In recent months, DC has been putting out fancy hardcover “Celebration” volumes as some of their landmark characters hit major anniversaries. I passed on the Batman and Joker volumes, as both have been the subject of similar retrospective collections over the years. Their most recent offering, however, is a must-have.
TEEN TITANS: A CELEBRATION OF 50 YEARS is a well-designed, smartly put-together look back at the history of comics’ original team of teen super-sidekicks, with selections included from every era of the series, with proper weight given to the most significant incarnations.
The book opens with the original version of the team from the 1960s, including two excellent selections from landmark TITANS artist Nick Cardy, and one from the not-so fondly remembered (except maybe by me) 1970s series, which included members like the Guardian, Bumblebee and the Harlequin.
Plenty of attention is given to arguably the most historically significant version of the Titans, the 1980s relaunch from writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez, with two of the four issues included being two of the most acclaimed, “Who Is Donna Troy?” and the finale of “The Judas Contract.”
Even the least loved version of the team, Dan Jurgens’ “teen Atom”-fronted version from the late ‘90s, gets a little attention, as does Peter David’s much-loved Young Justice, even though it was technically never really a “Teen Titans” title.
Geoff Johns’ Young Justice-influenced relaunch of the TITANS in the 2000s is also given its due, as it should: Johns’ TITANS was probably some of the best writing of his career, second only to his JSA material.
Honestly, the only thing that stands out like a sore thumb here is Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth’s New 52 re-launch, which I don’t think anyone considers a high point in TITANS history, but is included here by necessity for corporate branding purposes.
A pleasant surprise are issues of TINY TITANS and TEEN TITANS GO!, a nice nod to the Titans’ more recent role as TV stars and kids’ comics favorites.
For those who might enjoy a quick walk through TITANS history, I can think of much worse ways to spend your forty bucks. Highly recommended.