of Damian’s arrogance and flaws into the small and unassuming frame of a 13-year-old.
Jim Charalampidis is once again a perfect match for Meyer’s work. His vibrant colors give an almost anime-like life to the pages. Considering the clear homage Percy is making to the Teen Titans of Cartoon Network, Meyer’s style seemed like a perfect compliment. Let’s hope this promising series doesn’t suffer from it’s creators’ “creative differences”.
Damian is once again the star of the show in Teen Titans #1. After spending the Rebirth issue in the shadows, it’s a delight to see him come into his own as a leader and a Robin. While it can feel a little corny his exchange with Alfred helps to contextualize where his head is at. Regardless, kidnapping your future team seems a bit extreme. This could have led to an interesting argument between the group, forcing the kidnappees to see the perspective of their kidnapper, but it quickly gets tossed aside as regular Bat-Behavior. However, this does little to slow the excellent pacing or hamper Percy’s great sense of humor. Clearly the Teen Titans were in need of more than a revamp. They were in need of blood both old and new. Luckily, they have a new leader brought to them by one of comics’ most notable writers. Arguably the best new comic character of the 21st century, Damian Wayne is in a perfect position to head this new, old team and become the Robin he was born to be.
- Fun and Entertaining Premise
- An Uncharacteristically Sympathetic Damian
- Meyer’s Fantastic Pages
- Lacks Conflict
- No Central Antagonist