DC Rebirth has officially hit a milestone—we have recast our current Teen Titans team!
As a long-standing Teen Titans stan, I’m always interested in what the forging of a new team looks like. Of course, you have to have a Robin…and because it’s Damian there is the undercurrent of the nefarious going on. I’m not going to spoil what writer Adam Glass lays down for Damian in Teen Titans Vol. 1: Full Throttle, the first collection of his new Teen Titans series with artist Bernard Chang, but he explores a solution to a pretty classic, ongoing Batman problem. By the end of this first book, I remain unconvinced that Damian’s plan is going to bear fruit (and if you’re up on current Teen Titans events, you know it leads to some serious consequences). However, I’m very much enjoying the exploration of why Damian is skulking around beneath the Teen Titans’ new base and what he is doing down there.
Honestly, Damian’s insistence that the Teen Titans come together to take care of the things that their mentors are either handling ineffectively—or ignoring entirely—feels very reminiscent of the original Young Justice team founded by Damian’s predecessor (and my personal favorite Robin), Tim Drake.
Fun fact: That very same Young Justice series was recently collected and rereleased for a whole new generation of readers. You should do yourself a favor and pick up the first e-book right here.
If you’re a DCComics.com regular, you already know how much love I have for the Teen Titans and how hard I stan Wally West as well. “Wally Two” (as he is in called in Full Throttle in my absolute favorite joke of the collection), is amongst Damian’s first recruits along with Emiko Queen’s Red Arrow. I love that Emiko has graduated from the Speedy moniker (even though I love the superhero name Speedy so, so much!), and is fully embracing her badass nature. I love even more that Emiko and Wally are at odds throughout this volume as they both struggle to decide what their respective places are in this updated Teen Titans, while the picture of exactly what the team looks like is coming together before their faces. Glass positions the characters at odds for most of this first volume, which allows for a bunch of great jokes where the names “Flash!” and “Arrow!” are thrown back and forth like insults.
Perhaps those moments of conflict aren’t the subtlest nods back to Arrow and The Flash and the rest of the DCTV slate, but I chuckled when reading them on panel.
One of the most interesting members of the new team is also one of the most recently created. Djinn is a really interesting take on the role Raven traditionally serves within the Teen Titans lineup. Chang, who is joined here by Aquaman's Robson Rocha for a chapter, renders her in absolutely stunning art. Chang's work is always stellar. I admire the love and hard work he pours into panel after panel, especially when he’s penciling characters we aren’t as familiar with as Robin or Kid Flash.
Alongside Djinn we’re also introduced to Roundhouse. In many ways, Roundhouse is the best of both worlds. He has metahuman powers, which make him a physical asset to the team coupled with an extremely high level of intelligence. Honestly, he reminds me of the Batman of China (check out New Super-Man for more of him and his Robin robot!), only with much greater charm. Roundhouse’s sweet personality is probably to offset Crush, the daughter of Lobo who inherited her father’s strength and base-level personality.
The classic trappings of an emerging young superhero team are in place across Full Throttle—the petty fights, the large-scale battles, the updated costumes and the powers pushed to their limits. All the tropes we simply don’t have time for in a Justice League book because those peeps have bigger fish to fry. Plus, Chang’s art makes every page stunning to behold. Even when Damian is kicking the snot out of Black Mask in a sauna you can feel the childish glee as it leaps up the page and becomes palpable in the shared ephemera between reader and story.
While this volume technically isn’t the beginning of Rebirth’s ongoing Teen Titans series, DC has numbered it as a first volume and I think it’s a great jumping on point. You don’t need to know anything that happened prior to it—it’s a fresh start. If you or someone you know digs Young Justice or Titans on DC Universe, or digs young superheroes in general, Teen Titans Vol. 1: Full Throttle is a great way to explore what the team looks like in comic book continuity right now. Best of all, if you are super into it, you know there’s more from Robin, Kid Flash, Red Arrow, Crush, Roundhouse and Djinn to come!
Ashley V. Robinson writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com and is a regular contributor to the Couch Club, our weekly television column. You can find her on Twitter at @AshleyVRobinson and on the Jawiin YouTube channel.