Heroes training the next generation in a school is nothing new. The X-Men was built on the concept. The Avengers have done it. There have been numerous mentor programs within the DC Universe. Now, the Teen Titans put their spin on the concept with Teen Titans Academy #1. It’s an interesting debut that sets up some of the key players while hinting at the conflict to come.
That conflict was show in DC’s Future State where we found out about the academy and the death of its students. A concept that’s also not really knew. But, that “future story” harkened back to Titans history, specially Nightwing and Red X. And that’s where a lot of the debut issue revolves around.
Writer Tim Sheridan ties what’s possibly to come with the present as the students gather to the island for the start of the school year. Beyond introducing the cast and getting the teachers some overdue interaction, the issue mainly focuses on Nightwing and Red X. This is a part of DC history I don’t know so much of the concern or interesting aspects went over my head. But, you get a sense that this wasn’t a good time and it’s an ominous thing. Sheridan gives just enough for new readers, like me, won’t feel lost or scratching their heads as to the big deal.
The story really is an introduction laying out key characters, their personalities, and powers. The original Teen Titans get time to interact and remind us of their dynamic as well. In many ways it all feels like “coming home”. It also feels familiar. There’s very much an X-Men quality to it all with the original members training the next generation. That’s not a bad thing as the formula worked very well and was a lot of fun. Teen Titans Academy #1 sets things up with a playful charm about it all also nailing down that “fun” aspect to it all.
Rafa Sandoval does an impressive job of keeping things clean on the page. There’s a lot packed in at times but the pages and panels never feel like there’s too much there. Jordie Tarragona handles the ink, with Alejandro Sanchez on color, and lettering by Rob Leigh. Together, the visuals of the comic have a bit of a light (not a bad thing) style to it all. There’s nothing dark or brooding about the art. But, there’s also something ominous about it all as well. There’s something underlying the story and the art style helps enhance that in some ways. This is the light before the dark.
Teen Titans Academy #1 is a solid start to the series. While it doesn’t go off in a bold original direction, it does deliver a solid take on the concept it uses. The new characters are interesting and the original team is great together. It’s a comic that you know there are hard times ahead but in the present, things are fun, enjoyable, and positive. There’s a charm and innocence about it, which also makes it a superhero comic that’s unique for the stands.
Story: Tim Sheridan Art: Rafa Sandoval
Ink: Jordi Tarragona Color: Alejandro Sanchez Letterer: Rob Leigh
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
DC provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review