Teen Titans volume 2: Family Lost by Geoff Johns

With the Titans newly reformed despite the adult heroes’ disapproval the team begins to act less as punishers of evil and more like a support system for a bunch of kids abandoned—or worse—by their parents. If they even have them.

The Titans get a mysterious phone call that Rose, the cast off daughter of the villain Slade, is in trouble. They arrive in time to help foil an assassination attempt on her, but are then knocked out. When they recover Rose is gone.

After the rest of the Titans finish escorting a pair of super villains to Alcatraz for San Francisco (and Super Boy finishes at school, and Robin finishes with Batman) the team assembles for brainstorming in their big mission—finding Raven, who appears to be reaching out to them for help. “Appears” become void when they literally begin hearing her screams. Raven is in the sadistic hands of the newest Brother Blood, who seeks to use her to open hell on earth, literally because she’s the daughter of a demon and his doorway to the realm. What was a pressing goal becomes an immediate mission (what with the water turning to blood and plagues of screaming birds and all).

The team has to fight a cult, and happens to run into Slade and the new Ravager, none other than Rose, twisted by the same drugs as her father plus his vile manipulations. Slade says he’ll help them defeat Brother Blood…if they give him Raven to slaughter.

This volume has a ton of bad guys, a ton of action and loads of teen angst. One can hardly wonder why all our heroes seem so depressed and anxious if this is what their teen years looked like. Also there’s this building element of nihilism, since it’s almost easier for all these characters to battle to the death or lay down their lives, rather than actually live them.

While a lot of younger kids were brought in to the super hero fold with the cartoon Teen Titans (and they should have been, I’m a big fan.) this is not the same Teen Titans. This band is sunk much deeper into a shadowy crack of the DC-verse and the mood and tension from these scarred, struggling heroes might be too much for younger readers.