Writer: Amy Wolfram
Art: Karl Kerschl, Serge LaPointe and Steph Peru
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Publisher: DC Comics
What's it about?
DC's Year One books take a look at famous heroes and provide us with stories about their first year of crimefighting. They usually give us the background of the character, deal with their first fights and provide us with the information and events that shape them into the established characters most DC readers are familiar with. In this case, the events revolve around the formation of the Teen Titans, a group of four teenage sidekicks who decide to band together to fight crime and monsters.
From left to right on the cover these sidekicks are:
Wonder Girl - the powerhouse of the team. She has a very high level of strength, can fly and has bulletproof bracelets. Sister of Wonder Woman.
Robin - no superpowers but a good detective and gymnast. Works with Batman.
Kid Flash - is a speedster, so essentially he runs very fast. Nephew of the Flash.
Aqualad - lives underwater, can communicate telepathically with fish and has a high level of strength when out of the water. Works with Aquaman.
Green Arrow's sidekick, Speedy, also puts in an appearance, although he isn't a full member of the team. Neither Green Arrow or Speedy are superpowered, but they are excellent archers.
Throughout the book the five young heroes fight a menace who is controlling their mentors, discover fame, confront leadership issues and go on dates.
What's good about it?
The creators clearly have a love for these characters which translates into the finished book being a very fun read. We get to know each character and their nuances of personality and there is a lot of humour throughout the pages, both in the writing and the art. For example, Aqualad's fear of sea creatures and Kid Flash's impatience at a world which is progressing much slower than him. As an introduction to how the team formed and learned how to work together this works very well.
We are given a peek into a wide variety of events in the young hero's lives, so that we get a sense of them as well rounded individuals and not just superheroic caricatures. We see them at home with their mentors, at school, at leisure time, as well as when they are fighting crime.
What's bad about it?
The art and words work very well together. Unfortunately the pacing of the story is a bit odd. This isn't linked to the comics medium and is a problem in prose novels as well.
Instead of various plot points building to one solid conclusion we have four different stories of varying lengths that aren't necessarily linked, but you get the feeling they should be. The ending to the book seems a bit weak and a couple of subplots aren't resolved. Because of this, the book works best when read as a collection of events, and not as a cohesive whole. Even with these criticisms, the positive parts of the book easily outweigh the negative parts, and overall it is a pleasant read.
What's the art like?
Karl Kerchl's pencils bring the characters to life, imbuing them with a sense of depth that is very satisfying. His lines complement the story very well and he drops in some great visual gags without prompting from the script. Click to enlarge.
( Don't worry she doesn't spend the whole book crying)