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Teen Titans: Earth One: Volume One (DC Comics, 2014; OGN)

We’ve visited the Gotham of Earth One; now it’s time to check in with the Teen Titans.

Successful revamps of Batman are plentiful, but the Teen Titans have had fewer. Lemire starts of with nigh unrecognizable iterations of Raven, Tara Markov, Victor Stone, Garfield Logan, and Joey Wilson. His story isn’t about the Teen Titans punching bad guys; it’s about a group of kids who don’t have much in common coming together to take on something larger than they are. I like that it roots itself in relationship-building first; and as the book plays on, flashes of the heroes we know and love become more frequent. But this is long-form storytelling, and it will take more than one volume for the team to gel.

And Jeff Lemire’s take on these characters is an even greater departure than Johns’s take on Batman was. That’s probably for the best, as it avoids comparisons to their most recognizable forms. More than that, though, a contemporary Teen Titans must—and Earth One does—acknowledge the impact of another superhero teen book on the comics landscape: Runaways. The two share unmistakeable elements—teen characters coming into newfound powers, rebelling against authority, and fighting against the legacies of their parents. But rather than writing a Runaways clone, Lemire has taken that influence and layered it with sci-fi conspiracy. It stands on its own legs.

Any comic with Terry Dodson line-work is a good-looking comic. His pencils—with inks by Rachel Dodson and Cam Smith—are definitely more stylized than I’m used to seeing in his work, but I like the look. The book splits its time between New Mexico and Oregon; as such, there are some beautiful outdoor scenes—Brad Anderson and Terry Dodson’s colors are spectacular in those moments.

I’m on board for more Teen Titans: Earth One. There are a lot of good things going on in this book, and I am interested to see how things develop. If you are looking for more of the classic Wolfman/Pérez, this isn’t that. But if you’re into the idea of what the Teen Titans look like as a contemporary, rebellious group of kids thrown together to fight a mad science conspiracy, you’re in the right place.

Collected in

  • Teen Titans: Earth One, Vol. 1 (OGN)


Writer: Jeff Lemire | Penciller: Terry Dodson | Inker: Rachel Dodson with Cam Smith | Colorist: Brad Anderson with Terry Dodson | Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher

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