REVIEW: ‘Teen Titans: Raven’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Teen Titans: Raven is a YA graphic novel published by DC Ink, an imprint for DC Comics, written by Kami Garcia, with illustrations by Gabriel Picolo, with Jon Sommariva, and Emma Kubert, colors by David Calderon, and letters by Tom Napolitano. Teen Titans: Raven follows Raven Roth as she tries to recover from a tragic car accident that took her foster mom and Raven’s memories. She moves to New Orleans to live with her foster mother’s family and finish her senior year of high school. But while trying to find herself, Raven starts to think it might be better not to know who she was in her previous life.

Raven was never a normal kid, which is hinted early on. And losing her memory doesn’t help her journey to grapple with her strange powers as an empath and even stranger origin. But her foster sister Max, her new friends, and Tommy Torres, a guy who accepts and knows that she is an empath, helps Raven face the darkness buried in her past.

Teen Titans: Raven reads like a traditional YA teen drama. Raven’s interactions at high school feel authentic and even though there is the traditional clique of mean girls and popular kids, they never fall into over-the-top stereotypes. Raven’s relationship with Tommy Torres and his crush on her is endearing. Additionally, despite this world being different from the rest of the DC Universe, Raven’s powers and the supernatural elements of the story that are peppered in never feel out of place.

That being said, it is a tad stereotypical to have it all take place in New Orleans but also never feature anything outside of the French Quarter, but I digress. Nonetheless, Garcia’s writing works well for the story. Teen Titans: Raven feels like a cross between Chilling Adventures of Sabrina‘s supernatural themes and Riverdale‘s high school drama. The book easily fits the aesthetic of something you would find on the CW.

Picolo is known online for his Teen Titans art series so initially when I heard he was illustrating Teen Titans: Raven, I was ecstatic. However, his art never gets the chance to stand out because the coloring is so muddled (as seen above). In most of the panels, everyone but Raven is in black and white.

However, Raven’s coloring is never bright enough to stand out amongst the rest of the artwork. Additionally, a lot of the panels’ backgrounds have a light watercolor effect which in theory should be beautiful but instead is just not strong enough to make a real impact. That being said, Picolo’s designs of Raven and her friends are spectacular. During Raven’s prom, she wears a beautiful jacket with ravens casually etched into it. Good fashion in comics goes a long way.

Overall, of the YA graphic novels, I have read for both DC Ink and DC Zoom, Teen Titans: Raven is the best one yet. The story is engaging and endearing. Raven’s struggle of being a regular teenager is relatable and would remind anyone of their favorite teen drama from back in the day. That plus the sprinkling of supernatural elements makes this book a fun enough ride.

Teen Titans: Raven is available in comic book stores and traditional book stores now.

Teen Titans: Raven
3.5

TL;DR

The story is engaging and endearing. Raven’s struggle of being a regular teenager is relatable and would remind anyone of their favorite teen drama from back in the day. That plus the sprinkling of supernatural elements makes this book a fun enough ride.