Teen Titans #1 Weaves a Tragedy for DC’s Young Heroes

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The Teen Titans are regrouping after an epic tragedy in a Future State issue full of entertaining twists and turns for the young heroes.

Future State has delivered a line of dark, alternate futures for the DC Universe and none are perhaps more ominous than the one introduced in Teen Titans. Helmed by prolific animation screenwriter Tim Sheridan and longtime collaborators Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona and Alejandro Sanchez, the opening issue of the miniseries not only shows how the young superheroes regroup after enduring a great tragedy but sets the stage for Teen Titans Academy that is poised to launch this March as part of the upcoming Infinite Frontier era. And while a devastating vision of the DCU, the issue doesn’t dwell too heavily on the darkness.

Years after forming Teen Titans Academy to inspire and mentor a new generation of superheroes, Titans Island — and much of the adjacent New York City — has been laid to waste after a cataclysmic incident left many of the premier young super-team’s members dead. As the heroes regroup to pick up the pieces of their lives and the shattered team, they find themselves reopening old wounds as their investigation puts them on a collision course with Red X, a mysterious masked figure making their comic book debut here after previously being introduced in the animated series Teen Titans Go!, putting the teammates at odds with one another as loyalties are tested and long-held secrets finally come to the surface.

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Sheridan gets all these characters from the jump and, after writing for animated series like Justice League Action, can absolutely balance all the unique, colorful voices on the team as the survivors of two generations of Titans reunite. This is a team of heroes brought down to their lowest point and on the verge of completely rupturing as they rehash and reexamine their shared trauma but the proceedings are never overly dark or dour; this is a story with high emotional stakes but Sheridan is well aware that he’s crafting an adventure, not a funeral. That distinction makes this opening issue another strong addition to the growing string of successes across Future State‘s offerings and more than proves he can write just as effectively in the comic book medium as he has in animation.

Joining Sheridan after a prolific run illustrating numerous memorable issues across Joshua Williamson’s recently concluded run on The Flash is Rafa Sandoval on pencils, Jordi Tarragona on inks and Alejandro Sanchez on colors. The art team’s work here really plays up the post-apocalyptic elements of the story as the heroes navigate the ruins of their old home, venturing deeper into its shadowy underbelly to confront the ugly truth behind this epic tragedy head-on. There isn’t a lot of conventional action sequences to speak of in this issue but the art team is able to make even the more dialogue-driven scenes engaging and, as the narrative begins to unveil its big reveals, the artists really deliver on these big moments.

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Two weeks in and the overall opening issues for Future State have been consistently good and appear to all be building towards something epic during the Infinite Frontier era. Teen Titans is no different and the creative team has provided a grim future for the young heroes that presents some of the most interesting reveals and twists of Future State so far. And with visible ties to Infinite Frontier’s teased directions, the creative team is really only getting started as they weave a mystery with seismic repercussions for the super-team moving forward.

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