This has been more than twenty years in the making, so the natural question is: is it worth the wait? Yes, if you have been waiting for a story featuring the Titans from the late 1980s. This is the team from the second go-round of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez on the “Teen Titans”: Nightwing, Starfire, Changeling (complete with mullet), Cyborg, Raven, Jericho, Troia, and Danny Chase. Even after twenty years, I still find Danny Chase to be one of the most annoying comic book characters ever created. This is not the most potent line-up, but it is packed with fan favorites and delivered by the team that is synonymous with “Teen Titans” in the minds of a generation of fans.
George Pérez’s art is every bit as wonderful and detailed as it always has been, and the first page is just as strong as the last. There is no denying that Pérez is the definitive Titans artist and this book offers a nice testimony to the breadth of his career. In typical Pérez fashion, the details of the story are mind-boggling, and will undoubtedly prove to be even moreso to those readers of this book who have never seen a floppy disk or corded phone.
Through it all, Pérez gives readers plenty to marvel at, whether it’s the Titans themselves, the amazing cityscapes drawn as only Pérez can deliver them, or the ornate details of the cast-iron railings in Dayton Manor. Pérez’s expressions, storytelling, and style fill this book with awesome visuals, including a page that only Pérez could craft with thirty-one panels. One of those panels has almost as many people in it as there are panels on that page.
Pérez is the artistic bedrock of this book, and his inkers – including himself – do a nice job of blending together in a manner that is jarring. I cannot distinguish Vey from Perkins at a glance – or even a hundred glances – but one of them uses a thicker line than the other, which gives the thinner linework an appearance of being underexposed or undersaturated somewhere in the printing process. Hi-Fi’s colors hold it all together nicely, though, delivering vintage coloring to this throwback tale.
The story is a deceptively straightforward race-against-time plot from any movie or book that you could grab off your own shelf with your eyes closed and one hand outstretched. The Titans are sent on a chase to save their loved ones by a foe who seems to know them inside and out. Wolfman throws a nice twist right in the middle of the book that delivers some payoff in a manner I didn’t see coming.
One of the strengths of the Wolfman-Pérez era was the vitality of the supporting cast of the Titans. Many of those characters – Vic’s grandparents, Sarah Simms, Terry Long, Jillian Jackson, Arella, and more – have time to shine in this book. As a matter of fact, Wolfman and Pérez even deliver a nice tribute to longtime “Teen Titans” artist, Nick Cardy.
For all the hubbub and bluster, though, I found myself expecting more. The book is a solid package, clocking in at well over one hundred pages of story, an introduction by Marv Wolfman, and an afterword by George Pérez, all in a format that is more square than the standard-issue comic dimensions. I’m glad to have this book in my possession and truly appreciate the fact that a lot of hard work, sweat, planning, and coordination went into making it a reality, but I was hoping for something a bit more classic “Teen Titans.” I guess I wanted – not expected, but wanted – a “greatest hits” of sorts. After all, this may be the last time we get a significant “Teen Titans” story from Wolfman and Pérez. Shouldn’t it have Deathstroke somewhere? Shouldn’t Wolfman give Pérez a chance to draw every Titan? Shouldn’t I just be happy with what we’ve got?
Yes. Yes, I should be. It was good to read another tale from this pair of creative legends. Their connection to the world of the “Teen Titans” deserves to be celebrated like this. Now, with this book finally released, it can be celebrated over and over again.