Teen Titans: Family Lost

The Teen Titans comics never disappoint, and Geoff Johns’s continuation of the series is no exception.  We’re met with a variety of characters, new and old, with shared histories and new experiences.  As former animosities are dredged up and ultimately come to a head, the Titans must decide who they can trust.

The bulk of the story centers around Raven’s reappearance.  This was teased briefly in the last Teen Titans trade, as Raven blinked onto the scene, snatched Joey’s essence, and disappeared.  Here she’s back, but the Titans can’t seem to locate her.  She’s sending them signals as best she can, but of course those signals are bringing nothing but confusion and danger.

As though Raven’s arrival wasn’t enough, the Titans also have to deal with their old pal Deathstroke, who has recruited his daughter Rose to help do his bidding.  Likely realizing she is the one and only heir he has left, Slade puts all of his power into turning Rose into a weapon.  He succeeds all too well, and Rose adopts the title originally held by her now-deceased older brother: The Ravenger.

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The devout, blind faith Rose puts on her father is a bit annoying at times, only because she’s little more than a puppet to him.  Still, given that she’s desperate for someone to call family, it fits her personality to want to do anything she can to please him.

It’s a good choice for the character stylistically; that doesn’t mean I have to like said character.

Deathstroke and the Titans each track down Raven, who is being held captive by Brother Blood, a young kid who it has been prophesied will marry Raven and bring about the destruction of the world as we know it.

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Deathstroke and Ravenger want to kill Raven, to ensure that Joey is truly dead.  The Titans, of course, have other plans.  Starfire (in a rather surprising move) lies to Deathstroke, accepting his help in defeating Brother Blood in exchange for Raven.  Once the brat is defeated though, Raven is whisked away, with Deathstroke and Ravenger left with nothing to show for their troubles.

As is characteristic, Raven doesn’t plan on staying long at Titan Tower.  She views herself as a danger to those around her, and believes she’s better off on her own.  Like their predecessors though, the Titans have their own opinion on the matter.

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In a surprising moment of caring, Gar convinces Raven to stay, and while I doubt she will become a permanent fixture around the Tower, it’s nice to see that she’s at least back for the time being.  She’s far too powerful, not to mention far too emotionally complicated, to be left out of the fray for long.

Overall this was a great continuation of Johns’s run on Teen Titans.  I’ll admit there were one or two jokes which fell a bit flat with me, only because they felt like they were trying just a little too hard, but for the most part it was a well-paced story that kept me engaged from start to finish.  The finale was open-ended enough that there can easily be a continuation to the storyline at a later date, so I doubt we’ve seen the last of these villains.  The arc featured here though was self-contained enough that it can be appreciated for what it is, without seeming like a mere stepping-stone between two distinct storylines.

I’m always a fan when a panel or two jump out at me, generally because I find them particularly amusing. They’re not generally essential to the overall plot, but they add that extra oomph that makes the story so readable.  Geoff Johns doesn’t disappoint, with the following little aside that I couldn’t help but chuckle at.

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Panels like this make you question some of the realities behind being a superhero.  Just how many batarangs do Batman and Robin go through??  Is there really a batarang fund, set aside just for crime-fighting paraphernalia? I sat with this comic on my lap, staring off into space as I considered this, for a solid five minutes.

When a comic can make me stop and think about the real-world logistics of being a superhero, it has my vote.

-Jess

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