After the twin disappointments of Mera: Tidebreaker and Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale, I approached Teen Titans: Raven with some trepidation. I really want to like these DC Ink novels, and they just haven’t been pulling me in. Thankfully, I quite enjoyed Raven.
Teen Titans: Raven (written by Kami Garcia with art by Gabriel Picolo) is the story of Raven Roth, whose entire life has been uprooted after the sudden death of her foster mother. Raven moves to New Orleans to live with her aunt, but she has no memories of her life because of the accident. She has no idea why she’s having these strange dreams or why these strange things keep happening. And she’s starting to think that maybe it’s better that she doesn’t remember.
I enjoyed this story so much more than I’ve liked any of the DC Ink titles so far. Garcia is a fan of Raven and treated her story with care. I found the writing to be much better in this novel, the dialogue less stilted and more organic. It’s weird to see Raven without the rest of the Teen Titans (but with a Beast Boy title coming, I’m hopeful that they may meet soon!). The characters are a little more fleshed out, with the exception of Tommy, Raven’s love interest. There isn’t much to him and their relationship is very surface level. But I really enjoyed Raven’s relationship with her cousin Max.
The pacing is still a problem. These novels could probably do with being longer just to give the story a chance to breathe. I was confused by the timeline; I’m not sure exactly how much time the story covers. Is it months? Is it weeks? I have no idea. It could have used more transitional panels to help break it up as well. It jumps from scene to scene too quickly and it ends kind of abruptly. The story itself is a little basic, but it’s a good origin story and sets up future books.
I’m a big fan of the art. Picolo was a fan of Teen Titans before and actually picked by Garcia herself as the artist she wanted for the novel. He has his own fanzine called Casual Teen Titans with the team members in, what else, casual clothes. I just really like the character design and the way everyone looks and the purple-tinted color scheme. Everything is just so pretty.
This book has given me hope. I have a whole stack of graphic novels from DC Zoom and DC Ink and I’m glad to know that I’ll enjoy some of them, at least. Also, both Garcia and Picolo are returning for the Beast Boy novel; Beast Boy is my favorite and I am extremely excited about that.
Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and illustrated by Gabriel Picolo is published by DC Ink and is currently available wherever books are sold.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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