[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Kami Garcia
Artist: Gabriel Picolo with Jon Sommariva & Emma Kubert
Colors: David Calderon
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Reviewed by: Tony Farina
In this DC Ink retelling of Raven’s origin, we see the goth member of the Teen Titans tragically witness the death of her foster mother. Her foster aunt takes her in and moves her to New Orleans where she starts hearing her inner demon talk to her while she is trying to make friends, fit in with a new sister, and maybe get a date. You know, typical high school stuff.
Artist Gabriel Picolo is the star of this show. The way he essentially paints this book in water colors is stunning. His take on Raven is classic, but he makes it his own. Of course, no Raven story would be complete without an appearance from her ugly daddy Trigon. Picolo’s take on him is equally amazing. Slade Wilson makes an appearance too so once again, Picolo finds the balance between making someone new for the new comic reader, while making sure the nerd is happy.
The rest of the supporting cast are all his own and they really do pop off the page. DC does not always set books in real places, so having New Orleans as a character is an inspired choice. Again, the art work is amazing. It never feels overwhelming by being too busy, but there is always plenty to see.
While I see what Garcia is doing here, it just doesn’t work. This is not the first time that I have been roped into a story by Kami Garcia only to be disappointed. I know this is a retelling of Raven’s origin, but the high school drama stuff was just a bit too much. Sure, she can like a boy. Sure, she can struggle fitting in. Sure, her father is a demon and that is a problem. Sure, this is a comic book. All of those things should be kept in mind and thus, the reader should give Ms. Garcia latitude, but all of those things mentioned above, are pretty trite and they come across as such in this book. Maybe if the focus was demon father and death of foster mother or demon father and relationship or…
Also, the side story about her foster sister’s magic skills just didn’t work. Raven is complex enough. This is not a Titans book, so having her suddenly have a sister and aunt who do magic was unnecessary and didn’t work.
Ultimately, Teen Titans: Raven should appeal to the right kind of reader. The art work is so good that I kept on going because I just wanted to see what else Picolo had up his sleeve. I think this is worth checking out for that alone. If you are looking for a great story about Raven, look elsewhere.