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Super Gritty and a Little Grown Up

The Teen Titans’ Television Transformation

Brenton Thwaites as Robin / Dick Grayson. Teagan Croft as Raven / Rachel Roth. Anna Diop as Starfire / Kori Anders. Ryan Potter as Beast Boy / Gar Logan.

The Teen Titans have been around in comics and animation for over 50 years, but they’ve just made the jump to live action with the new DC Universe series Titans. If you’ve been following the group of super powered youngsters over the years, this latest iteration is an odd mix of the familiar and the confusing.

Detective Dick Grayson is fighting crime legally and illegally in Detroit when he runs into an actual teenage Rachel Roth running from a doomsday cult. Meanwhile Kory Anders wakes with no memories in Eastern Europe, but quickly realizes she too is seeking Rachel, and continues her pursuit of the girl. Rachel later meets a friendly green tiger that’s actually a transformed Gar Logan, one of a secluded group of peculiar people named the Doom Patrol.

While a solid showing so far, the writers have taken several unusual liberties with these young yet venerable superheroes, leading to a series of progressively worrisome quandaries: When was Robin ever a police detective, and how did he become one so quickly? Have Raven’s demonic powers ever been portrayed so… vomitously? Has Beast Boy ever been limited to a single animal form? And — least excusably — why on Earth have the writers seen fit to give Starfire amnesia?

In spite of these odd choices, Titans is shaping up to be another fine contribution to the world of televised superheroism. The cast are firmly grounding these fantastic characters in reality, and are much more believable and relatable than the deific denizens of the cinematic DC universe. Give it a shot, and stand by for the Doom Patrol spinoff next year!

Written by in November of 2018. Last edited March 2019.

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