"From... Heaven?" A Raven Project (2006)

  • The Teen Titans, like Batman and Bowie, have gone through some dramatic changes over the years to satisfy the tastes and attitudes of succeeding generations. In the '80s New Teen Titans, we were introduced to the tragic, soft-spoken, unflaggingly pacifistic empath called Raven, who summoned Dick Grayson and several other young superpowered crime-fighters to form a new league of... Titans.

    Artist George Pérez gave her a sort of Mediterranean physiognomy, with long black hair and a lithe dancer's body. Emotionally conservative and strict about her extracurricular activities and drab, confining accoutrements, she carried on like a monk (which she was)—a perfect foil for the outgoing, busty, bronze, bellicose and emotionally volatile Starfire, who also looked like a proper American superhero, and an S&M bondage lover's dream.

    TEEN TITANS IS ©DC COMICS.
  • When I was growing up and reading mostly Marvel and Image comics, the Titans weren't the faintest blip on my radar. I started reading the comic only after my interest was piqued by the animated series on Cartoon Network, in which the group of seven young adults that formed the core of the New Teen Titans and subsequent chapters in the franchise, were slimmed down and truncated to an adolescent fivesome. Raven still wore a cloak and diadem, but her solemn piety was replaced with PMS, and she chilled ensuing violence and dissent with the scorn of a bossy big sister rather than her progenitor's Christ-like ability to lay hands on an assailant and act as a black hole for suffering and evil. 

    Nevertheless, she wielded mad telekinesis and looked like a Goth Girl... And I like Goth Girls, even better with telekinesis. She's also a tsundere, a Japanese term used to describe a character who's a tough nut to crack, but with a gooey sweet center.
  • So that's three strikes: Tsundere Goth Girl w/ telekinetic powers. My heart flutters... Her father just happens to be an inter-dimensional demon—the very reason for which Raven coerced the assembly of the New Titans, and would eventually become, along with Raven herself, one of their worst enemies. 

    For a theologically unsure youth as I was, the idea of such a character enthralled me. It was a Christ origin story turned on its head, a tragedy with an epic sweep every bit as marvelous as Watchmen or Dark Knight. While I didn't love the Titans, I certainly did love the hell out of Raven.
  • GROUNDWORK