Comic Addiction 9/12/07 Review by Paul Steven Brown - Puffinagogo
During the early ‘80s, Marvel and DC each had their respective “it” book. Marvel was riding high on a little title that had been on the verge of cancellation in the mid-70s called Uncanny X-Men. It was an angsty soap opera of a comic book where the personal lives of the heroes received as much attention as their exploits. It was drawn by artists whose styles immediately leapt off the page and demanded attention. The same description could also be applied to the competing DC book at the time. Their team however was composed of much younger members, some of whom were sidekicks of many established DC icons. That team and their book was called the New Teen Titans.
The Marv Wolfman and George Perez era of the New Teen Titans is one of those perfect ‘80s comic book titles. Stories varied from the self-contained, “done-in-one” variety to multi-issue arcs, while the creators continued to nurture various subplots from issue to issue. The drama of the Titan’s private lives was usually the heart of this background material, especially in the matters of romance. Was Cyborg worthy of Sarah Simms? What would be Wonder Girl’s answer to Terry’s proposal? Why was Robin acting so cold to Starfire? Didn’t he love her as much as she loved him?
The issues collected in this volume weren’t all about love, though. The main focus of the issues collected in this volume is the arrival of the Teen Titans’ newest member: Terra. Like the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde, she was younger than most of her teammates. Unlike Ms. Pryde, Tara Markov was brash and stubborn. If Kitty was Laura Ingalls, than Terra was Nelley Oleson. Terra appears eager to prove herself to her new teammates, but responds harshly to any criticism. Over the course of the trade, she slowly begins to earn their trust and loyalty, but is it truly deserved or is Terra playing a bigger, deadlier game?
Another wonderful aspect of this collection is seeing well-established DC heroes when they were much younger and less experienced. Robin (Dick Grayson) is very serious and angry when compared to his current incarnation, the mature and well-respected Nightwing. Kid Flash (Wally West) is extremely uncertain about whether or not he wants to continue as a masked hero, totally unaware that he will someday replace his mentor as the Flash, and almost eclipse his prestige. Who knew then that Wonder Girl (Donna Troy) would eventually become such an important fixture in the DC Universe? And who could have guessed that the seemingly naïve Starfire, prankster Changeling, the mysterious Raven, and the stoic Cyborg would each continue to have an impact, too?
While writer Marv Wolfman supplied a heavy dose of drama and weaved the various plot threads, George Perez brought it all to life with his glorious pencils. Each panel is tightly detailed and each character is very recognizable even without their masks. The Titans all have amazing bodies and not in a cheesecake sort of way. However, every muscle ripples and every curve sizzles, which probably didn’t hurt the book’s original monthly sales! Perez’s action scenes are intense and fast-paced. This is top-of-the-line comic book art that would be hard to beat, even today.
From what is presented in this collection, I’m willing to say that Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s New Teen Titans live up to the hype. It is beautifully drawn, well-written, and full of great character development and awesome action. I’m looking forward to reading the New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, which is the continuation a major subplot in this collection. If you are a fan of ‘80s superhero comic books, then you really should give this era of the Teen Titans a look.
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Excellent!)