For an impressive standalone whether you know everything or nothing about the universe, for likable and dynamic characters, for a clever use of the art to convey elements of story
When a tragic accident takes the life of 17-year-old Raven Roth’s foster mom—and Raven’s memory—she moves to New Orleans to recover and finish her senior year of high school. Starting over isn’t easy. Raven remembers everyday stuff like how to solve math equations and make pasta, but she can’t remember her favorite song or who she was before the accident. And when impossible things start happening, Raven begins to think it might even be better not to know who she was before. But as she grows closer to her new friends, her foster sister, Max, and Tommy Torres, a guy who accepts her for who she is now, Raven has to decide if she’s ready to face what’s buried in the past… and the darkness building inside her.
I fell in love with the cartoon “Teen Titans” when I was a kid, so I was pretty excited to see this graphic novel come out. I didn’t know much about Raven’s actual story, and was excited to get some details. From the author’s notes, it sounds like they might have changed or adapted some aspects from the original, so if you’re a diehard fan who knows the story keep an open mind.
Character development can be difficult in the shorter span of a graphic novel, but it was done well here. The use of coloring to indicate emotion, speaker, and to highlight important visual aspects was very effective and made me slow down to really look at each scene. I have a bad habit of skimming the art in a graphic novel, and so I sometimes miss elements or interesting details. Not here, though!
The plot was a blend of predictable and surprise, which I’m okay with. At a certain point, you’ve just read enough to be able to guess the direction a story might be going. Any surprises after that are good for me!
I’d love to see a second installment, though I’m not sure if there will be. Perhaps it’s intended to blend into another set of stories around her that I’m just not aware of – give me a heads up if you know where I could go next! One thing I have on my list is the Beast Boy installment coming out this year. I read the first chapter and it looks like it will be just as good as Raven was!