Teen Titans #1
Story & Visuals by Benjamin Percy & Jonboy Meyers
Colors by Jim Charalampidis
Lettering by Corey Breen
Published by DC Comics
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
”Join me... I dare you.”
Damian Wayne goes from kidnapper to leader in Teen Titans #1. After getting the roll call out of the way during Teen Titans: Rebirth #1, writer Benjamin Percy delivers a character focused and propulsive opening issue. Not only does Percy bring some of the wit and heart that makes his Green Arrow issues so readable, but he also quickly establishes the odds stacked against the teen heroes with the reappearance of an A-list DC villain.
While Percy’s script rockets along, he is backed by the dynamic manga-inspired pencils of Jonboy Meyers and the exciting colors of Jim Charalampidis. Both men’s work captures the youthful energy of the characters and their fighting style as well as finding a nice balance between moody and muddy thanks to the colors. Though the Titans have had a rough go of it of late, Teen Titans #1 puts them back on the scene with a focused and entertaining debut.
It is Damian Wayne’s 13th birthday and as you would expect, he’s brooding. Last we saw the son of Batman, he was kidnapping a team of teen superheroes, judging them, and finding them wanting. Smartly, Percy starts this first issue proper quietly with an intimate scene between Damian and Alfred. Percy makes great use of the entire cast later in the issue, but it is his focus on Damian that really sells this debut. His Damian is contemplative, lonely, but most of all driven; driven to rise to the occasion as a hero and inspire his new team to do the same. Early in the issue he says, through narration, “I have stood in the shadow of great men. No longer, I burn too brightly for that,” and by the time the issue reaches its end, you fully believe it.
Percy also allows this quiet scenes to provide context for Damian’s thinking during events of Teen Titans: Rebirth. After the opening, Percy cuts back to Damian’s underground lair and presents readers to the characters as a unit. Rendered with an eye for fast-paced action by Jonboy Meyers, the Titans’ work together to break their bonds and demand answers from Damian, who replies with a classic bit of Wayne “wit”; it was all a test. Of course, he has some major ulterior motives for gathering the team, but that doesn’t negate how wrong he is or how well the team works together.
Percy plays these moments well, sidestepping the usual hand-wringing and needless scraps that usually happen early in a team=up and slotting Damian easily into his role as leader by making him sincere instead of his usual smug self. Thanks to this attention to character, Teen Titans #1 feels more vital than it has in a long time.
And a huge part of that vitality is the art of Jonboy Meyers. Even in the quieter scenes Meyers’ pencils vibrate with energy due to his dynamic points of view and lithely expressive characters. Starting with a single page splash that perfectly captures the personalities of Damian and Alfred, Meyers’ pencils throughout capture each character’s essence and skills in the field through well-blocked and tightly-packed panels. The pencils are also given a extra layer of readability thanks to the colors of Jim Charalampidis. Reminiscent of the color scheme of the original Teen Titans cartoon series, Charalampidis darkens the entire issue but not enough to make it dour or lose the vibrancy of each hero’s costume. Though Jonboy Meyers’ time on the title will prove short, Teen Titans #1 proves that he, along with Jim Charalampidis, made the most out of every page.
Wildn hearts run free but the Titans find that they are stronger together in a debut issue that finally puts the teen super team back in the spotlight they deserve. Benjamin Percy, Jonboy Meyers, and Jim Charalampidis don’t try to over-complicate this return, nor do they try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the team’s DNA. They simply get back down to basics and let the story stand on its own. Though it is early days for this new, but familiar lineup Teen Titans #1 proves that they are more than capable of standing together and building their own legacy.