Given how long the Teen Titans have been around, you’d think they’d have grown up already. In fact, the original trio of adolescent superheroes showed up in the mid-60s, then were revived in the 1970’s, revived again as the New Teen Titans in the 1980s. DC Comics re-relaunched Teen Titans in Nov 2011 as part of DC’s New 52 event. And now we have Teen Titans Rebirth. These teens must be getting a bit cranky: that’s a lotta birth events!
With a visual style reminiscent of the Netflix hit Sense8, this new, very modern reimagining of the Teen Titans starts with the mysterious Damian Wayne (Robin, son of Batman) finding and kidnapping each of the titans from their typical environments. He starts with Beast Boy, who’s hosting an epic Hollywood rave at a luxurious home he’s rented for the occasion. The story then switches to Starfire, who’s at an island in the Caribbean rescuing children from human trafficking, just to be kidnapped herself.
Next up is goth girl Raven, who haunts New York City museums after hours to avoid being overwhelmed: she’s an empath. But that’s not enough to stop her also being zapped and kidnapped. The newest member of the gang, Kid Flash, lives in a gritty, urban Central City and seems to be a constant victim of racial profiling in a quite contemporary twist to the story.
The four of them wake up chained to the wall of a cave with Robin “son of Batman”, who asks them: “You’re probably wondering why I’ve brought us all together…”
There’s an irresistible appeal to teen superheroes, because the interior dialog of any hero wrestling with good versus evil is amplified by the adolescent angst. With Teen Titans Rebirth it’s clear we’re going to have another take on this story through the five rather archetypal teens, though certainly our first full glimpse of Robin makes him look pretty evil. But Robin, a bad guy? Nah, I can’t buy it.
The story and visuals by Ben Percy & Jonboy Meyers is certainly fun, bright, lively and accessible. Now if the story can keep up for the rest of this DC Comics series, it will indeed be a great rebirth of the Teen Titans. Stay tuned for Issue #2!
Teen Titans Rebirth #1, DC Comics, Published September 28, 2016. Story and visuals by Ben Percy & Jonboy Meyers, color by Jim Charalampidis, letters by Corey Breen, cover by Jonboy Meyers, variant cover by Evan Shaner.