Pick of the Week

February 6, 2008 – Teen Titans: Year One #2

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Avg Rating: 4.3
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 0.0%
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Size: pages

Story by Amy Wolfram
Art by Karl Kerschl, Serge LaPointe, & Steph Peru
Letters by Nick J. Napolitano

Published by DC Comics | $2.99

I realized two things about myself tonight as I mulled over the various Pick of the Week options. First, when talking comics in my local comics shop, someone made a statement about my tastes on my behalf, basically stating that I don’t like DC Comics. Apparently I’ve built up quite a reputation for this over the years. The other thing I realized is that after writing these reviews for as long as we’ve been doing this site, that it took almost 8 years for me to differentiate between a book I was really excited about and a really good book.

The DC Comics question threw me into a bit of a tailspin. I’ve publicly stated my distaste for things related to Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. For some reason, DC’s holy trinity of characters just don’t do anything for me. At all. Additionally, I don’t really care for the LEGION line of books, or the magic-y books, and I’ve pretty much decided that all things related to Apokolips and what not turn me off. So, I could see how one would think that I dislike DC Comics. But my defense to this is that The Flash and Green Lantern are two of my favorite comic book characters, I adore the Justice Society of America, and I think that now I have to add the Teen Titans to the list of things about DC Comics that I like. I’ve always had an on again, off again relationship with the Titans and while the more recent incarnations really haven’t stuck with me, there’s something about the original lineup that I always get excited about.

Oh yeah, I love these Year One books. They rock.

So when Teen Titans: Year One was announced, I was psyched. Throw in the art by Karl Kerschl, my one wish for an ongoing artist on The Flash, and it seems as if this would be a book I could really get behind. When issue #1 came out, I loved every page of it. But, it was a book that I was excited about. Looking back, I’m not sure it was a great book though.

This week, I was presented with a similar dilemma. On one hand, there was a comic book by one of my all time favorite artists and on the other hand, Teen Titans: Year One #2. Excitement can propel you in many directions. Trust me, I know. But sometimes it can cloud your judgment and cause a book as elegantly done as Teen Titans: Year One #2┬áto slip through the cracks. Well, I think I’m finally mature enough to not let that happen this time. No matter how good that other book was, or the potential it could have, this is the moment to look upon a book that seems to be really something special.

The story is brilliantly simple. Writer Amy Wolfram is dropping the type of Teen Titans story I would expect from their first year. The adult super heroes, their mentors, are acting out of character, even criminal-like. No one else sees or understands this, so the kids must band together to get to the bottom of it. Like I said, simple. But what’s special about this book, to me, is the manner in which the characterizations of these characters we know inside and out are being explored through the dialogue, action and even down to facial expressions. Wolfram’s story is working in perfect concert with Kerschl’s animation-esque style to really make me believe in these kids. To believe in the world they live in and their reactions to how outrageous that world actually is.

I love how this Year One book is able to embrace the modern day telling (i.e. Kid Flash texting Speedy on his cell phone) and yet still respect and include the rich history (the editor’s note referencing an old issue of The Brave and the Bold). Many freak out at things like this. I could even see myself freaking out, but this is a rare case where I don’t care. In fact I embrace it.

Teen Titans: Year One #2 is like every comic on the stands and yet like nothing I’m reading, all at the same time. Each page is a new look into a fascinating execution and when I got to the end of the book I wanted more. So while I was excited for the first issue, it’s with this second issue I see that this could be one of those titles I’ll be talking about for a while. And that’s a good thing.

Now who says I don’t like DC Comics?

Ron Richards
I want to see people and I want to see life.

Did you read Teen Titans: Year One #2? Add a comment and tell everyone what you thought!


  1. good review! this book is great, kerschl kicks ass.

  2. Good choice Ron. Teen Titans was the only book i had a chance to read last night and it was loads of fun. The art is absolutely beautiful, it looks straight out of a saturday morning cartoon.

    Has Kerschl changed up his style for this book? the name sounds familiar but i don’t associate this art style with that name.

    by the way, im digging signature Ron (why am i not surprised?)

  3. Can’t complain about this pick– I’m loving this series, especially the FANTASTIC art.

    My POW would have been JSA #12, though. I just adored that issue. I remember being really nervous when I saw that Geoff Johns was going to be expanding the roster of the JSA– an already huge group– even more. Boy, was I wrong– what a terrific issue.

    I also dug Nightwing #141. Nightwing’s a character I have no history and very little connection with– but I’m really enjoying Tomasi’s work on that book so far.

    I’m curious what everyone’s thoughts are on Fables #69, the end of a really big arc on that book??

  4. Great and quite surprising pick. Your right the art was fantastic and i really want to see where the story is going.However, my POW had to go to The Boys #15 and in second Nightwing 141.

