Teen Titans: Raven Reinvents a Beloved Character in a Welcome Change
Rachel Roth, a teen suffering from amnesia, moves to New Orleans to start over and finish out the school year. If being an amnesiac and a teenager weren’t hard enough, now Rachel becomes haunted by the shadows and literal demons from her past. Now she must open herself to find the forgotten power deep within. Teen Titans: Raven is an awesome coming of age story for young adult audiences and old fans alike.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably grown up watching the Cartoon Network Teen Titans show. If you’re a little older, or deeper into comics, you may have read the original Teen Titans comics. Whoever you are, I must recommend Picolo and Garcia’s Raven. There have been so many interpretations of the character over the years, and this comic has its place right next to those stories.
Gabriel Picolo’s work has captured my attention in the past, so I was easily drawn in to Raven. The black, white, and grey was not something I expected since I had never seen the book’s insides. After turning page after page, the muted tones and small pops of colors are easy on the eyes. The watercolor-like style also lent itself well to the overall look and feel. This book has no trouble keeping your eyes on the pages though.
I was surprised that Garcia chose to showcase voudou in this book. Not that I didn’t want to see it, but it was a nice change from more common (more accepted) forms of mysticism. I am certainly not familiar with the practice, but Garcia and Picolo did a great job not portraying the stereotypical skull, bones, and blood we get in popular media. Not to say that this portrayal is wrong, but Raven definitely gave off an air of respect to voudou. It felt natural, and didn’t give off the impression that it was some kind of dark and evil presence. To have this belief system that has been so misconstrued be used for good was one of the defining moments of Raven.
Another highlight of this book was the amazing cast of characters, from Raven’s foster family to her schoolmates. When I was reading through it, I wasn’t sure how Garcia fit it all into one book. There was plenty of personality and character to go around. If there’s one thing I don’t like, its bland supporting cast. I would love to see more of these folks if Raven were a series, but it’s on to the end of this graphic novel.
The only gripe I have about the book is that it feels unfinished. Its as if DC Comics is holding up part two. Yes, I know I’m ridiculous, but you know what its like when you finish a good book. Now that I’ve gotten so deep into Raven, maybe it’s time to find Garcia and Picolo’s other graphic novels. As a matter of fact, I might have to give the whole DC Ink imprint a whirl.