Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Release Day Review: Teen Titans: Earth One Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire, Terry Dodson (Illustrator)

Release Date: November 25, 2014
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: DC
Author Links: Goodreads | Website

A new original graphic novel in DC's popular "Earth One" series, TEEN TITANS: EARTH ONE follows in the tradition of SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE and BATMAN: EARTH ONE, both of which were #1 New York Times bestsellers.
The Teen Titans never felt like normal kids... but they had no idea how right they were. Their seemingly idyllic Oregon upbringing hides a secret -- one that will bring killers, shamans, and extraterrestrials down on their heads, and force them into an alliance that could shake the planet to its foundations!
Superstars Jeff Lemire (ANIMAL MAN, GREEN ARROW) and Terry Dodson (WONDER WOMAN) reinvent DC's youngest heroes, with an all-new mythos in an all-new world!




Pretty cool retelling of the Teen Titans' origin story.
These Earth One books have been hit-or-miss for me, so I went into this hopeful, but not salivating. Earth One titles (in case you aren't familiar with them) are basically What If  stories, that re-imagine the beginnings of some of DC's most iconic characters. They don't fit into the continuity of the regular DC universe, so the authors can kind of do whatever they want, without it causing ripple effects. 

First off, for all the fans out there who have been screaming bloody murder over Starfire's over-sexualization in some of other titles?
You can officially put down your torches and pitchforks. The majority of this book, you only see her eyes (sort of), and when you finally do see her, she's wrapped up in cloth from the neck down.
Like a mummy!


Ok. In this story, most of the (eventual) Teen Titans (Cyborg, Terra, Beast Boy, and Jericho) meet in high school.
Two exceptions.
Starfire, whose alien DNA has been used for experiments, and is currently in stasis at a lab.
And Raven, who's not the daughter of a demon in this one, but a Native American with somewhat undefined powers.
The other four kids are seemingly normal teenagers until they all start hearing Starfire's voice n their heads, asking for help. The voice triggers the different latent powers in each of them to go into some sort of  hyper-drive.
Except Jericho.
He seemingly remains a normal kid.
Hmmmm.

The plot reminded me of  Kelley Armstrong's young adult trilogy, Darkness Rising. In that one, a group of teenagers lived in a isolated town, blissfully unaware that the company their parents work for had been injecting them with stuff that eventually gives them supernatural powers. 
An experimental town, so to speak.
Now, I'm not suggesting that Jeff Lemire ripped-off a young adult series. I doubt he's ever even heard of it. But if you know the plot of those books, then you'll understand the comparison.
The kids in Earth One are also 'experiments', and are unaware of the part their parents played in their new abilities. Now they've gotta go on the run, search for answers, yadda, yadda, yadda.

The Terry Dodson's art fits with the feel of the book. It's got a cartoony vibe to it, without being weirdly exaggerated. Good stuff.
And this is really just sort of silly, but I'm wondering if anyone else thought the dark haired chick on the cover was Amanda Waller? Maybe because I'd been looking at a tiny cover on my computer, but I was actually surprised to realize that it was Raven.

Overall, I liked this one, and I'm interested in seeing where they go with this story.


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