  5. As someone who grew up with the Wolfman/Perez run of the Titans, I am thrilled with all the Titans books coming out!! I love this series, however I have one item that just bugs me. How can this be Year One of “our Titans”, if they are text messaging and e-mailing each other? This tech was not around during the time that is suppose to be their first year. I know I know its just a comic book, but it bugs me!!

  6. Boooo-urns! My store was sold out! It’s the first time since Cap #25 that they’ve sold out of something I wanted on a Wednesday. Of course, it’s the pick of the week.

    Of the books I did get, I think JSA would have been my pick.

  7. there is a light that never goes out

  8. I don’t read any ongoing DC books regularly, at all, but I picked TT:YO up with the first issue, and I’m really glad I got issue two as well. The modern update is reminiscent of X-men: First Class, but that book took a while to find its legs. This one has a lot more momentum out of the starting gate and, even though I’m not very familiar with this incarnation of the Titans, I’m really digging it.

    I also think “Buffy” is getting really good, but possibly in a way that only works if you’ve already been obsessed with the TV show.

    “Uncanny X-men” is either brilliant or awful, and I don’t think I’ll be able to figure that out for a couple more issues.

  9. I guess i’ll have to get this and the first issue, I was waiting to see if there would be a sophmore, slump but I guess not. my pick would have to be The Twelve #2. I don’t know if I’m the only one reading this but it’s really good, and I HATE JMS so that’s saying something.

  10. I’m in agreement with the majority concerning the artwork. This was a beautifully drawn book!

  11. As for the criticism of the text messaging and e-mailing in the Teen Titans book– DC and Marvel both operate according to a “sliding timescale,” which I have no problem with. This explains why Spider-Man is not older than John McCain.

  12. JSA 12 was my pick, but The Twelve 2 was really good. I have no idea who any of these guys are really (were they made up for this series, or are they actually old superheroes?, grr… too lazy to wikipedia it) but I’m still loving it, even if it is JMS.

    Northlanders also continues to be awesome, so it’s definitely on my monthly list from now one

  13. Finally got to read this last night. I’m not familar with Kerchsl’s art is awesome. I would love to watch this story with this exact art style animated…

  14. I agree with the pick. It’s an awesome book–the art is dope. I remember reading it and actually stopping during the Aqualad sections to look at all the fish.

    I gotta say, I also loved Uncanny X-Men. I dug Messiah Complex, but what a relief to not have to follow, like, three dozen characters for once, and to spend some time with the classics. I really hope this book continues to focus on this set of characters, and not too many more.

    Any love for Omega the Unknown?

  15. “I gotta say, I also loved Uncanny X-Men.”

    If this is the start of a decompressed storyline that gives the characters room to breathe, and is actually leading somewhere, then I approve. If it turns out to be a lot of rambling for the sake of filling up space until Brubaker can get someone to take the book off his hands.

    “. . .to spend some time with the classics”

    Though ever since Claremont took over the book in the 70s, the ‘classic’ teams have almost always had more than one female. When this issue got to the point of Emma Frost having girl-talk with Shanna of the Savage Land, I picked up a little whiff of desperation.

  16. I had a great week this week! I think I’m going to have to write a post for each book.

    First I want to share my love for the pick. I think I read better books this week, but this deserves the recognition for one scene: Speedy vs. Green Arrow in speeding traffic. I couldn’t believe the visceral effect of these pages! You felt the velocity of the vehicles. The combination of the art and the creative panel layout was genius. Best action sequence I’ve seen in a while.

  17. Buffy #11. I would love to hear two different opinions on this book. If you didn’t watch the show does this even make sense? How far have the iFanboys gotten on the series? Season 3 on is great (I’m not a huge fan of season 4 but it does become funnier the further I get away from college). Buffy is partially responsible for getting me into comics so I am very tied into the Whedonverse (who else is excited for more firefly from Darkhorse and Joss?). At first I didn’t like the bigger comic book universe thing. I liked Buffy in Sunnydale having to deal with getting a job and her love life far more than the big action. But now I think this book is too much fun to let go. I get so excited when an issue comes out. Very few have disappointed. Do other fans feel the same way?

    I would like to mention this issue for a few scenes. First of all, for the fans: who got giddy just seeing the first panel? So cheep, but brings back so many good memories. Second: classic vamp slaying with banter and crush confessions… It felt like coming home again… so awesome. Then the new big bad shows up (underwhelming, what’s Rorschach doing here?) however we get a sequence that could never happen in the show which looked great. Georges Jeanty is fantastic. I would like to know if anyone has read “The American Way.” Though it gets a bit preachy politically (don’t get me wrong I prefer books with content, I just don’t like to be bludgeoned to death by it. A subtler approach with subtext would have worked better. Also I could have done without the narrator.) I think they stumbled on a fresh take on the superhero genre with an AWESOME villain. Really good stuff and I don’t hear anyone talking about it.

