Teen Titans: Now I Understand
I’m reading the classic Wolfman and Perez run on The New Teen Titans at the moment. Oh my. This is some great stuff. Even with some of the ’80s style of comic book writing that I find annoying, I am really enjoying this. Now, I understand the anger over the New 52 volumes of Teen Titans. I get because I’m, surprisingly, angry.
I’m amazed how much story Wolfman and Perez pack into every issue. And the end result isn’t cluttered. The narrative is innovative and willing to tackle some hard issues. The storytelling is wondrous with gripping plots that very rarely falter.
That’s not to say that New Teen Titans is perfect. There are issues with characterization that I find troublesome (but I chalk that up to the comic books of that era having a far starker view of good and bad than the modern era). The growth of Cyborg, Beast Boy/ Changeling, and Kid Flash are remarkably well done throughout these issues. But I’m not sure the same can be said for Raven or Starfire. Yes, they too grow as the series progresses. But they are such extremes that it is hard to reconcile them to the median morality. I’m especially not fond of Starfire’s character. She, honestly, should have a far harsher character than she is presented as having. She was a slave for six years after all. . .
Regardless, New Teen Titans is an amazing comic book. And probably would be far more amazing if I had read the series when I was younger.
I understand, now, why many fans of the Teen Titans wish for a return to the series’s golden age. Especially when the vagaries of comic books are taken into account.
The transition of DC to the New 52 is still controversial, even three years later. Could DC have carried on without the reboot? I think it could have, but the decision was made to wipe the slate clean. What is done is done, for good or bad.
The New 52 has been incredibly hit or miss. Some comic books carry on as if nothing happened (Green Lantern), some comic books have been reinvigorated (Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Aquaman,etc.), and some have been effectively ruined (Teen Titans).
The New 52 iteration of The Teen Titans is, from the three volumes I’ve read, a confused mess. There is a good idea within the series, but the execution is haphazard. Part of the blame must rest with the writer, but part of the blame must also rest with the editors.
Will The Teen Titans reach the heights it achieved under Wolfman and Perez or Johns again? Maybe if a really good writer pitches one hell of proposal.