Titans has utterly blown me away, and it’s something I recommend any comic fan to watch. Here’s why you should… I’m going to do my best to avoid spoilers.
Just like everyone else I thought this was going to be utter garbage; Starfire looks like a cheap prostitute, and those words echoed in my ears ‘Fuck Batman’.. But being a big bats fan and having enjoyed a lot of DC TV before, I thought I’d give it a go; I’ve watched all 11 episodes in about 2 weeks and for me that’s a lot of TV.
In case you don’t know, Titans is a VERY mature take on one of the most popular comic book ensembles, the Teen Titans – It tackles issues such as alcoholism, death, loss and even paedophilia; focusing around a Robin who’s separated from Batman, the series sets out to introduce a core cast of Titans and aims to set up a new universe of DC TV, which it does extremely well. Each hero gets some form of set up, or origin episode, and it actually allows Hawk and Dove 2 episodes, the 2nd of which is incredibly emotional and mature. The main story is about Rachel / Raven (Who isn’t Raven yet) and Robin’s quest to help her. She knows she has some sort of messed up power inside her, but doesn’t know what it is; this leads in to her being forced to go on the run and falling into Robin’s hands.
The series gives everyone the time they need for introductions whilst following a few main storylines. Dick Grayson has seperated from Batman and is struggling with his violence; he is now a full time detective and sees that as his way to help people, however he occasionally dons the mask to deal out justice. He’s still struggling with the death of his parents as he felt they never truly got justice, and he never found his redemption. As I mentioned he spends the majority of the series helping Rachel, and becomes a sort of mentor to her. Dick starts to question what he is, and what he wants to do, especially when Jason Todd is introduced as the new Robin.
Beast Boy is introduced as part of Doom Patrol, but quickly leaves them for the Titans. Currently he can only turn into a tiger, but is struggling with the beast inside! Beast Boy doesn’t really get a deep back story as his episode focuses on the the Doom Patrol, but this acts as a good setup for the Doom Patrol series. We know that he was rescued by the doctor and has been with them ever since.
Starfire gets hurled into the path of Robin and Rachel, she is actually meant to look slightly like a prostitute, she’s playing a persona but has lost her memories so doesn’t know what she’s doing, only that she’s looking for Rachel. She quickly learns that she can shoot fire and has a form of super strength (If you know anything you know she’s from another planet). She’s a total badass and uses her powers brutally, often burning people alive.
Rachel / Raven, as I mentioned, knows she has this evil inside her and is just trying to figure it out. She knows it has something to do with her father, and thinks it’s only a bad thing. Her adoptive mother seems scared of her but is only trying to help… We’re also introduced to Hawk and Dove, Hank and Dawn. Hank has pushed himself really far with being a superhero, and his body is starting to give up on him; Dawn is his partner on the streets, and in life, and is clearly worried about him. They’re both extremely broken people and seem to have only found happiness in each other, however it seems Dawn used to be with Robin and this causes some tension between the two.
Lastly we’re introduced to Donna Troy, Wonder Girl – She makes a brief appearance towards the end of the series when Robin seeks her out for somewhere to crash, but quickly gets involved with the Titans. I’m unsure if she’ll carry on to be a staying character or will get her own series.
– SPOILERS AHEAD –
What it does well..
What Titans does extremely well is it’s effort to seperate itself from past Titans adaptations which are obviously aimed towards kids. It uses it’s mature rating with pride, not only in the action and violence, but also in the subject matter. I loved seeing an on screen Robin who was this brutal, coming close to killing his enemies, and the others all struggling to not kill with their powers. It also puts a very negative spin on Batman; Dick just sets him out to be a man that uses children to be his scapegoat, saying that he never feels guilt for what he does – Jason Todd also agrees that Robin is only there as a target, hence the brightly coloured outfit. It makes full use that it’s set in the Batman universe and name drops Bruce a lot. It even finishes with an Elseworlds episode set in Gotham, which is one of my favourite hours of TV Batman that I’ve seen. It also sets up Superboy at the very end as a teaser, which should be amazing if done right.
Not only do they get awesome fanboy bits and pieces right, but the pacing is also spot on. Most episodes have some form of origin for their heroes, but also serve the ongoing story, never making it feel like a full on origin episode. Often what’s happened in their past correlates directly with what’s going on here and now; it finishes on a massive cliffhanger involving Raven’s dad, and teases an amazing series 2; in fact I’m willing to say that series 2 has the potential to be the best series of comic-based TV ever, as the only thing holding this back was the set up of a new universe and the individual characters.
I am so hyped to see what else happens in this universe, however I don’t know if I’ll paying for the DC subscription service for the others yet; I reccomend Titans to everyone, it’s been my favourite comic series of the last year. I guess it pays off to not judge a book by it’s cover! Agree with me? Disagree with me? Let me know in the comments below!