    Finally I need to mention the four best panels of the week: Twilight addressing his minions. I turned the page and burst out laughing. Priceless.

  18. Nice pick Ron! I really enjoyed this book this week. I loved the scenes where Aqualad was out of the water. In the backgrounds, he’s constantly dunking his head in fountains and stuff. Super funny stuff.

    This week, my pick would have to be Abe Sapien: The Drowning. While I read a ton of books this week that were awesome, this was the only book I put down and said, “That was f’ing awesome!”

    This was a really good comic week. My wallet needs a break though.

  19. @Unemployed Shortstop — Buffy is a great book if you watched the later seasons of the show. It’s so far from the original premise that I’m not even sure being familiar with the first few seasons would help. But I’m one of those who really liked the last season, particularly, so I was like you about that opening panel. I also liked the Willow story in the previous issue a lot.

    I don’t feel like Whedon is even trying to aim his issues at people who aren’t already fans. The Brian K. Vaughan arc worked a lot better, independently, especially when you realize his Faith is basically Wolverine in the body of Eliza Dushku (and much better at it than X-23 is). Generally, it’s probably a safe book for non-Buffy-fanatics to jump on and off depending on the writer.

  20. Abe Sapien: The Drowning #1: Is there anything Dave Stewart can’t do? Look at the solid, bold colors of Hellboy or the brilliance that is The Spirit, and compare them to the monochromatic watercolors of The Drowning. They are completely different, all three styles working to aid the story. This guy always picks up the assist. Stewart is the Conrad Hall or Karl Freund of comics.

    And let us not forget Jason Shawn Alexander’s art. Looser, more kinetic than Mignola it works to give this story a sense of horror and history. Best rotting corps I’ve seen in a while.

    As for Mignola I’ve always felt that his characterizations were very flat and lacking. I don’t see much difference here. I got excited because of the literary reference which is where I think he shines. Like the Hellboy stories based on folklore, Mingnola’s writing is more exciting. You can feel his love for the material. It’s good stuff. And like I said before, listen to The Decemberists while reading.

    @ Caroline: hey someone responded to my Buffy rant. Cool. It’s odd I’ve come across a lot of people who don’t like the latter seasons of Buffy. I don’t get that. 6 and 7 are my favorites next to 3. Every episode takes its toll forcing the characters to change in subtle realistic ways. Young Buffy would never rob a bank, even to support her family, but older Buffy would consider it, even if it was wrong. I like battle hardened despondent Buffy. She’s complex, morality is decided on a case by case basis, and when she does make poor choices there’re consequences (One rouge slayer was bad enough for Faith let alone an entire Barrow gang influence by Buffy’s call). I’m having so much fun with this!

    We will see about other writers. Drew Goddard, the author of the next arc is a HUGE Buffy continuity nerd. It would not surprise me if we saw a lot of Andrew (I don’t even want to try to explain him to someone who has never seen the show) and D’Hoffryn (again with the unexplainability).

  21. @Unemployed — For in-depth discussion of the Buffy comics/TV continuity, the Whedonesque forums are probably the place to go. Which you might know already. People over there are scary knowledgeable.

  22. deezer-They are real Golden Age heroes, and I’m enjoying it too. Not sure what my pick would be. Ether the Twelve or Northlanders, it’s hard to say because I’m still in awe from Cap last week!

  23. Great pick.

    Mine probably would have been THE TWELVE #2

  24. Great review of a fun book. Nice Morrisey reference at the end there.

  25. no love for Scud?

  26. I read TTYO2 a few days back and can’t remember much about it at all other than it isn’t half stretching out a story that took one issue in the original series.

    I found the Twelve a more fulfilling read; was delighted that a new artist made Infinity Inc readable; loved Nightwing (there’s a classic scene with Dick, Supie and a cop); liked JSA but miss seeing the likes of Sand and Obsidian – Geoff Johns seems to be adding members the minute he thinks them up, and I hate the Kingdom Come links, but Dale Eaglesham is giving us some beautiful art; adored the return of ClanDestine; was a bit bored by Ms Marvel (the current story’s gone on aeons); happily gobbled up 52; haven’t yet got to Metal Men; thought Spidey was thoroughly OK; found X-Men full of favourite old characters as I remembered them, and luscious art and colour; and loved the Diana Prince trade once I got past Denny O’Neil’s contribution (Di had a pet Irish bomber?); haven’t got to my Buffy yet, am about six months behind with that; and haven’t got to Detective yet, but hurrah those godawful mono covers have gone.

  27. Loved the first one. I’ll sure get this one.

  28. The art on this book is some of the most beautiful I have seen in my 25 years of reading comics.  The art alone is worth flopping down your hard earned greenbacks. 

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