The Teen Titans can’t catch a break! In The Beast Boy Who Cried Wolf, alien bounty hunters come looking for Earth specimens for a client’s intergalactic zoo. Beast Boy tries to alert the Teen Titans, but he’s played one too many pranks lately, and now they don’t believe he’s telling the truth. Blackfire’s Back! features Starfire’s nasty older sister, who claims to be reformed and says she wants to hang out. But are their bonding sessions a cover for something nefarious? In Monster Zit!, Raven has—you guessed it—a zit. A zit that moves around and grows and grows and might actually be a monster bent on world domination. In Thunder and Lightning Strike!, superpowered brothers Thunder and Lightning are duking it out, wrecking the city in the process! The Teen Titans have to stop them, but things look bad when they get drawn into the fight as well. Mad Mod is in Vogue! sees a fashion designer asking the Teen Titans to model his retro clothes. Starfire and Beast Boy agree, and soon, the whole city is wearing the outfits—just in time for “fashion designer” Mad Mod to switch on their mind-control feature.
These five volumes can be read in any order. Each contains one wacky adventure, then a small glossary of vocabulary terms used in the story. Following this is a brief comics-reading-comprehension section similar to the ones found in the Batman Adventures and Green Lantern: the Animated Series books. This section uses examples from the book to get readers thinking about how comics work, asking questions like “What do you think happened between these two panels?” and “Why is Mad Mod silhouetted, or shadowed, in this panel?”
Though there’s not a lot of text, and the storytelling is on the simple side, the characters are fun and vivid. Starfire’s upbeat attitude and oddball alien tendencies show in her dialog; Robin tries to be responsible and make them work as a team; Cyborg is down-to-earth but with a wry sense of humor; Beast Boy is a goofball vegetarian who’s always after pizza; Raven is reserved and mostly serious. It’s fun to see the Teen Titans interact and how they spend their off-duty time (video games, mostly).
Different writers and artists give these books varying styles. Each one features colorful art with all the action and sound effects that superhero fans could want. Most of the volumes are illustrated with thick, bold lines and exaggerated, angular shapes. Mad Mod is in Vogue! is a notable exception, with thinner lines and a lighter color scheme than the others.
The panels are dynamic, varying in size and shape to create all kinds of interesting layouts. The Beast Boy Who Cried Wolf, Monster Zit!, and Blackfire’s Back! include chibi versions of the characters who pop up outside the panels with jokes or funny side stories. In The Beast Boy Who Cried Wolf, for example, the annoyed Teen Titans chase Beast Boy around the margins of the pages, finally pouncing on him, only to have him use his shapeshifting powers to get away.
Like the aforementioned Batman and Green Lantern series, Teen Titans Go! is aimed at young readers. Each sturdy hardcover volume has only thirty-two pages, and the vocabulary list and activities at the back are clearly pitched at kids. There are plenty of fight scenes, but they’re wacky and totally non-lethal. Some of the jokes might be eye-rollers for more mature readers, but there’s definitely fun to be had with this series. Hand it to fans of the Teen Titans Go! TV show or to young or sensitive readers who prefer lighthearted superhero comics.
Teen Titans Go!
vol. 1: The Beast Boy who Cried Wolf
vol. 2: Blackfire’s Back!
vol. 3: Monster Zit!
vol. 4: Thunder and Lightning Strike!
vol. 5: Mad Mod is in Vogue!
by J. Torres and Adam Beechen
Art by Todd Nauck, Larry Stucker, Tim Smith III, Erik Vedder
Stone Arch Books, 2014
Publisher Age Rating: Reading Level grades 2-3, Interest Level grades 3-6