Geoff Johns’ Teen Titans: A Kid’s Game

I stumbled across the Teen Titans quite by accident a while ago, and recently started following Geoff Johns’ version of the team. They’re an engaging bunch of kids, and manage to get themselves into some pretty hot water.

The story of A Kid’s Game is fairly simple, in broad outline: Cyborg has decided it’s time to reconstitute the team, and starts assembling a group of super-powered teenagers: Conner Kent, who is the new Superboy (this version’s a clone of Superman, mixed with DNA from an unspecified human); Cassie Sansmark, a/k/a Supergirl, who has a direct link to a god or two; Bart Allen (Impulse), who feels himself under the shadow of the Flash; Gar Logan, the Changeling (also known as Beast Boy), who is fairly obnoxious; Robin (Tim Drake), who most definitely does not want to be Batman; Raven, still trying to deal with her demon heritage; and the extra-terrestrial Koriand’r, Starfire, who is feeling her exile. The plan is to have the group gather on weekends at Titans Tower for training and learning teamwork, which is not without its risks — they don’t necessarily get along all that well, and they tend to run off and try to save the world on a moment’s notice.

And then master hit-man Deathstroke targets the Teen Titans for elimination.

Geoff Johns’ script is fairly tight, and he’s managed to capture these teenagers — they really do read as a bunch of kids, wanting to do the right thing, not always sure exactly how to go about it, headstrong and impatient with adult authority. (A big issue here for the team is establishing their independence.) The interpersonal dynamics come across as genuine. The story lines are tight and well-constructed — I had no trouble staying engaged.

The pencils, by Mike McCone and Tom Grummet, are good and clear, the clarity reinforced by the deft, confident inking of Marlo Alquiza and Nelson. Character designs are apt — the kids look like themselves, which isn’t always the case. Color, by Jeremy Cox, is, thankfully, not at all garish (I’ve run across too many of those lately), and very naturalistic. Graphically, it’s very satisfying.

A Kid’s Game is the first collection of Teen Titans. It’s worth a look, at least, although the series as a whole is a little uneven.

Collects Teen Titans #1-7.

(DC, 2004)

About Robert Tilendis

Robert M. Tilendis lives a deceptively quiet life. He has made money as a dishwasher, errand boy, legal librarian, arts administrator, shipping expert, free-lance writer and editor, and probably a few other things he’s tried very hard to forget about. He has also been a student of history, art, theater, psychology, ceramics, and dance. Through it all, he has been an artist and poet, just to provide a little stability in his life. Along about January of every year, he wonders why he still lives someplace as mundane as Chicago; it must be that he likes it there.

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