REVIEW: Raven #1 (of 6)

Now, I am a huge Raven fan.  She is by far one of the best characters in the mobile version of Injustice: Gods Among Us, with a wide and varied comic history.  Raven was instrumental in the founding of the New Teen Titans under the stewardship of Marv Wolfman and George Perez.  With her dark side always part of her charm, a comparison could be made with Marvel’s Phoenix / Dark Phoenix, such was the popularity of both teams.  Nowadays, Raven seems to be very much a thrown away character, despite her level of power, her popularity has waned with each new re-iteration of the Titans.  Maybe DC feels the same, with the bringing in of legendary Titans writer Marv Wolfman to possibly balance the scales.

Set between Teen Titans #24, with a nod to Detective #940 and the upcoming Teen Titans Rebirth #1, we get to catch up with Raven, using her civilian name garnered from her mother’s earthly family.  Rachel, is now going to high school, having to acclimatize and as an empath, deal with the surging flow of emotions from her class mates.  But there is more going on in the school, with hints of powers that rivals Raven and a plan set in motion, which centres around her.

Lets get one thing straight, this Raven is not the Raven you remember.  DC are renowned for de-aging characters and Raven is a prime example.  The problem with Raven is that she has been though so much, yet still remains so young in attitude and look.  Somehow it just doesn’t quite fit.  Still Wolfman tries his best;  there are elements of Raven’s powers, how she deals with the world around her and how she internalizes her pain and fear.  The dialogue is quite trendy, which should appeal to a certain crowd and as a first issue, the job of enticing the reader with an intriguing premise is handled well.

Alisson Borges provides the art for the book, producing a book that has a style that borders on the cartoony with languid curved lines that creates angles that add a level of propulsion to proceedings.  The characters are all young, and their vibrancy is easily shown throughout Borges’ pencils.  In addition, it seems that Borges has been studying Teen Titans Go! for that trademark Raven scowl and overall disdain.  Blond adds a raft of colors going through the gamut of schemes, from bright family time to the darkness of nightmares and paternal internal demons.

Is Raven a top-tier character that deserves to be held in esteem from the higher echelons of DC or is she a has been, that only long-term fans like me have any appreciation for?  Judging on this issue only, it seems that Raven the comic book has a certain resonance with Raven the character, in that they are both trying to find their feet.  If anyone can steer her back in to the fold, it would be character co-creator Marv “Teen Titans” Wolfman.

Writing – 3.5 Stars
Art – 3 Stars
Colors – 3.5 Stars

Written by Marv Wolfman
Art by Alisson Borges, Blond, & A Larger World
Published by DC Comics

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