Last night, attendees at New York Comic Con got an exclusive look at the first two episode’s of DC Universe’s Titans. The 12-episode series, starring former sidekicks and teenage heroes, Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Raven, is set to launch on DC’s new streaming service on October 12th. There’s a lot riding on Titans, and with Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing, and Stargirl series in production, DC is hoping that Titans will bring comic book fans together.
Following the release of the first trailer at SDCC, and Robin’s now infamous line, "f**k Batman," few know exactly what to expect from the show. Will it manage to be faithful to Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s celebrated run? Will it be along the lines of DC’s CW efforts or something else entirely? Well now that the first reviews are in, fans may have a little better idea what to expect. If Titans' early renewal for Season 2 is any indication, DC Universe may have tapped into something with longterm potential.
**Spoiler Warning: There are minor spoilers for Titans below**
IGN gave the first three episodes a positive review, highlighting the series’ tone, which is described as lighter than the films that make up DC’s cinematic universe, and aided by charming humor, but more violent – if you can imagine that.
“The violence does feel gratuitous at times, with a 'look, ma - no broadcast standards and practices!' approach that comes across as more distracting than the producers perhaps intended. Just because we can see someone's grey matter being splattered all over the floor on a streaming show, doesn't necessarily mean we need to,” IGN writes, while also noting that the violence does come from a character-driven place and really highlights the mindset that Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) finds himself in his efforts to step out of Batman’s shadow and start on his path to becoming Nightwing.
Collider was, to put it mildly, far less enthusiastic about the series, lamenting the violence but also the show’s aesthetic which they referred to as ranging “from unappealing to shockingly cheap.” Worse yet, is their assessment that many of the characters particularly Starfire (Anna Diop) and Beast Boy (Ryan Potter) feel like they belong in different shows.
On the mess of tones and styles, Collider sums it best by saying, Titans is “Riverdale with zero self-awareness. Gotham without a whiff of fun. It’s Arrow if The CW allowed for gratuitous, minutes-long shots of dudes getting beaten with a stick. All put together, Titans lands just about as gracefully as The Flying Graysons.”
Nerdist presented a very enthusiastic take on the show, going as far as to compare it to an HBO series that manages to be a “unique, sometimes harrowing, and surprisingly engaging prospect” populated by characters the viewer is made to care about.
While other reviews focused on Robin, making him seem like the show’s focus, Nerdist highlights the ensemble aspect of the series and the strength of Teagan Croft’s performance as Raven and Anna Diop’s breakthrough as Starfire. “The cast is at the core of what makes Titans so enjoyable, but it’s also dependent on Geoff Johns and Akiva Goldsman’s script, which manages to surprise and entertain while telling what should be a reasonably rote and recognizable story,” Nerdist writes.
In a mixed review, Forbes compared the series to Riverdale, calling its distinction from the animated Titans series and films over the last few years jarring.
“Put bluntly, this is not a show with broad appeal. Not everyone is going to want to see what became of the likes of Robin and Raven through this lens. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but it does mean it’s different,” Forbes writes.
With only a week to go until Titans premieres on DC Universe, audiences will soon be able to determine for themselves whether the Titans are a go.