DC’s range of graphic novels for the Young Adult audience has been surprisingly delightful so far. The idea is pretty simple. Tell super-hero stories, but concentrate on the human drama. We get action scenes sure, but before the heroes get beaten up, they spend a chunk of time making us care about them first.
Beast Boy Loves Raven sees both heroes at the start of their career. Beast Boy is trying to control his powers where as Raven is trying to figure out how she can avoid unleashing hell on earth. Both have been lured to the city of Nashville by a mysterious stranger called Slade , who claims to be able to help them. Those familiar with Teen Titans from other media will be well aware that this is a bad idea. Luckily, they meet up with other super-human types along the way.
The book mostly focuses on Beast Boy and Raven’s inner-monologue. This is a fun little tale of two young people growing to trust each other, with a touch of super-hero fantasy thrown in for good measure. It is a little two-dimensional in places; Raven seems to be more of a stereotypical goth than a haunted hero. Beast Boy is a little too gullible but given that the character is meant to be sweet to the point of stupidity, this barely a massive shift in personality.
Gabriela Downie’s lettering work on the book is a perfect blend of teen magazine and accessibility. It’s bright and brings the book to life. David Calderon’s colours are very pleasing; these books lean toward the pastel and Calderon’s approach is to use colour to remind the reader of the main character’s powers. This is very well done. Kami Garcia’s writing is strong. It does lean a little too heavily on tropes, but this is a super-hero book, that’s expected. Gabriel Picolo’s art strikes the balance between cartoon and drama – it’s distinctly a Young Adult comic but with just enough nods to Teen Titan’s legacy to make it fun for everyone.
Over all, a great read.