Comic Relief: ‘Teen Titans (2016), Vol 1: Damian Knows Best’

Alright folks, we’re back with another edition of ‘COMIC RELIEF’ the place where Carl Randers, Jack Stevens, and I get together and discuss some bits of nerd-dom with all of you. In the last (inaugural) edition – if you missed it, we discussed ‘Kingdom Come’ by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, and you can check it out here – we decided that we would be discussing ‘Teen Titans (2016) Vol 1: Damian Knows Best’, written by Benjamin Percy, with art by Khoi Pham, Jonboy Meyers, and Diogenes Neves.

It’s a pretty basic story and we get into it below, but essentially Robin (Damian Wayne) brings together (kidnaps) the Teen Titans because they are all being targeted by Ra’s Al Ghul’s crew of young assassins known as ‘The Demon’s Fist’. The crew must work together to fight said assassins and Ra’s Al Ghul in order to survive. I think that’s pretty much all you need to know, so let’s jump in!

Teen Titans (2016) Vol 1: Damian Knows Best – Benjamin Percy, Khoi Pham, Jonboy Meyers, Diogenes Neves

Randers: Alright. So table setting. This iteration of Teen Titans is the latest, from the most recent “relaunch” of DC’s books— DC Rebirth. Roster is Damien Wayne’s Robin, Kid Flash (Wallace West), Beast Boy, Raven, and Starfire. You may recognize Wallace West from the CW’s Flash series. Should be noted that there’s a lot of DC continuity stuff with that character and he is NOT the same as the traditional Wally West… who is white. And also exists in current continuity. I knew of [the Titans] as the teen analogs of the grown up Justice League so I never bothered. Even as a kid I never liked teens. I just wanted to be a grown up and read about grown up heroes, so I skipped Teen Titans. I watched Young Justice though.

Jack: My only reference point is the Teen Titans animated series, which I loved. I felt this was pretty similar in tone, which I liked.

Nick: Agreed. It seems the Titans always hit a certain vibe. Even in the GO series (which I only saw a bit of), it felt like it had that particular sense of humor

Randers: Right. So for this to be a “rebirth,” the roster didn’t really have any surprises. If you look through previous iterations it’s pretty much always constant with a couple variations. Even for someone who wasn’t too familiar it was exactly who I expected. And right out of the gate— I don’t line Damien Wayne. Haven’t since his introduction. Not in any format— animated movie or comic. Hard dislike.

Nick: Just too angsty and edgy for my tastes

Jack: I like the idea of him, but this interpretation didn’t do much for me. Like being torn between two warring families, and having a tie to both is a neat idea.

Randers: I haven’t seen a version of him that isn’t THIS version. He’s obnoxious in all of them and never really wins me over. Having recently seen Land Before Time, he reminds me of Cera (the three horn). She’s super obnoxious and really you’d wish they’d just leave her so you can enjoy the other, more pleasant characters. The story was fine. Typical “team coming together” stuff. My reaction the entire time was “this is why I don’t like teen books!”

Nick: I really didn’t like how easily they forgave him for kidnapping them. Like one second I thought he was gonna be the villain of the story, the next they care about his well-being.

Jack: I agree with all of this. He’s just kind of bratty

Nick: I liked Kid Flash, but I wasn’t previously aware of him and they really didn’t reveal much about any of the characters aside from Robin, so I feel I didn’t get the chance to care about him.

Jack: Yeah agreed. Nobody really had any Spotlight/character moments.

Randers: Haha. Sounds like we don’t have much to talk about with this one other than complaining about Robin.

Nick: This one didn’t really stand out for me at all.

Jack: Yeah pretty much. It seemed very by the numbers. Not bad by any means, but not exactly a page turner either. I love the group, but didn’t love this iteration.

That’s all folks! Yes, we certainly weren’t blown away by this one. But that’s part of the fun when you’re picking random books/stories to read – they’re not all gonna be winners. Hopefully the next one will capture our imaginations a little better. Maybe you felt differently? Let us know!

As a reminder, we try to pick comics that are easily accessible (both to get ahold of and to understand) so anything we read is available through ComiXology (which is owned by Amazon, just FYI), both Marvel and DC have their own digital comic sources, or you can support your local comic shop by picking up a hardcopy (I highly recommend Destiny City Comics in Tacoma, WA, who ship anywhere) so feel free to follow along and chime in with your thoughts, feelings, concerns, or considerations in the comments! Astonishing X-Men By Joss Whedon & John Cassaday Ultimate  Collection - Book 1 (9780785161943): Joss Whedon, John Cassaday: Books
‘Astonishing X-Men (Book 1)’ by Joss Whedon & John Cassaday (Retrieved from Google)

Next time on Comic Relief, we will be reading: Astonshing X-Men, Vol 1 – Gifted, written by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday and art by John Cassaday

Continue the conversation on social media:

Me: @NickIsRadford

Carl Randers: @FantasticDork

Jack Stevens: @Jackstandsup

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