“Teen Titans: Earth One” – Volume One (6 out of 10); Written by Jeff Lemire; Art by Terry Dodson & Various; Cover by Rachel Dodson, Terry Dodson; Published by DC Comics; Available Now.
Review by Trent Hunsaker
In the vein of “Superman: Earth One” and “Batman: Earth One,” DC published an updated take on its angsty adolescent heroes, the Teen Titans.
For the Superman and Batman Earth One titles, DC brought out the big guns, using all-star writers J. Michael Straczynski (Thor, Before Watchmen) and Geoff Johns (Green Lantern, Aquaman) respectively. Teen Titans is scribed by Jeff Lemire, a writer known for standing on the edges of the traditional DC story-lines (i.e. Animal Man, Green Arrow), whereas the two flag-ship titles were penned by creators from the mainstream of comic book continuity.
Lemire’s creator-owned work has established him as the go-to-guy for stories about young adults with a dark twist–see his award winning series “Sweet Tooth” and graphic novel “Essex County.” Readers familiar with Lemire’s previous work might carry expectations of the weird or slightly off into these graphic novel. Though expectations may be different than what is actually delivered on the pages.
While this is a very different take on the origin of the Teen Titans, it feels as though DC editorial had a strong idea for the story before it was given to Lemire–at least when compared to his creator-owned titles.
Without spoiling the reading experience of a well-written, well-drawn teen-angst super-hero origin story, I’ll say that the graphic novel has a feel as if the Superboy origin was put into a blender with Marvel’s “The Runaways” and served in a glass of ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars.”
The art is great. Terry Dodson’s work is perfect for the story. His style has just a hint of anime, a flavor that many young-adult readers will feel comforting, especially if they aren’t regular tights-and-capes comic readers.
Most Teen Titans fans are die-hards. I doubt this book will please the Titan uber-fangirls and fanboys. This is an original take on a group of characters that have seemingly and forever being haphazardly thrown together. What Lemire and his team did right in this Earth One version of the team, was give the characters a reason to be together, a reason that stands independent from the “put all the sidekicks on a team” mentality of the past.
That’s why I’m rating it 6 out of 10.
Trent Hunsaker is a podcaster and popculturalist. Most known for cohosting NetHeads on Kevin Smith’s SModcast Internet Radio, he also produces many of the podcasts on the A Part of Him Podcast Network. In his spare time he operates Death Ray Comics, sweats, and reads comics – but mostly just sweats.