Titans United #1 – Cavan Scott, Writer; Jose Luis, Penciller; Jonas Trinidade, Inker; Rex Lokus, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: It’s been a while since we got a Teen Titans book that felt like it captured the vibe of the original team. Too many are bogged down by overly cosmic stories, gritty and violent tones, and new characters who the audience isn’t attached to. This new series by Cavan Scott seems like it’s trying to capture the audience of the R-rated TV series, but it actually winds up hewing closer to the classic comic style—even if the team is a little odd. It has mainstays Nightwing, Raven, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Donna Troy—but also wild cards Conner Kent and Jason Todd, who seem sort of out of place. But there’s no time to wonder how this team got together, because they’re faced with a massive threat.
That would be a generic ex-con who suddenly starts manifesting superpowers—starting with heat vision that tears apart half a city block. As the Titans start showing up one by one, it becomes clear that these aren’t just random powers—he’s taking powers from the Titans, starting with Superboy and moving on to Raven and Starfire. And as he gets overloaded with power, he becomes increasingly unstable and threatens to detonate like a nuclear bomb in the middle of the city. The Titans manage to neutralize the threat—but not without casualties, and not without serious injuries to both Raven and Superboy. It’s a fast-paced battle sequence that delivers in action and tension in spades.
Things start to fall apart a little when we get back to base, though, and it can be traced down to one person—Jason Todd. Why the rogue Robin is on the team is never explained, and after the last few pages it’s not clear why they tolerate him. As soon as Conner wakes up, Jason is immediately insulting to him and seems to want to pick a fight. I get that he’s the wild card, but it feels like his characterization has taken a major step back here. The ending brings in more Titans as well as a very unexpected villain, and makes me think this could be a fun, fast-paced comic. I just wish I knew a little better which versions of the characters I was supposed to be following right now, because it doesn’t quite sync up with any version.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.