The Teen Titans have struggled to find itself after Geoff Johns departure from the series. While many creative teams have tried to recapture what makes the Teen Titans a special franchise within DC Comics. The New 52’s attempt was by far the worst attempt at revitalizing the Teen Titans as the characters involved lost what made so many people love them and they became unidentifiable. But now with DC Rebirth the Teen Tians have another chance at a fresh start.
This time around Benjamin Percy has taken been given the chance to give his take on the Teen Titans. While the Teen Titans will always be something that I look to get into the real draw for this series for me is Percy as the writer of the series. He has delivered some excellent work over on Green Arrow thus far. His work on that series has me very interested to see how he does with a team book like Teen Titans. So with that said let’s see how exactly Teen Titans: Rebirth #1 turns out.
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Jonboy Meyers
Colorist: Jim Charalampidis
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Somewhere in Los Angeles Beast Boy has used his uncle’s money to rent out a mansion where he is throwing a party. As Beast Boy enjoys himself he thinks back to how Tim Drake mentioned his need for attention. This thought makes Beast Boy sad as he remembers that Tim is now dead. He doesn’t dwell on his sorrow for long as a cute girl named Tyra approaches him.
Beast Boy convinces Tyra to go into the pool with him. As they have fun together Beast Boy transforms into a shark which scares Tyra right out of the pool. As she is getting out Tyra yells at Beast Boy for pulling a prank on her and leaves him alone in the pool.
As Beast Boy thinks about how Tim was right about him someone uses a taser on the pool to knock Beast Boy out. The person in the shadows remarks “One down. Three to go.”
In the Island of Torando, Caribbean Starfire is walking through a market area with a police officer as her escort. They suddenly stop as the officer needs to get some rest due to the heat, though Starfire is loving the weather. The officer inquiries into why Starfire is on the island in the first place. Starfire says she is there to save everyone there from having to suffer through being a slave. She goes on to say that she wants to work with the police to for a task force to help her stop the slavery going on in the island.
Starfire then goes out on her own to walk on the beach. There she thinks about how Dick Grayson turned down her offer to join her so he could get away after Tim’s death.
She suddenly hears a child’s scream and notices someone is trying to kidnap the kid. She quickly subdues the kidnapper with a Starbolt. The kidnapper begs for mercy as someone put him up to it. Before Starfire can get an answer she gets knocked out from behind by a person in the shadows.
Elsewhere, Raven uses her powers to sneak into an art museum in New York City after hours. A security guard catches her but Raven quickly uses her powers to have him let her through freely. As she walks through the museum she thinks of how it is the one place she can be alone with her thoughts. Unfortunately for her those thoughts soon make her see Trigon in one of the paintings and she begins running through the museum in fear.
As she runs through the museum Raven tries to regain her composure but she is unsuccessful. She is soon comes face to face with a beast in the shadows that intensifies her fear to the point of being knocked unconscious. Before she loses complete consciousness she sees a person in the shadows with the beast.
Over in Central City Wally West overhears some construction worker complaining about having to repave another road after some speedsters destroyed it again. As Wally thinks about how everyone around him continue to tell him to slow down about becoming an adult he sees someone robbing a store. Wally speeds into action and grabs the money the robber stole. Unfortunately for Wally he still can’t control his speed and it takes him a bit to figure out how to come to complete stop back where he originally caught the robber. The police think that Wally is the person that robbed the store since he is wearing a similar hoodie to the criminal. Before the police can catch him Wally runs away.
As Wally runs through the city he changes into his Kid Flash costume. While he continues to run Wally thinks about how being Kid Flash is his opportunity to do something good and how he won’t screw it up.
Kid Flash soon runs into a person passed out on the streets. When he goes to check on the person he finds out that it is just a dummy robot. The robot suddenly releases a gas that knocks Kid Flash out. The person in the shadows seen before appears once again as Kid Flash is passing out.
Sometime later Beast Boy, Kid Flash, Raven and Starfire wake up to find themselves drugged and confide to electrified shackles. Beast Boy tries to transform but is shocked by his restraints. Starfire reveals that the shackles placed on them where forged with power inhibitors to stop them from escaping.
Raven suddenly senses someone else in the room with them. The person in the shadows suddenly appears and we see Robin (Damian Wayne) with Goliath by his side. Robin snarkingly mentions how the four of them are probably wondering why he brought them together. End of issue.
