Title: Teen Titans Vol. 1: Damian Knows Best
Publisher: DC Comics
Lenght: 154 pages
The story of this book is not original: a group of people who barely know each other have to overcome their differences to defeat their enemies. The only thing that saved it from being completely forgettable was Damian and his character arc. He was well-written, his goals and relationships clear and touching. He went from cocky self-assured lone wolf to someone willing to sacrifice himself for his friends. He easily stole the whole book and every page with him was a joy.
The only problem with a storyline based on „Damian turns out to be a good person after all“ is that we’ve already seen this exact storyline several times already and it always goes the same, until he gets rebooted and de-aged again. As a Damian fan, it’s exhausting and frankly annoying. Yes, Damian is a good person with a troubled past fighting to stay good. That is a good base for a character, but after the amazing Batman and Robin run by Peter J. Tomasi, I’m expecting to move past that.
The other problem with Damian outshining everyone else so spectacularly is that this is supposed to be a team book, despite not being written that way. The other members of Teen Titans might as well be mannequins with notes on them for their dialogues, for all the personality they have. Starfire is the only one who gets to be occasionally interesting, and her dialogue is completely hamfisted.
Demon’s Fish, the enemy team, is interesting, but aside Mara, their leader, none of them have a real reason to be here. According to the plot, all of them chose their own Teen Titan nemesis based on some criteria, except we never learn what those are.
All the characters give long speeches about friendship and change their behavior, as if they underwent a complex character development, but they didn’t. They spend most of their short time together fighting, but when the story needs them to be friends, they suddenly are. It’s all very abrupt and a classic case of telling, not showing.
There are two art styles in this book. The first half, done by Jonboy Meyers, didn’t fit the story much. The colorful angular style seemed at odds with the story. The second half of the book was done by Khoi Pham, whose fluid and soft style fit the book much better.
Overall, the book is sadly mediocre. It gets better in the second half, but not by much. Maybe now that the basics are set, the next book can be much more solid.