Comics Review – Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Teen Titans: Beast Boy is the second book in the Teen Titans series from writer Kami Garcia, artist Gabriel Picolo, and colorist David Calderon. Although Beast Boy naturally centers on Beast Boy himself, it’s a direct follow up to Teen Titans: Raven, the first book in the series that was released in 2019. The series is part of DC’s YA line of original graphic novels that launched a few years ago. The line has been pumping out a pretty high volume of OGN’s target at the YA demo and I’ve found most, including Raven, to be fairly successful.

Beast Boy starts by introducing Garfield Logan’s own set of adolescent challenges. On the surface, Gar’s biggest problems are a bit more straightforward than Raven’s. There’s no amnesia, just a lot of concern about gaining muscle, the fact he hasn’t hit a growth spurt, and trying to impress his crush. This is mostly standard fare for any seventeen-year-old boy. Of course, we later come to learn that Gar’s problems with his body are a bit more complicated than those of a normal teenager.

Beast Boy follows mostly the same pattern as the rest of the DC YA graphic novels. There’s a lot of focus on the day-do-day life of high school, awkward romance, and feelings of insecurity. This standard YA fare makes up most of the tension in the book while the superhero plot simmers in the background until the third act. Gar’s feelings of inadequacy and the superpower slowly weave together as the story moves forward. The result felt a bit predictable, but would likely be pretty successful for the target audience that might not have as much baked in Beast Boy knowledge.

The structure of Beast Boy mirrors that of Raven pretty closely and leaves Gar in a similar situation. The creative team seems to be in the series for the long haul and the next book will feature Raven and Beast Boy meeting up for the first time. I’m wondering if we’ll get to meet more Teen Titans in that story. Garcia and Picolo seem to have been given quite a bit of freedom to tell an extended story through the course of a number of graphic novels and the investment from DC to letting them take their time is admirable.

Picolo’s art gets the job done again in Beast Boy. The illustrations and design choices when Gar first discovers his shape-shifting traits were the highlight of the book and the subsequent transformations gave Picolo space to show off. It was an interesting choice by colorist David Calderon to expand the color palette a bit more than Raven. The colors are still muted, but not in the same way that really made the important elements pop.

I enjoyed Beast Boy about the same amount as Raven. I think both books have proven to be close to the correct mix of YA melodrama and seeding superhero stories. Mark Beast Boy down as another solid entry in the DC Ink/DC YA Graphic Novel line of books. I’m intrigued to see where Garcia and Picolo can take things next Fall when we see Beast Boy and Raven meet up for the first time as they seek the help of *gasp* Slade Wilson.

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