Collected Comic Review: The New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 1 (New Edition)

The New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 1 (New Edition) - Collecting DC Comics Presents (1978) #26, The New Teen Titans (1980) #1-20, and Tales of the New Teen Titans (1982) #1-4

The Marv Wolfman/George Pérez run on The New Teen Titans has long been one that I really wanted to check out.  Until recent years my reading had always skewed towards Marvel, but I had repeatedly heard how good this particular run was supposed to be.  I missed the boat when this volume was originally released years ago and seriously considered trying to pick it up on a number of occasions (and its subsequent volumes) after the fact.  Then I learned about the steel trap bindings and the odd issue gaps in the original trio of books.  Thankfully, DC began a series of new editions of these volumes and I jumped in on the ground floor for this new set.  Here's hoping to corrected issue inclusion in the upcoming volumes, because I enjoyed the hell out of this first volume.

Issue #2 (Pérez/Tanghal)

My knowledge of the team featured in The New Teen Titans - Changeling (Beast Boy), Cyborg, Kid Flash, Raven, Robin (Dick Grayson), Starfire, and Wonder Girl - had previously been limited to what I knew of the characters from Cartoon Network's Teen Titans animated series years ago (although that incarnation did not include Kid Flash).  After having read this, that turned out to be a pretty decent primer as it explored many of the same themes as this original source material.

Issue #4 (Pérez/Tanghal)

Wolfman and Pérez introduce the new team of Teen Titans through Raven, who is trying to assemble a group to combat a global threat after she feels the Justice League doesn't take her warning of said threat seriously (the impending arrival of Trigon, an inter-dimensional demon hellbent on destroying Earth, and who just so happens to be Raven's father), crossing paths with Deathstroke along the way.  None of the other Teen Titans know who Raven is, but feel compelled to help and join together in an effort to thwart Trigon's plans.  It's not always smooth sailing however, as the Teen Titans begin to learn how to work together as well as learning more about each other, which causes more than one rift among group members.

Issue #13 (Pérez/Tanghal)

Being fairly new to these characters (or at least this stage of their development), I really enjoyed the complexities of the relationships that Wolfman wrote into the story.  Despite working with a fairly large team of seven, he is able to take the time to explore each and every one, giving them all a unique voice and reasons for us to care about them.  I have a much greater appreciation now for the likes of Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Starfire (they were the characters that I knew the least about).  The content of this collection is even more impressive when you consider the era in which it was originally released.  Many themes that may not seem all that groundbreaking today, but were very much so back in the early 1980's.

Issue #19 (Pérez/Tanghal)

I had a personal epiphany earlier this year in regards to Pérez's artwork when I read the first Wonder Woman by George Pérez Omnibus so I loved pouring through these pages and admiring more of his work.  Pérez and Wolfman share co-creator credits on the book with Pérez often being responsible for layouts finished by Romeo Tanghal.  Curt Swan steps in as a guest penciller from time to time.  I particularly enjoyed a couple Easter Eggs that Pérez included in the Changeling issue of Tales of the New Teen Titans referencing Charlotte, NC comic shop Heroes Aren't Hard to Find and its owner Shelton Drum, who hosts HeroesCon every year (a wonderful convention that I have attended with some friends for twelve years running now).

Tales of the New Teen Titans #3 (Pérez)

Content wise, the only difference between the original printing and this new edition is that the new edition excludes a single issue that the original had - The Best of DC (1979) #18.  There isn't much in the way of extras: just an introduction and afterward (both by Wolfman), pin-ups of each character by Pérez, and a single page of concepts for the series.  The cover under the dust jacket is plain, matte black, which provides a nice, clean look but is mildly disappointing in this day and age of the full color, wrap around covers that have become so prevalent on such collections.  I can't speak for how tight the binding on the original printing was, but I can say that I didn't experience any issues with this new edition as I read it.

Issue #20 ("Nobody's taking the blame for this one!")

I thoroughly enjoyed this volume and am very much looking forward to the upcoming new editions of volumes two and three.  With a little luck, DC will fix the issue omissions from the original printings and then extend this series to continue collecting Wolfman's work even after Pérez left the book.  If you enjoy any of these characters, or even just comics from the early-mid '80s, you can't go wrong with this run (which is also available in a series of trade paperbacks if you prefer).

Issue #7 (Pérez/Tanghal)


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