Teen Titans Volume 1: It’s Our Right to Fight by Scott Lobdell – Graphic Novel Review [Bane of Kings]
Bane of Kings reviews the trade paperback containing the first seven issues of It’s Our Right To Fight, the first Teen Titans collection of DC’s New 52, written by Scott Lobdell, with art from Brett Booth.
“An entertaining, action packed introduction to New 52’s Teen Titans. It’s Our Right to Fight is a graphic novel that is flawed, but very fun.” ~The Founding Fields
It’s Our Right To Fight was the first trade paperback volume that I picked up in print of DC’s New 52 series, and my first non-Batman or Watchmen related DC Graphic Novel that I’ve in my rather short history of reading comics. Well, you could argue that Teen Titans is Batman related, mainly due to the inclusion of Tim Drake, aka Red Robin – but I like to think that it can stand firmly on its own, even if this volume borrows characters from not only Gotham City, but also Superman’s cast, including Superboy.
I’d read the first issue of It’s Our Right To Fight on Comixology but I decided to give the whole collection a try and I wasn’t disappointed. The art is awesome and the story it tells is enjoyable, but nothing’s a perfect read.
As a part of the acclaimed DC Comics – The New 52 event of September 2011, writer Scott Lobdell (X-Men, The Age of Apocalypse) and artist Brett Booth (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA) deliver a fresh new take on DC Comics’ teen heroes, the Teen Titans.Tim Drake, Batman’s former sidekick, is back in action when an international organization called Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. seeks to capture, kill or co-opt super-powered teenagers. As Red Robin, he’s going to have to team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl, the hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash and few more all-new teen super-heroes to stand any chance at all against N.O.W.H.E.R.E. But as Superboy meets them for the first time, the Titans have to wonder, is he a friend – or foe?
It’s Our Right To Fight is essentially the Justice League compromised of teenagers with superpowers (with the exception of Tim Drake, who has none), and I picked up this collection in order to see how Lobdell would handle these characters past the first issue. As it turns out, pretty well. Red Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Superboy, Bunker and others all get starring roles here, and I really enjoyed the way in which Red Robin gathered them all together as a team. The artwork is clean and more similar to the light tones of Marvel than the gritty atmospheric Gotham City which is where the bulk of my DC Comics reading takes place, but I was quite happy to give Teen Titans a try anyway. There isn’t any blatantly obvious plotholes here, and although the dialogue was a little forced at times and I didn’t really like the name NOWHERE (but hey, you’ve got to call your super-secret organization something, right?), but despite its flaws, this was an enjoyable read.
I haven’t watched Young Justice, namely because I’m not a big cartoon fan, so I can’t really compare it to Lobdell’s take on the Teen Titans. However, this volume kicks off this series with a bang – I preferred the first half of the comic more than the second where we were watching the Teen Titans form for the first time, and it’s nice that Lobdell doesn’t have to rely on guest appearances by Justice League characters to make this story more interesting – as even though there’s a photograph of Batman and a brief mention of how Kid Flash isn’t connected with the Flash, this is all about the Teen Titans.
The characters are interesting and varied. Red Robin is the main character and in the first issue we’re also quickly introduced to Kid Flash, an arrogant teenage speedster, Wonder Girl – a teenage anti-authoritarianism metahuman, and these are the most memorable characters in the book. Other characters, Bunker, Skitter, Bugg etc, aren’t really developed in as much depth as they could be and I’m guessing that Superboy will get character focus in his first volume, which follows a similar story to It’s Our Right to Fight.
I’m also somewhat annoyed by the fact that this Volume doesn’t actually have a clear ending, leaving us on a cliffhanger, and we’re left with a choice – does the reader go and buy the issues individually from here on out, or wait until the collected edition comes out? I personally will be waiting until the release of the second trade paperback to find out how this ends, mainly due to the art. Whilst some of it isn’t really memorable, there are a few standout pieces of artwork in here, like this one for example, that happens in the first issue:
[click on image to see full size]
So in conclusion, should you buy It’s Our Right To Fight? The answer is yes. It’s told in a humorous way that’s similar to Joss Whedon’s Avengers film, only with teenagers as the main characters and they’re battling against an evil organization rather than aliens. The series is a lot of fun to read and while you don’t feel like any of the characters are at risk of actually dying over the course of the Volume, it’s still an action-packed, engaging read.