The Good: With Teen Titans: Rebirth #1 Benjamin Percy goes with the classic route of getting the band back together. While this may seem like an introductory issue that has been done to death in other team books it was much needed for this series. After all the trouble the Teen Titans series has had the past few years Percy needed to re-establish who these characters are and the type of voice he is going for with each character. And when it comes to this Percy largely succeeds.
What’s most impressive about Teen Titans: Rebirth #1 is how Percy is able to create distinct voices for each member of the team. That is always the hardest thing to do when it comes to team books. This is because no matter what their will always be two or three characters that are the focal point of a team book. But luckily Percy avoids this pitfall in the opening issue.
It helps that Percy choose characters that make this series feel like a return to form with Robin, Kid Flash, Starfire, Beast Boy and Raven. Even with new people wearing the Robin and Kid Flash costumes Percy was able to maintain that aura that you were reading a Teen Titans comic book.
And with the approach of introducing the characters in their own short segments before Robin knocked them each out we were able to get into what each characters mentality is. Opening things up with Beast Boy was especially a good way to establish that there was a Teen Titans before but not dwell on it as being very important. And the way Percy worked in the previous Teen Titans into this was nice as it was more about adding to the ramifications of Tim Drakes death being felt everywhere and not just in the Batman books.
Beast Boy’s scene also helped establish that even though this may be an older version of the character he will still act as the little brother character of cast. The fact that Beast Boy realizes his own shortcomings as Tim’s words to him about need for attention gives the character some added depth. Seeing how even knowing this fact and Beast Boy still mess things up with a Tyra makes you wonder what Percy will do with his character growth in future issues.
I also enjoyed Starfire’s portrayal throughout this issue. Percy quickly establishes Starfire as someone with much more depth than just sex symbol. Here Percy uses Starfire’s background to make it her mission to save those who may suffer through what she did. It instantly makes her much more likeable as she is someone now that looks out for others. I also like how this extends to those close to her as Percy establishes how she still loves Nighwing and tried to help him out after Tim’s death. This all helps to establish the big sister role that Starfire will most likely be taking in this series.
One of the most interesting things to see in this issue is Kid Flash in action for the first time. This issue clearly takes place after the current arc over in The Flash which still hasn’t had Wally West fully take on the role of Kid Flash. While this spoiler is a bit upsetting as a fan of the current Flash series I did like how Percy established Wally’s character in this series. With there being two Wally’s running around, both the classic and New 52 versions, Percy needed to show us how this Wally is different. Seeing how this Wally is trying to use his role as Kid Flash as a way to make his life better makes readers easily behind him.
It was also nice that Percy added in the fact that Wally still does not firm control of the Speedforce. This gives him different something to improve on compared Barry Allen and the other Wally West. Hopefully with Percy highlighting this part of Wally’s character that we see how he evolves in his use of the Speedforce.
Seeing how Damian used all of these character traits to his advantage was also the perfect way to introduce his character. This choice by Percy helps to establish who this version of Robin is even if readers aren’t familiar with Damian Wayne. While Damian is forcing his way into being the leader of the Teen Titans I’m glad that it won’t be an automatic for him. Percy clearly establishes that there will the team won’t trust Damian right away with how Beast Boy and others initial reactions to being imprisoned. It provides a nice way to make this new era of the Teen Titans different as Robin is usually the character the team trusts the most. And as a fan of the character I enjoyed seeing Goliath by Robin’s side as he is a unique addition to the cast with how loyal he is to Damian.
Adding to the enjoyment of this issue was Jonboy Meyers anime-esque art style. Meyers art adds to the youthfulness of the characters involved. I also enjoyed how Meyers drew the various characters in action. His style had each display of power standout especially Kid Flash’s scene. He gave a great sense of motion as Kid Flash was unable to stop right away after catching the robber.
The Bad: The only problem I had with this issue is Raven’s character introduction. While I understand that Trigon will always be a big part of the character I wish Percy would’ve done something different. At this point we have seen way too much of Raven’s relationship with her father Trigon. As a character Raven needs more to be able to stand out on her own. For now this just made her look like a one dimensional character as she is unable to escape the thing that has been with her since she was introduced back in 1980.
Overall: Teen Titans: Rebirth #1 did exactly what it needed to do to breathe new life into the franchise. Benjamin Percy does a good job giving us an idea of where Robin, Beast Boy, Starfire, Kid Flash and Raven are in their lives and what their current mentality is. This introduction helps set up whatever Percy had Robin assemble the Teen Titans for as now we know who they all are. Jonboy Meyers art style was a welcome addition as his art brought a lot of energy to every panel. With both the story and artwork working together Teen Titans looks to be in great shape moving forward.