Titans: S1E1: “Titans”

7.9 Overall Score

The overall tonal theme of the DC Universe has been a reference of contention throughout the years- even to the point of satire. Like with movies such as Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad, the DC universe is looked upon as the dark, brooding, and even joyless contemporary of comic book media. Where Marvel has found success as being family friendly and accessible. However, with movies like Logan and Deadpool, there is a craving from fans for a more adult story to be told. This is where the DC Universe comes in. When you relegate things to the small screen, you have a bit more lead way in pushing the envelope.

As we know, the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne has been shown throughout the many eras of Batman movies and animation. The first episode of Titans, in a world where Batman is hinted at but not currently present, it’s the Grayson family that gets the tragic flashback treatment within a dream. This serves as a jumping off point for two major characters and the theme that connects their paths.

Now, the connecting tissue of “Titans” is Rachel Roth or Raven (Teagan Croft). She has a dark secret – a demon that she can’t control, and a collective is searching for her. Seemingly trying to kill her because of her powers. Without being overt, there are nods to Rachel’s dark side throughout the episode whether it be a quick reflection of Rachel in a glass table or a brief conversation. Her powers serve as a both a protector and her intuition when things seem off. She doesn’t know the origin or what is even happening to her, but her vision of the death of Dick Grayson’s parents lead her to him.

Boy, things are different for Dick this time around. Now a detective for the Detroit police, he is determined to leave his previous life behind as Batman’s sidekick. Even to the point of contempt for his former mentor. When talking to a fellow detective, Dick makes it a point to speak to the reason he left Batman. Two clashing ideologies. See, Batman has seemly become the thing that he has hated – a ruthless brute. Dick goes to Detroit to start a new life and do what he feels is right in the world. During the fight scene, the henchmen see Robin and wait for the “Batman” shoe to drop.

The parallels between Batman and Robin are apparent. Both have lost their parents through tragic circumstances. Also, both men choose to use their mental intellect in being a detective. At first, the public are very frosty to their brand of vigilantism. Even Dick taking Rachel in like Bruce Wayne did for him earlier in his life. It will be interesting to see the metamorphosis of Dick Grayson going forward. As much as he wants to carve out his own standard in fighting crime, there’s still very much Batman in him.

Finally, we meet Starfire/Kory Anders (Anna Diop) who wakes up from a horrific car crash and starts to piece together why she’s where she is. Come to find out that she’s in Austria with no memory on how she got there. This is a small part of the episode where we come to find out Starfire’s powers the way she does. We see her strength in combat and the fire within her that kills gangsters in a nightclub. We also find out that this is all connected.

Our first episode of Titans serves to set a style that involves darker tones in color within a very gritty and unforgiving word. There’s very little sunlight – if any, where the environment takes on the inner secrets and turmoil of the characters within the narrative. Writers Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns and Greg Berlanti come together and make something that can grow as the young ensemble turns to find their places in the world.

Titans does not shy away from the brutality. For example, Robin slides a henchmen’s face across broken glass in a car window. Titans is embracing the harshness of the real world as a first look that what content could come from the DC Universe streaming service. The darkness isn’t forced, but it shows what DC can do when they embrace it as a tool that does not sacrifice the plot.

Main Photo Credit: DC Universe

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Author: Murjani Rawls View all posts by
Writer | Photographer | Beast

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