Writer: Marv Wolfman / Artist: Alisson Borges / DC Comics
This comic is hilarious. Raven #1 takes place between Teen Titans #24 and the new Teen Titans: Rebirth where she branches out on her own to learn more about herself and where she came from. Not Azarath, but San Francisco where she meets her mother’s family and tries to acclimate to a “normal” teenager life, one that replaces superhero-ing with surviving high school, making friends, and learning to love her family. My expectation was modest: the melancholy-goth hero would endure the typical trying-to-adjust-as-a-normal-teen experience, having one awkward faux pas after another, with readers meant to find endearment in their embarrassment as they struggle to learn to be proud of who they are. I expected angst-ridden Supergirl, in black. And on the surface level that’s what Raven #1 seems to be, only the surprise came when this comic proved to have way more depth than expected.
Raven, logical and distrusting, is skeptical she even did the right thing by seeking out her family, and even in the opening issue we see character growth as she questions whether she’s wrong in her cynicism. Couple with that the history of her father, a mysterious and violent empath, and then the regular teen-fitting-in sub-drama, and we have a deep, dark, and entirely entertaining read of my favorite Teen Titan.
Raven #1 also serves as a fairly easy entry point to the character as it craftily weaves backstory into its early pages with Raven narrating her introduction to new family at home and classmates at school. Much of the emotional weight comes from these scenes as Raven flashes back to literal hell from whence she came, but it’s also where most of the comedy lands best. In one scene an inquiring student asks Raven how her dad is, to which a thought bubble of the 6-eyed demon Trigon appears from Raven’s head. “Evil,” she says. Her dim new friends obviously had no idea how literal she meant it. Much of the credit for the comedy has to land with Alisson Borges; she draws a great issue that captures the seriousness of Raven’s character and the humor that comes with it.
Overall, this is a 6-issue series that, if the first issue is any indication, I will love to read.