Raven takes a break from the Teen Titans and moves to San Francisco to face her most perilous challenge yet: high school! As Raven discovers more about her human side, one of her classmates goes missing under mysterious circumstances, and she must face an evil like none she’s known before! Collects RAVEN #1-6.
– DC COMICS
Writer/Creator: Marv Wolfman
Ruy Jose, Diogenes Neves, Alisson Borges
Cover by: Alisson Borges
On Sale Date: May 10 2017
I had very few doubts about whether or not I would enjoy reading this graphic novel, featuring my favourite super heroine in the DC Comics franchise. Written by the character’s original creator – Marv Wolfman (Crisis on Infinite Earths, New Teen Titans), this is everything that I would expect from a Raven story: Dark, emotional, gripping, and addictive.
Set between TEEN TITANS #24 and TEEN TITANS: REBIRTH #1 (R.I.P Tim Drake), Raven relocates to San Francisco to live with her deeply religious extended family, while also attending high school. Suddenly, a giant white orb appears over the local carnival, drawing in hoards of the city’s youth via mind control, and forcing them to endure endless amusement park rides which they are powerless to stop. The catch is, Raven can’t penetrate the orb (unless it is convinced that she’s too weak to be a threat), and Raven is forced to control her powers – thus keeping her father Trigon at bay – and save the city from this new threat without the aid of the Teen Titans or the Justice League.
Perhaps the best thing about this graphic novel is that it was written by Raven’s original creator Marv Wolfman, who also wrote new Teen Titans back in 1980. One need not have any previous knowledge about the character or any of her previous adventures to enjoy this work; Wolfman provides enough backstory and personal profile on Raven to refresh older readers and get newer ones acquainted, all without robbing the story of it’s natural pace.
One of the best aspects of this sotyr is getting to explore Raven’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. She’s a superhero with extraordinary powers, and yet she is forced to keep in them check lest unleashing her father on planet Earth. However, her insecurities are explored without making her overly brooding or making the story dark beyond enjoyment.
The one downside with the plot (and this is a nitpick) is the villain of the story. This giant white orb that attempts to ensnare San Francisco seems to be familiar with Raven’s powers, and yet, I don’t really no much about it. Where did it come from? That sort of thing,. After being “defeated”, it flies off into the vacuum of space, in search of a new target.
Then again, this was most likely done to put more focus on Raven, who most single-handedly overpower the entity all while keeping her powers in check, her father at bay, and her reputation with her classmates and family on a positive note. Wolfman is able to present all of this via a well rounded character and attention grabbing plot.
Speaking of attention-grabbing, I was really impressed with the artwork. Ruy Jose, Diogenes Neves, Alisson Borges and various others did a lot of justice to this story. The way raven was drawn was exactly how I would have imagined her, and I was highly impressed with her “soul counterpart’s” redesign. The blue hood look is still a classic, but this was an example of a redesign done right. The backgrounds, the carnival, even Ravens dreams seem to be done with extra care by this team of artists, colourists and inkers.
This 6 part graphic novel is a great introduction to the Raven character, and a must-read for a fan of Marv Wolfman.
Update: I have read a lot of the criticisms of this series. Some complained that it wasn’t very focused, while others thought the execution was messy. Sure, I’ll grant that issue 1 focuses more on Raven’s personal adjustment to family/school life, while the villain is a bit thin on some levels. I don’t however think that the weak points rob this graphic novel of its enjoyment value; the plot is easy to follow and even-paced from my perspective, and the artwork was decent on the eyes and universally tolerable. I am a lifelong fan of Wolfman, so I do have a bias. What can I say; to each his own.
#ReadingChallenge2018 – 6