As someone who has been reading Titans books for over a decade, I consider myself something of a fan of the team. Geoff Johns run was the first I read (after being a huge Young Justice fan for so long) and then I decided to go all in and find back issues of the Perez and Wolfman run. Point is I’ve been around the block, so to speak, when it comes to the Teen Titans.
Suffice it to say, I was actually really excited when I heard the announcement of the Titans series, way back when, and remained hopefully optimistic even when the “F- Batman” trailer came out.
I knew they were going to make changes and not stay too faithful to the original Wolfman/Perez run. I was a huge fan of the animated series, so obviously I’m accustomed to adaptation.
With all of that preamble out of the way…Titans is…not a good adaptation of the source material. Forget changes to the story, I expect that, but the series fundamentally gets the cores of these characters so wrong. It’s surprising to me since Johns, a writer who’s work I respect, is on this series. If anyone should understand these characters I would think it would be him.
The core of my problem with Titans is the bastardization of characters with such rich history and personality. Dick Grayson, an optimist, a leader, and a loyal friend, is now a bitter, violent, lost soul who was assumedly “corrupted by Batman”. This version of Dick has seemingly no problems sleeping with the girlfriend of an ally, teammate, and presumably friend, Hank Hall. Obviously, we don’t know the full story there, but the fact is, this is a poor facsimile of Dick Grayson. Dick is just one of the characters who seems to have been adapted so miserably to this bleak universe.
At the heart of the original “New Teen Titans” series was a human drama with superhuman characters. There was so much to work with within that framework. Instead, they decided to go with a gritty, violent take that abandons the hopeful, youthful, and optimistic stories of any of the Titans books before the Flashpoint reboot.
tl;dr This series is missing the heart of the stories that inspired it. And Dick lives up to his namesake.
I hope the series and characters improve as the season progresses.