Review – Teen Titans Academy #1: Orientation Day

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Teen Titans Academy #1 cover, via DC Comics.

Teen Titans Academy #1 – Tim Sheridan, Writer; Rafa Sandoval, Penciller; Jordi Tarragona, Inker; Alejandro Sanchez, Colorist

Ray – 6/10

Ray: The Teen Titans franchise has been in trouble for a while, bogged down with constantly shifting rosters, an overly dark tone, and a lack of consistent direction. This new status quo—setting up the Tower as a place for the New Teen Titans veterans to run a school for young metas who will become future Titans—has a lot of promise, as does the choice to name it after Roy Harper (although it’s kind of funny that Roy has already been confirmed to return from the dead in this same relaunch). The problem is, this first issue—which follows up from a chaotic Future State mini that picked up with most of these characters already dead in an attack on the tower—tries to do a lot and may miss the boat on the most important element. That is, who are these kids and why should we care about most of them? While a whole freshman class is introduced, it seems to be the veterans getting most of the attention.

Welcome to the tower. Via DC Comics.

Writer Sheridan has gone all-in on introducing the Red X identity into Nightwing’s backstory, and it seems like the masked vigilante has a cult following among the new kids. With Starfire as headmistress, Nightwing as the lead instructor, and Cyborg, Troia, Beast Boy, and Raven (who was in high school in her last regular run) as the teachers, it’s a good focus for these fan favorites. The kids, though, are mostly ciphers. Some have intriguing appearances (a gorilla teen, a sentient non-binary person made of rags), others powerful abilities and volatile personalities. Existing characters like Bunker, Red Arrow, Vulcan, and even Shazam are lurking around the fringes, but are lucky to get a line or two. My personal favorites are probably a trio of mutated Bat-kids from Gotham. But this first issue throws so much at the page it feels more like a cliffs-notes preview of what’s to come, rather than a proper first issue.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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