Jeff Lemire is always hit or miss with me, but when I saw that Teen Titans: Earth One received positive criticism and when I found it at my local library, I had to give it a shot.
I’m glad I did.
The Earth One concept is an interesting one at DC Comics. They’ve had success with both Superman and Batman under the Earth One banner, and the idea is basically that these heroes are debuting in modern times in the world we live. The biggest advantage is that they are completely free of any previous baggage. Anything goes with the Earth One titles, but honestly, Superman and Batman remained largely unchanged and didn’t take enough risks.
Teen Titans, on the other hand, made a very large break from their original incarnations, and, in my opinion, it’s a positive one.
Lemire has a very good handle on Starfire, Changeling, Cyborg, Raven, Jericho, and Terra. The plot is that Starfire has been held captive since her arrival as a baby on Earth. Scientists used her DNA to run experiments, and those experiments resulted in a certain group of teenagers developing amazing abilities that are largely beyond control. Raven looks on from afar at her Navajo reservation, connected to the group for reasons we don’t fully understand, but always prepared to intervene when necessary.
This book is definitely a case of familiar names in very different situations. In my open, Lemire has done a fantastic job of keeping these characters’ essence the same while remaining unpredictable. In an industry that sometimes becomes stifled by its own intricate serialization, Teen Titans finds a way to be fresh and exciting.
Terry Dodson, as always, creates fluid, beautiful images that rocket the story forward. His perspectives and layouts are always masterful. It’s a fun book to read, but it’s even more fun to view.
Near the end of the book we are introduced to a favorite Teen Titan and the groundwork is laid for even more to appear in the future. Teen Titans: Earth One is a satisfying origin story, and it certainly leaves the door wide open for a sequel.
Traditional Teen Titan fans will find this unusual angle interesting, and the casual fan will have no trouble getting to know these characters and joining in the adventure. I look forward to seeing where Lemire and Dodson go next.