Thursday, September 29, 2011

Funny Book Friday: A Parent's Guide to Teen Titans #1

Welcome to my new column!  In Funny Book Friday I'll review a comic (either a single issue or a trade) and post my thoughts, including a Parent's Guide with possibly objectionable material listed - things that I may or may have not found to be inappropriate, but feel that some parents may want to be aware of.  And because I think that comic books are FANTASTIC for kids and their parents to read together I'll a include list of questions you and your kids can discuss together.  Have a Family Comic Book Club and have everyone read the same book over the course of a week and then talk about it over dinner, it'll be fun!

Teen Titans #1
Written by: Scott Lobdell 
Drawn by: Brett Booth.
Published Monthly by DC Comics

For my first Funny Book Friday I wanted to read something that was totallly new to me, but still appropriate for at least a teenaged reader and so I figured I'd go for something in DC's New 52.   My pals at Arcane Comics recommended and provided me a copy of Teen Titans #1.

I'm not a big DC reader, I wanted to use their recent reboot to discover some of the books my readers, friends and colleagues have been talking about for years.  Outside of the gorgeous All-Star Superman and mind-blowing Red Son, I am pretty clueless about most of the characters and goings on in the DC universe. You all may know what the deal with Tim Drake and Kid Flash are, but I've only ever heard of them in passing.  I'm truly coming at these reintroduced characters with very little knowledge about them, and experiencing them the way only a first time reader could.

This book is clearly a first issue.  Most of the content is character introduction and exposition.  You know how when you go back to watch the pilot of an established TV show and it's weird because characters that have become more nuanced over 5 seasons seem like characitures of themselves?  I'm hoping that this book goes in this direction.  There's a lot of potential for the characters and plot they introduced but right now it's a lot of exposition and introductions.  I expect the next few issues to follow in that vein as the rest of the Teen Titans team is introduced.  The writing is snappy enough to show promise, and the mysteries introduced piqued my interest. I could definitely see kids getting into this,especially as a first foray into the more complex characters and story telling that can be found in more mature comics.  I'm sure those already familiar with Teen Titans have a better idea about where this is going than a brand new reader like me, but from a first time reader's perspective it was clear enough to not confuse me, but mysterious enough that I left the first issue eager to find out what happens next.

Parent's Guide: 
Age Appropriateness: This book is rated Teen. Besides the use of a single mild curse word and some flagrant disregard for authority it's pretty mild.  I'd let Nate (age 11) read this one with a bit of guidenance.
Things to look out for: One mention of the word "ass" as in "That kid is acting like an ass" (not a direct quote, but in that same context), a teen driving what is implied to be a stolen car, a teen disregarding a firefighter's instructions, a teen blowing up his apartment to escape a villain.
Talking Points: Why does Kid Flash behave the way he does?  What is he trying to accomplish?  What do you think Red Robin's goal is?  How does Cassie feel about her powers and why do you think she feels that way? What did you think of the ending? What do you think will happen next?

Have a suggestion for a book for Funny Book Friday?  Leave it in the comments or email me at sharon(at)

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