|Titans are Terrific!|
The Teen Titans weren’t the first group of superheroes but they were the youngest and consisted of the sidekicks to the older, more established heroes. Originally stylized as a Junior Justice League and each sidekick in many ways were simply a carbon copy of their mentor but they evolved and grew into their own distinct voice. Happily, this cartoon series captures that voice by focusing on a eclectic cast of characters of Cyborg, Beast Boy, Raven, Starfire, and Robin; aping the glory days of Marv Wolfman and George Perez.
With that broad range of characters of a high-tech hero, a mystic, an alien, a street vigilante, and the adopted child of a family of superheroes; you have a very broad range of stories that you can get into and the guys behind this series weren’t afraid to tap into all of those ideas and the storylines were truly great, involving, and distinct. The five main characters were all great as well; each of them has their own distinct personality and often times, the comedy comes from the interactions between the group. Animation wise, the Titans were a very unique and distinctively anime-inspired which I thought was a very nice change in direction from the Bruce Timm-style of all of the men having huge upper bodies with teeny slender legs.
What I think hurt the Titans was that they were limited to the various villains and foes of the Titans had faced; they never battled say the Joker from Batman or ran into one of Lex Luthor’s schemes or Gorilla Grodd’s nefarious plots.
Nevertheless they did do something right with their version of Deathstroke the Terminator as Slade. He was a great horrific villain but in some ways, I found him a bit lacking as he was never really given an origin, a back story, or an explanation as to why he was a villain or constantly tormenting the Titans after Robin rejected being his apprentice. I also thought that his name to be lacking as well. I mean Slade is a perfectly decent name but it just can't quite equal Deathstroke or the Terminator.
I will give them credit that they revamped and updated dozen of old, musty villains from Trident to Mad Mod but the Titans were left in their own distinct and limited corner of the DC-verse. As the later seasons rolled around, they seemed to be getting goofier and goofier in terms of villains and certain joke episodes were getting more tiresome than a nice change—the characters of the Ding Dong Daddy and Control Freak being some of the dumber ones.
They never even encountered Batman for that matter, which I thought was a disappointment as an episode with him and Robin would have been a very compelling one I think. Even the creators realized that and tried to broaden their base by reintroducing the Doom Patrol, but I have to admit that I wasn’t that disappointed when they retired the franchise rather than letting them linger with horrible storylines.
The voice actors were brilliant in their roles and I thought that Scott Menville (Robin) and Tara Strong (Raven) were truly outstanding. Greg Cipes (Beast Boy) was one of the more funny voices that I can ever remember hearing; having a bit of high-pitched with a bit of lisp that made him very distinctive. But one of the truly awesome voice actors didn't even belong to a regular cast member but Ron Perlman (Slade). Perlman had a great vocal range; coming off as low, melodious and almost seductive voice when talking and doing his "I'm so smart speeches" and then suddenly shifting to an animalistic growling and screaming during his fighting sequences.
Nevertheless, the Teen Titans were a terrific show with a broad range of stories from the fantastical, to the mystical, and to dark criminal noir. It was a very enjoyable show and a very different take on superhero cartoons that I think both children and adults would enjoy.
RATING: 3 and 1/2 STARS.