There's no questioning what the last truly successful "Teen Titans" comic was. When Geoff Johns and Mike McKone debuted their version of "Teen Titans" in 2003, it was a runaway hit, but real-world and in-story line-up changes eventually derailed the book that finally came to an end with issue #100 last month. It's probably no small coincidence, then, that Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth's new "Teen Titans" is taking the core group of characters from that version of the book (Red Robin, Superboy, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl) to be at the center of the new title.
Lobdell takes the title back to basics, as the team slowly begins to assemble. While only two of them are together at the end of the issue, all four make various appearances, and it's clear (even ignoring the cover image) that it's just a matter of time until they're together. I like that Lobdell manages to not rush into things -- he's building things up gradually -- while at the same time he isn't dragging it out. You feel like there's real plot development, between the multiple attacks from N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and the first two members joining forces.
Long-time readers will enjoy playing the, "What has and hasn't happened?" game. The previous series clearly never occurred (although based on lines in "Red Hood and the Outlaws" there was a previous version of the Titans), and this is definitely the first time that any of these characters have met. Newer readers will no doubt enjoy the fact that the final pages of "Superboy" and "Teen Titans" intersect, in terms of timeline. With Lobdell writing both books, I suspect we'll see a lot of tight-knit mapping between the pair.
Booth's pencils here seem much more energetic and lively than I remember from his recent run on "Justice League of America." There's a nice shape to the characters here, and moments like Red Robin jumping out the window flow in a smooth manner that wasn't present on the previous book. Whatever caused the change, I'm not complaining. Even something as simple as Wonder Girl activating her powers has a certain oomph on the page, although there are a few scenes (including that one) where the computer effects on the coloring become a bit overwhelming.
"Teen Titans" is a solid first issue to the series. It's got enough of a hook to bring readers back for a second issue. After some mortifying false starts on the last "Teen Titans" series, post-Johns, this feels much more interesting. I hadn't been planning on reading the re-launched "Teen Titans" beyond the first issue, but this was good enough that I want to see what happens next.