Was any collection of characters more ill-served by DC Comics’ “New 52” reboot in 2011 than the Teen Titans?
That point may be debatable but it cannot be denied that the ball was dropped when it came to reimagining DC Comics’ most prominent group of young heroes. Ignoring the continuity problems between various series that couldn’t agree on whether or not the Teen Titans had ever existed as a group before the incarnation created by third Robin, Tim Drake (it was eventually decided that they hadn’t), many of the classic Titans were recreated with personalities and backgrounds that seemed at odds with everything that endeared them to the fans of the original series. Many fans felt the characters who were eventually revealed to have never existed—such as Donna “Wonder Girl” Troy—were the lucky ones.
Hither came Titans Hunt—DC Comics’ Hail Mary pass to save the Teen Titans concept and restore sanity to an increasingly insane universe.
Our story begins with several young adults fighting off feelings of something not being right and memory flashes of people they never knew. Chief among these are recovering addict and drifter Roy Harper, award-winning composer Malcolm Duncan, and secret agent Dick Grayson. It is Grayson who first realizes that something is seriously wrong after an encounter with an uncharacteristically combative Atlantean and a vision of a red-haired young woman tells him to “find them then find me.” In time, ten of them will join together and learn of the past they shared and the coming disaster that required their forgetting that they once promised to always be “Titans Together”.
Dan Abnett’s script is both a love letter to the classic Teen Titans comics of the 1960s and a masterful introduction to the Teen Titans franchise. The narrative remains firmly focused on the sizeable cast of characters and explaining who they are and what motivates them. While the story favors some characters more than others (Donna Troy, for instance, doesn’t get much characterization beyond “proud warrior woman”), it proves extremely beneficial to the more obscure Titans Abbnet brings into the story, such as Herald, Omen, and Gnarrk the Caveboy, who require more development and explanation. Abnett’s greatest creative masterstroke may be the reintroduction of some of the original era’s cornier villains in modern guises, with The Mad Mod now merely “Mod” and adopting the dress of a modern hipster complete with a handlebar mustache. Also included are a back-up story detailing Robin’s first time working alongside The Justice League and the first issue of the new Titans Rebirth series which followed up the ending of Titans Hunt.
Most of the artwork for this series was crafted by Stephen Segovia and Paulo Siqueira, and their artwork for these issues proves itself as praiseworthy as the writing. The inks are a little heavy at some points early on, but not distractingly or sloppily so. All of the artists are fine visual storytellers and each character boasts a distinctive design, so there’s never any confusion about who is speaking or what is going on during the action sequences.
Titans Hunt is rated 12+ and I believe that to be a fair rating. There’s no sexual content beyond some mild fan-service in the depiction of shapely heroine Dawn in one panel and the violence is on par with that in an average PG-13 action movie. It should be noted that the story is quite frank about Roy Harper’s past drinking and drug use and the major villain of the story has a background vaguely tied into some sort of demonic power.
by Dan Abnett
Art by Paulo Siqueira and Stephen Segovia
DC Comics, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: 12+