Running Back: Raven (2016)
Raven is a 6 issue mini which started in September of 2016 coving the White Carnival story arc. Fresh off the heels of DC's rebirth launch the momentum was certainly there for anything DC. The mini follows Raven of the Teen Titans as she moves from New York to San Francisco to live with her aunt Alice.
I will admit I do not know much about Raven beyond some animated stuff, games, and her appearances in other books so if I'm completely missing something here feel free to let me know. Ok, let's get into it.
The book has a good start … Issue #1, while seeming a bit rushed (even for a mini), introduces us to a bunch of characters right out of the gate. We get her aunt Alice with her husband and two kids. Alice is initially very interesting as she is very openly religious (Christian, I believe) which is an extreme contrast to Raven's more secretive demonic origins. We also get introduced to a bunch of high school kids who befriend Raven, but we never get enough info on them (besides some boring dialog), to ever care about them. The first issue closes with some weird mental assault on our bird-themed heroine, exactly what you would expect from this type of book, and it leaves us with the threat of a big bad looming which made me excited to go on to issue 2.
Well, that is where my excitement ended. Issue #2 we get a bunch of kids being swallowed by a big white orb which Raven names the “Thing”. From here until the final issue we get a convoluted mess of mind wipes, dimension hopping, soul projecting, shenanigans which are confusing and bad enough on its own but, made 10 times worse by having 75% of the dialog narrated in the first person from Raven's perspective. Unlike Watchmen‘s Rorschach, which helps us through the mind and situation of the character in a clear manner, Raven's dialog is a bunch of repetitive drivel about Azar, emotions and souls. The one saving grace comes in the form of some opportunistic criminals who try to take credit for the “thing” in hopes to get ransom money from the city. They clearly had nothing to do with it and were quickly dispatched by raven but I thought that was a nice touch. After 5 issues you think “sure the big pay off has to be coming in the finale right?” WRONG! we get no real explanation of what the “thing” is beside the fact it feeds off emotions and it is defeated by raven holding hands with her aunt and the townspeople. We do get an end teaser that another “thing” (white orb) is coming. Does this lead to some other big story? Maybe. Do I care? Not at this point.
Run to read score: 1 out of 8. (Run the opposite direction)
You won't get much from this book and I don't even think Raven fans will look back on this run as a crowning moment.
Run for the money score: 2 out of 8.
While we have no notable first no significant story events or anything worth remembering the book does have one small thing going for it: rarity. It is not easy to find, with the print run for issue 1 being under 30k but, that is not where the rarity lies. Issues 1 and 2 had 2nd prints released months later and the runs were so small I doubt anyone knows how many were printed. These can easily be noticed by their red backgrounds but still don't go over cover for them as the demand won't be high.
Thank you for reading.