The first trailer for Titans caused a bit of a stir, but is it worth your time or a subscription to DC Universe?
It makes a lot of sense.
One of DC’s trademarks is the legacy hero, and there is no greater one than Dick Grayson. Whether Robin, Nightwing, a secret agent or even Batman, Grayson embodies the direction of his universe in nearly every era. In the 1980s, no book embraced this more than The New Teen Titans. As I mentioned in our Teen Titans Starter Guide, Wolfman and Pérez crafted one of the finest superhero epics of all time, taking Robin (and eventually Nightwing) into a new realm of storytelling. The run really transforms the characters into something special, and transitioned the sometimes sidekicks more effectively than has been seen before or since. Batman may be the icon, but Robin is the reason to read comics; the story that always evolves and grows through the years.
*Minor Spoilers Ahead*
Titans faces the unenviable challenge of capturing that magic and bringing it to the small screen. While superhero television isn’t exactly a rarity these days, the reverence for these characters maintained by many fans makes it a unique narrative to take on. Keep in mind that Brenton Thwaites is the first live-action Robin since Chris O’Donnell over twenty years ago. Dick Grayson is simply a complex character to translate. Not to mention the direct ties to a Batman that cannot be the focus of the show. Thankfully, the crew on this one used a plethora of weapons at their disposal, and made this an enjoyable ride.
Since Titans is not on a traditional network, the content within can go even darker than its CW counterparts. I’d argue that the show is often darker than the admittedly grim Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. In this case, it functions as an effective balance of tone. Titans makes no excuses when it comes to superheroes, you’ll find costumes and powers galore. Hawk and Dove are two of the coolest to ever make it to screen. The grit helps ground what could otherwise come off as silly. Scenes involving Raven’s ever evolving powers maintain a distinct horror feel, even utilizing a jump scare or two. Robin’s arc is detective story, and allows his actions to move into a more pulp-noir style. Starfire has a seventies crime drama aura about her. Oh, and Beast Boy along with the other members of the Doom Patrol are just plain weird. Though this could soon change, this gives the show an advantage over the now established Marvel style. Marvel always seems to hesitate to go too far in one direction, this show embraces the exploitation of its elements. DC Universe seems willing to take more risks and, in turn, has created an interesting product.
Titans is available exclusively through the DC Universe streaming service. Though not as complete as one might hope, the service has a lot to offer and with Young Justice soon returning, it may be the right time to bite.