Written By: Dan Abnett
Art By: Brett Booth
Inks By: Norm Rapmund
Color Art By: Andrew Dalhouse
If you remember back to 2011, there was a lot of excitement coming out of the New 52. At the time, we may have been blinded by newness in a lot of cases, as the quality was not as strong as initially thought, or very quickly dropped off. After that, there’s a modicum of trepidation going into this latest DC relaunch. While there are some books that I wouldn’t say are world changers, the overall tone and feel of the books, across the line, is a big step forward from where DC was even earlier this year. One of the floundering lines was Titans/Teen Titans, so this relaunch held high hopes for me. Thankfully, it looks like the series will follow in the path of the Rebirth issue.
I’ll come clean, I don’t have a huge amount of familiarity with the Teen Titans, so most of these characters are a little foreign to me. With that in mind, I found myself compelled by Abnett’s characterization in this issue. All the characters have a distinct, interesting voice, and the characters I do know (Wally and Dick) appear to be true to their history. Also, I usually can’t stand the new interpretation of Arsenal, but he wasn’t too over the top here.
What really stood out to me was the overall tone. Even though there is a potentially universe altering stakes in Wally’s return and the watching, it’s a very light book in terms of the Titans interactions with each other. I’m all for some grim and gritty when necessary, but when you get this team together, the lighter tone always does wonders; and it’s exactly what DC needed. The one fault I had with this story was the amount of recap we got in the beginning. A lot of that would’ve fit much more easily into the Rebirth issue rather than this number one. Once we got into the meat of the story, and the villain for this arc was revealed at the end, it felt like a quality, old-school DC story. While the book isn’t going to set the world on fire, it’s a decent book with characters that have been underutilized in the recent years.
The art in this book was what had me a little concerned. For Brett Booth, history has shown that there are times I really enjoy his art, but in the recent past, it’s felt a little stiff and humongous. Thankfully, he looks to be back to his stronger style here, as the storytelling was much more fluid. His characters certainly look similar, but I didn’t ever find myself confused as to who was who. If you’re not familiar with Booth’s work, it’s a product of the Image boom in the 90s, but slightly more clean. He also tends to have some unique layouts, which are effective in this issue. My one gripe is the art seemed to be a bit too much. I’ve seen Dalhouse’s work before, and it’s been much stronger. This had the same problem that a lot of indie books I review do, the palette was far too rendered and photoshop effect heavy. The bright colored designs are enough for detailing, the skin tones don’t need as much shading to contrast it. That said, it was by no means a massive hindrance to the issue, more something that could be ironed out going forward.
As DC continues to readjust the tone of their line, they’re bringing back some much needed quality. I’d love to hear what a long time Teen Titan fan thinks of this issue, but for me, it’s definitely worth a look.
Rating: 4 Tricks out of 5