REVIEW: Titans: The Complete First Season
Fans were horrified when the overly dark teaser trailer arrived last summer, with a wet, angry Robin (Brenton Thwaites) declaring, “Fuck Batman!” This was certainly not the Bob Haney and Nick Cardy version or even the Marv Wolfman and George Pérez version that was a direct ancestor. As a result, the Titans series which helped launch the DC Universe streaming service was approached with a great deal of apprehension.
The bottom line is that it turned out better than one feared although it really had little to do with the once best-selling title that is credited with saving DC Comics from creative failure. The 11 episodes are now collected by Warner Home Entertained as Titans: The Complete First Season, a two-disc Blu-ray offering out now.
For those unwilling to shell out for the channel, this and the other shows coming to disc is a great way to catch up.
There’s something threatening the world and it wants Rachel Roth, aka Raven (Teagan Croft). When one attempt brings her into contact with Dick Grayson, fresh from quitting being the Teen Wonder, she gains a protector.
Also on the hunt for Rachel is Kory Anders (Anna Diop), who has questions about her own past and feels drawn to Rachel, who may possess the answers. She, of course, discovers she is Koriand’r, Starfire with power of her own.
When they collide, they recognize their need for one another and the group gains one more member with the backdoor pilot to the Doom Patrol and the decision of Gar Logan (Ryan Potter) to hook up with the new teens.
Add in Hawk (Alan Ritchson) and Dove (Minka Kelly) as veteran crimefighters, a semi-retired Wonder Girl (Conor Leslie), and Jason Todd (Curran Walters) as the new Robin, you have the beginning of a universe of heroes. Dialogue is liberally sprinkled to references to their adult partners, the Justice League, and so on. The universe will be growing even bigger with the second season as Conner Kent’s Superboy, Aqualad, Jericho, Ravager, and Deathstroke all stop by.
Chasing after Rachel/Raven is The acolyte (Jarreth J. Metz) and the Nuclear Family, borrowed from Batman and the Outsiders. They all want her so daddy Trigon can come to Earth, a thread left unresolved after the dozen episode season was trimmed by one.
The others are similarly divorced from the source material but not in as jarring a fashion, at least to me.
The look and feel of the series is of much higher quality than one might have expected. Crimefighter can be brutal and the show doesn’t shy away from this aspect, especially with the scenes involving Hawk and Dove or Robin. The writing is fairly good and the direction solid. My biggest issue is the total misrepresentation of Dick Grayson’s character. On a featurette, Geoff Johns talks about taking a moment of darkness during the comic book Batman-Robin split and building off that. I don’t recall any such darkness, just Dick growing apart, not wanting to dedicate his life to vengeance. After all, he was from a circus family and frankly, Chuck Dixon’s run on Nightwing stands as the best take on the hero.
The bonus features are all pulled from the DC Universe website, with nothing new. There are all behind the scenes, two- to three- minutes long. While interesting, you are left wanting some meat. For the record they are:
- Raven and Robin Dark Rebirth
- The Story of Titans
- The Characters of Titans
- The Making of Titans
- Dick Grayson’s and Rachel Roth’s Dark Past
- A Look at Vigilantes Hawk and Dove
- The Identity of Titans Kory Anders/Starfire
- Gar Logan’s Journey
- Rachel’s Powers
- The Doom Patrol Meets the Titans.
- Jason Todd’s Robin
- From Comic to Live-Action Adventure
- Meet Wonder Girl
- Dick Grayson’s Dark Past
- World of Super Heroes and Vigilantes