Sunday, August 21, 2016

Teen Titans, Earth One - Volume Two

The "Earth One" stories continue with the second volume of the Teen Titans.  I've always been a huge fan of the Teen Titans - from the original run, definitely through the Wolfman/Perez run, and even that run with the Atom as the leader (although, honestly, the New 52 run has left a bitter taste).  So it's rather refreshing to see a brand new take on the characters and team, introducing them as science projects gone wrong rather than various sidekicks brought together by fate.

Volume Two picks up some time after the end of the first volume.  Raven and Starfire are in hiding to protect Starfire from those that are after her.  Changeling, Terra, Cyborg, and Tempest are secretly hiding in an abandoned urban subdivision, doing everything they can for Cyborg as the metal slowly takes over his body.  Meanwhile, Niles Caulder's men are searching far and wide to locate the teens and bring them back.  Enter: Jericho and Deathstroke.

Jeff Lemire writes a story of teens on the run and introduces a whole new group of "Teen Titans," in the form of super-powered agents working directly for Caulder - Kole, Impulse, and Wonder Girl.  But these are not the heroes at all that you might remember from the regular DC Universe.  As with any good super-hero team book, there is a fierce battle as Teen Titans versus the runaway Titans, and Raven and Stargirl do battle alongside Deathstroke against Caulder and his men.  Stuck in the middle of this is Cyborg, who is slowly becoming more and more metal, losing what last little bit of humanity he has left.

Andy MacDonald's art is a bit rough around the edges in places, but it's not so bad that it takes away from the story.  The first five pages (opening sequence) are probably some of the best in the book, with Terra breaking into a pharmacy to get pain pills for Cyborg, then getting caught by the police in the rain, forcing her to use her powers to escape.  Throughout the rest of the book, though, it seems he struggles with facial expressions on the characters, and more times than not, you'll find the characters scrunching their face with their eyes closed (honestly, it looks like they are trying to go to the bathroom, if you get my meaning here).  Thankfully, though, there are not many splash pages or two-page spreads.  MacDonald saves those for only the very important moments, giving them more impact and giving the reader more bang for the buck as far as story goes.

There are still several plot lines hanging, which leaves the saga open for another graphic novel, and since I love these characters, I do hope there will be a Volume Three.  Guess only time (and sales) will tell.

RATING:  8 ugly mes out of 10 for keeping the story and characters of the Teen Titans fresh and exciting and not rehashing old material again.

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