REVIEW: ‘Teen Titans Academy’ Vol 1 is Enjoyable, With a Few Missteps

Teen Titans Academy vol. 1 helps to introduce readers to a new generation of Titans, however, it has a few missteps along the way.

The Teen Titans have been a staple within the DC Universe since their inception at the hands of George Perez and Marv Wolfman, and the team has seen quite a few revamps throughout the years with its alternating roster. As excellent as those takes might’ve been, Future State and Infinite Frontier set out to do something different with Teen Titans Academy introducing a whole new generation of Titans.

Teen Titans Academy serves as the prequel for the events of Future State: Teen Titans, where we see the surviving Titans reel with a world-shattering event. Academy is the story leading up to that; this volume helps readers to become more acquainted with the students at the academy before most of them meet a grisly end.

The characters here are one of the story’s brightest gems, introducing us to students such as Summer Zahid, Totally Tubular, Gorilla Gregg, Bolt, Tress, Dane, Matt Price, Brick Pettirosso, and Stitch, a nonbinary ragdoll who is the apprentice of Doctor Fate. The most interesting of the bunch is the Batpack, a group of orphans rescued from an orphanage that was selling children off for use in science experiments. Megabat, Bratgirl, and Chupacabra were rescued by Nightwing and accepted into the academy. They are fun new additions and could technically be considered members of the Batfamily who are so ripe for their own solo title, it would be a shame to see them fade into the backlog of DC characters who aren’t getting their time to shine.

The story does fun things with the characters to really build them up and creatively explore their backgrounds. Alinta, aka Bolt, has a standout origin here, revealing Amanda Waller saved her not so long ago, and owes her big, like allegiance to Task Force X big. It feels like the writers figured they’d done enough though, after spotlighting a character for an issue it’s like the focus is ripped away from them and we don’t see them again for a while. Some of the characters here, booming with potential to explore, are kinda just left in the dust as it can feel as if the series is lacking direction. While the stories we are getting in this run with Stitch and the Batpack are great, it would be nice to see the other students like Miguel, Summer, and even Gorilla Gregg, the nephew of Grodd factored into the story more instead of being used when it is convenient to the story. While they are crucial it can at times feel like the OG titans are overwhelming the story just a bit, but the story does route focus back to the students.

While these solo stories are good, what I’d really like to see moving forward is the students coming together and learning to work as a team, I mean that’s the whole point of them being at the Teen Titans academy, after all. It would be much better to see the students actually working together and developing alongside each other, working much better in both their favor, as well as the story’s favor.

The main focus of the story is the mystery behind who the new Red X is; Red X is, of course, the brief alter-ego of Dick Grayson in the Teen Titans animated series who made his comic book debut in 2021. The mask has been picked up by another, coming and going from Titans tower as he pleases while the Titans freak out over it. The mystery would be more interesting if the series made an effort to get us to care about Red X. While he’s a cool-looking character, he is also a massive tool, and isn’t very likable with what they are doing with him here, crafting him as on a one-man crusade that just doesn’t seem noble enough to care.

Thankfully, this is only Vol. 1 of the story and is only comprised of the first few issues of the run. Even with there still being more to read, the story here shouldn’t feel unfinished and should be able to stand on its own. Teen Titans Academy was a creative path to navigate with a lot of potential to spotlight the new characters some may be meeting for the first time. 

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