Teen Titans (2014) #1 (DC)

TT1
CREDIT: DC Comics

Rating: 3.5/5 – A ‘New’ Teen Titans That Feels Just Like the Last One.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

After Teen Titans was cancelled, it didn’t take long for a new series to be announced. With the cancellation and relaunch you’d assume that there would be some big changes, but not so here. The original team that came out of the New 52 relaunch are still the stars of this book, the difference comes in a new creative team and their different take on the characters. Writer Will Pfeifer and artist Kenneth Rocafort come on board this first issue and do a solid job of making it accessible to new readers, but may not do enough to bring those same readers back.

A school bus loaded with kids has been hijacked by a mysterious terrorist group that may or may not have ties to S.T.A.R. labs. As the bus races through Times Square it’s up to the Teen Titans to save the kids. It’s a simple premise, but the story is designed for the new reader to get a feel for the characters and understand a little more about each of their powers. Pfeifer does a nice job balancing the five member team, allowing each their own time to shine. Wonder Girl comes off as the most enjoyable, but the team as a whole has a nice dynamic to it. The story makes room for smaller plot points along the way that look as though they’ll be explored in further issues, but none of them really stand out as story lines you must come back for. Overall, the writing of these characters feels similar to what came before, the difference comes with the art.

Artist Kenneth Rocafort has built himself quite a fan base from his work at DC during his runs on Superman and Red Hood and the Outlaws. Getting another opportunity to draw younger heroes with the Teen Titans seems like a natural fit. His work is similar to Leinel Yu with more movement, but also less refined. His style may be new to some as it doesn’t necessarily fit a house style of art, but it’s a look that’s both unique and exciting. Without an inker, you can see the pencil lines filling in the blacks and shadows, letting you become closer to his process. Although it’s nice to see his pencil work, at times the lack of an inker makes the inanimate objects look off. For example, the school bus that we see throughout the issue clashes with solid yellows next to pencil filled blacks. Although it may not be noticeable by many readers, it gives some parts of the book an almost unnatural feel.

This relaunch is definitely highlighting the creative differences rather than the character and story changes. There’s nothing really so new or different in either the makeup of the team, or in the writing of these characters. It makes you wonder if this could have been branded a bit differently, keeping the same numbering, focusing more on the new creative team in it’s marketing without having to cancel the previous series. Given more time Pfeifer and Rocafort can surely make this book a solid monthly read, but this first issue seems like it’s more of what came before so why a new #1 (other than #1 issues sell better)? It’s not bad by any means, but it’s also not feeling different from what just came before.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
(shawn@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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