Since her introduction in 1980, the DC Comics character Raven has gone through numerous incarnations. She served as a (relatively) steady member of the Teen Titans for 16 years following her debut. Writer/co-creator Marv Wolfman used her backstory (daughter of the demon Trigon and an Earth-woman whom he’d tricked into relations) as the basis for numerous storylines.

READ: Marv Wolfman previously returned to the TITANS in 2015. See our review here!

When Wolfman left the title in 1996, the character fell into comic book obscurity for a few years until the TEEN TITANS television series brought the character into the mainstream. From there she became a mainstay in the DCU until the New 52. Initially, Raven was absent from the reboot until being introduced as a radically different version that proved unpopular with fans, myself included. Now Raven is being introduced into the post-Rebirth DC Universe, starting with a miniseries from Wolfman.

The issue begins with Raven moving in with her previously unknown Aunt Alice and her somewhat religious family. Despite their welcoming personalities and the fact that she senses nothing but positive feelings from them, Raven is uncomfortable in their bright, cheery home. On top of that, she’s haunted by nightmares revolving around her father Trigon.

raven-1-panel-2

The next morning Raven, under her civilian alias Rachel Roth, attends her first day of high school. She’s uncomfortable being the center of attention as a new student. Things only get worse when strange events begin happening around the school, leading to a cliffhanger ending that ties Raven with another mysterious student.

Marv Wolfman has said numerous times that of all the characters he’s created, Raven is the one he could write about forever, and it shows. Even though he first wrote her 35 years ago (and has in fact already written a miniseries about Raven attending high school back in 2008), Wolfman easily crafts an intriguing opening chapter in RAVEN #1. He effectively sets up a new, potential-filled personal life for the character in the first half of the book. From there, the veteran writer introduces the mystery of what exactly is going on at Raven’s high school. I came away from the issue’s climax considerably curious about the mysterious, powerful student and what her connection is to Raven.

READ: DC has launched their latest mega-book: TRINITY. Find out what we thought here!

Wolfman’s characterization is also on point. Even after more than three decades, he’s still in touch with Raven’s voice. I particularly enjoyed her interactions with the members of her family. The choice of making them bright and cheery to counterbalance Raven’s inherent darkness makes for an amusing dichotomy, best displayed in a family dinner sequence that occurs early in the issue. I also liked how Wolfman portrayed them as religious but not deceptive, evil, or possessing an ulterior motive for taking in Raven. I hope that there’s no twist on the family later in the series, and instead, Raven must learn to accept her family for who and what they are.

aven-one-panel-1

The art from Alisson Borges was highly enjoyable. Her Raven is still recognizable as the classic version of the character in her appearance and clothing, while at the same time looking just “other” enough to stand out from her family and fellow students. Speaking of her classmates, the high school sequences were probably my favorite part of the book, artistically speaking. The double-page spread of Raven being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of kids in the school and the various, uninteresting Raven topics they’re discussing was a thing of beauty.

RAVEN #1 is a highly enjoyable read for fans of the character. Writer Marv Wolfman still has a handle on his creation, while artist Alisson Borges brings a youthful energy to the title’s visuals. Combined, this creative team reinvigorates the character after a few years of false starts.

Show ComicsVerse some Love! Leave a Reply!

Check Also

NIGHTWING Essential Reading List

Ever wondered where Robin got his start? Then this Essential Reading List is for you! …