Titans: Burning Rage #1 – Dan Jurgens, Writer/Artist; Scot Eaton, Penciller; Wayne Faucher, Inker; Jim Charalampidis, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: It’s Quite Decent. Yay!
Ray: Of all the properties to get the initial Walmart giant treatment, few had more to gain than Teen Titans – or just Titans. The property’s been languishing for years, with no team dynamics really clicking and the most iconic characters regularly split between two squads of different ages. Writer Dan Jurgens wisely eschews all ties to the existing continuity and goes for a back to basics approach, focusing on the famous TV Teen Titans cartoon team sans the now-promoted Cyborg. You’ve got Tim Drake as Robin leading a team of Raven, Starfire, and Beast Boy – all of indeterminate age and living on their own in a high-tech tower. The goal here is familiarity, and that pattern continues with the threats the team faces in the first issue. Jurgens does introduce an original villain – the Disruptor, a cruel mercenary who can shut down both technology and biological processes – but the overarching threat is the familiar one of HIVE.
After a chaotic opening battle where Disruptor manipulates the Titans, puts civilians in danger, and escapes with an experimental amplifier from STAR Labs, he’s able to get into HIVE’s inner circle – run by an unexpected villain – and puts together a team of the Fearsome Five, some of the Titans’ most iconic villains. Meanwhile, Robin attempts to get his team to function together better through an intense training session, but that’s hard to do when all Beast Boy wants is pizza. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but sometimes there doesn’t need to be. With only four members of the team to characterize, Jurgens does a good job with the entire cast and the villains are intimidating without being overly gritty. The Titans shouldn’t be a hard team to write, but the writers have found new and unique ways to mess with the team dynamic for years. No more, as going back to basics works effectively.
Corrina: Titans: Burning Rage #1 is clearly aimed at viewers of the original Teen Titans animated series, which was largely based on the classic Marv Wolfman/George Perez Teen Titans run. Of course, some adjustments have been made because Cyborg still has to belong to the Justice League. (GAH. I still hate that. Vic belongs with his buddy Gar and…nevermind, that’s an off-topic rant.) And, yes, this is Tim Drake, not Dick Grayson, but it works.
Let’s stay on topic to this story because Jurgens stays on-point with his team. For the first time in several years of Titans comics, this group does feel like a team. A team that is used to working together, that teases each other, and that wants to help each other. (Yes, Bendis is working on something similar with Young Justice but he still hasn’t created the cohesion that Jurgens manages in this issue.) That Jurgens adds in a new villain is a bonus, especially one that seems this formidable.
The art team has a terrific opening action segment, as each Titan faces the Disruptor, and it also manages to be playful as well later in the issue, with Gar’s hunger for the pizza.
The whole issue made me nostalgic for what used to be.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.