Review – Teen Titans Academy #1
Writer: Tim Sheridan
Penciller: Rafa Sandoval
Inker: Jordi Tarragona
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez
Six of the original Teen Titans team members have reunited in order to teach a new generation of teens at the Roy Harper Titans Academy! Nightwing, Starfire, Raven, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Donna Troy are sharing their skills that they learned while growing up as Titans to show new superpowered teens how to be heroes. But with the lingering mystery of who is parading around as Red X, Nightwing and the rest of the team are uncertain how to approach this specific topic.
Throughout this first issue, the six original Titans introduce themselves as teachers and show the students what their time at the Academy will be like. As they welcome in a wide variety of super powered kids, we learn about the abilities and draw to the large cast of new characters being brought up by the original heroes. Characters like tech-genius Gorilla Gregg and the EMP powered hotshot named Brick stick out as fun new ideas while others like cylindrical shapeshifter named “Tooby” will assumedly be more fleshed out as future issues release. The most shocking inclusion however, is that of previously established DC alter-ego to Shazam, the young Billy Batson. Batson is the only previously known character of these new Titans and he is barely in the issue, but his inclusion is very shocking. Issue one encapsulates the first day of school feeling by showing the new kids moving in and getting introduction lectures from Titans as friendships and cliques begin to form.
The intrigue to this story mainly comes in 2 different forms. The first of which is seeing the original Teen Titans members interact and embark on a new journey of teaching new kids that were in the same spot as them years ago. The second is that of seeing all these new characters being introduced and getting to learn more about their powers and personalities. These two things are mainly tied together by the intrigue of the mysterious Red X. This character is one deeply rooted in the Titans past while at the same time very ominously a large part of these new Titans’ future.
Throughout the book, we see a lot of charming moments of the original Titans together again. As a big Titans fan, seeing them come together in teaching/leadership positions is a real treat. Also, seeing the current Teen Titans team as upperclassmen being out in the field is really cool. It gives fans of these new characters something to look forward to as they go through their enrollment and honors the older teens that have served as superheroes before the school was made.
Out of thew set of characters, the main focus seems to be on the hotheaded ginger named Brick. Brick seems to have energy blast related power that includes electromagnetic pulses, but comes across as one of the much more powerful kids. He seems to have quickly grabbed the attention of Donna Troy who is greatly interested in his capabilities and seems to specifically have a fascination with the Red X. As the first day winds down, we see this Red X discussion come to its’ head as someone gifts Nightwing the original Red X mask that he wore years ago during his birthday celebration, warranting a speech. And the loss of this mask later on is what leaves this issue off on a dramatic note.
The artwork throughout is very good overall, as the powers displayed and action within are done very dynamically. I will say that Brick does look very similarly to another student that shows up late, the only difference being their hair color. I don’t think these two are supposed to be related, so the similarity may prove to be more confusing as the series continues. Characters like Stitch and Gorilla Gregg are drawn very well in a more detailed way that their characters warrant without looking out of place in the rest of the artwork. Some of the artwork within is good enough to warrant them being made into a poster, such as Nightwing’s birthday party and the upperclassmen fighting as Teen Titans. Overall, I’m looking forward to seeing this art style benefit the series as we get more issues.
There are a few nitpicks I do have with this issue. Some small things that don’t come anywhere near ruining the issue, but still come across as very strange. The first of these things is Starfire’s eyes. This is something I didn’t notice on the first read through, but once I looked into her eyes I could never unsee it. Her eyes are completely white and comes across as blank windows into her soul. It comes across as a mistake that was forgotten rather than a stylistic choice. There are other artistically unique depictions within that make sense as artistic differences such as Nightwing’s unusual thickness as well as Cyborg’s fully silver depiction, but this specific Starfire change is borderline unsettling. Starfire also seems to be strangely into the Red X mask, alluding that she is attracted to it and its allure when having a personal conversation with Nightwing. Lastly, it’s kind of strange for Donna to exclaim to her student that she is gonna “kick his $#&”, which makes me a bit curious as to how Sheridan is going to handle the female characters of this series. I know these are small things, but I couldn’t go without at least bringing them up.
Issue #1 of Teen Titans Academy does a very good job overall at setting up storylines and intrigue for the future of the series. It is clear that the allure of Red X is the main hook of the book’s narrative currently. And as long as the new teens and their dynamics with other heroes are better developed and established before this Red X storyline comes to an end, this series should do well at broadening the scope of the Teen Titans series. With something as unique and new to the Titans as this, the shake up in premise could go either way, so this first arc is going to be an important one for the series.
What did you think of our Review of Teen Titans Academy #1? Let us know by leaving a comment!
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