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Rob Liefeld reviews Titans

posted Oct 8, 2018, 11:49 AM by Vu Sleeper
Rob Liefeld writes:

TITANS (Television Show) (12 Oct 2018)
Warner Bros
TITANS Review! Let me establish my Titans geek cred up front, I am a card carrying member of Titan Talk, the original Titans fan club started in 1983, my name is clearly visible in the guest book at the wedding of Wonder Girl in Titans #50. As a teen, I would pick up George Perez from the airport when he flew in for conventions and drive him to his hotel and later dinner. I would dine with Marv Wolfman, hanging on his every word alongside my childhood friend and current DC VP, Hank Kanalz. So I’m a long standing Titans freak. So, first off, going in, let’s clear one thing up, these are NOT Wolfman & Perez Titans. I repeat, these are not Wolfman & Perez Titans. One more time, these are not Wolfman & Perez Titans. No Kid Flash. No Wonder Girl. No Jericho. No Cyborg.

Now with that out of the way let me tell you, it’s GREAT. Yes, I said great. I mean it. All of it. This new line up. The entire cast.

Let’s start with Dick Grayson/Robin as portrayed by Brenton Thwaites. This is my favorite incarnation of Robin and in truth I’ve always liked Robin over Batman so this vision of Grayson really connects with me. As Dick or as Robin, he’s compelling, brooding, conflicted and looks amazing in the role. The show really could be called Robin and The Titans, it would be a more accurate assessment at this point in the shows evolution. Tasked with carrying the bulk of the story, Thwaites shows he has broad chops, his various interactions with the diverse cast always spark new energy.

The story in short, spoiler free is that Dick Grayson has left Gotham and set up shop as a detective in Detroit. Raven is a 14 year old girl, raised in the suburbs by a loving but terrified mother played by Twin Peaks own Sherilyn Fenn. But Raven is being hunted by followers of a mysterious cult. De-aging Raven to a 14 year old girl was a great call by the producers and creates an all new entry point for each character. This version of Raven has not been experienced in the comics before, she’s more vulnerable, relatable in this incarnation. I really, really enjoyed Raven and Teagan Croft gives an impressive performance that will recall Natalie Portman in The Profesional with a hint of Linda Blair in the Exorcist. Her torment is splendid.

Even more so than Raven, STARFIRE is a tremendous departure from her comic book roots, caught up in Austria, at the center of what is best considered a Jason Bourne-ish scenario of lost memory and mysterious danger. Anna Diop is wonderfully charming and smooth in this intriguing new take on Kory Anders, she is simultaneously refreshing and delightful. I won’t say anything about her plight other than what I’ve hinted at here, but as with Robin and Raven, she completely charmed me and I’m all aboard with her journey.

The brief encounter with Beast Boy hints at something much bigger on down the line. The FX was impressive. Matter of fact all the effects and production values on Titans are top notch.

And finally we meet Hawk and Dove as portrayed by Alan Ritchson and Minka Kelly. They have amazing chemistry, they’re electric together, they pop from minute they share the screen. Ritchson is large, a brawler, scrapper, haunted by personal demons that are quelled ever so slightly by the presence and influence of Dawn Granger. Minka Kelly embodies the role as a stabilizing force for many characters in Titans, she provides strength and clarity for all in her orbit. The 2nd episode is carried by Hank and Dawn’s story and I firmly believe the fans will leave wanting more of them, together. Again, this version of Hawk/Dove, their relationship with the Titans, specifically Robin, is uncharted territory, never before covered in the comics. I dig it. Yes, I have skin in the game in regards to Dawn Granger/Dove sharing credit for her alongside Barbara Randall and Karl Kesel, no matter, this depiction of Hawk and Dove is pitch perfect in every way.

What comes next I’m not aware, I saw the two episodes along with everyone else at the premiere. Bottom line, the show pops due to its mature content, separating it from the busy field of comic book adaptations in both film and television. The blood, gore, sex and violence is handled extremely well and will play to the audience consuming this material an audience that is, as I can attest with my own brood of teenagers, is maturing by the minute.

All the characters look great, every comic creator that has characters in the show and there are many, the families of Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson should be honored by the weight that Robin carries here. Arnold Drake and Bob Brown would be smiling at Beast Boy’s arrival in live action. This portrait of Hawk honors Steve Skeates and Steve Ditko. I’m thrilled with Dove’s screen debut as I’m certain will be Barbara and Karl. Raven and Starfire are exciting depictions of Marv Wolfman and George Perez contributions to Titans lore. And finally the men who brought the original Titans concept to life in 1965, Bob Haney and Sal Trapiani should be honored as the visionaries that brought this entire concept to life some 50 years back. This version of the Titans, assembled here for the first time, is dynamic and does their memory proud. I grew up buying Titans comics in the mid-70’s, I’ve watched every lineup take flight since I was 6. This one may fly the furthest yet. It’s fresh, it’s exciting and there’s no weak link in the bunch, all the characters stand tall with individual and collective appeal!

I’ll be buying the DC Universe streaming to follow this show and these colorful characters.