By Kelly Gaines
The half human, half demon teenage superhero of the DC universe has gotten herself into another sticky situation. Raven- Daughter of Darkness #1, picks up where 2016’s Raven left off, with the deeply troubled Teen Titan trying for fit into ordinary suburbia and make a life with her devout Catholic aunt’s family. Being a demon in a church group is the least of Raven’s worries. In her efforts to prevent evil forces from taking hold of the innocent, Raven meets a young superhuman (well, more of a super being at this point - there’s no confirmation that she’s human yet) whose extraordinary powers have attracted the attention of government agents. Raven finds herself caught in the crossfire of a rescue mission gone bad, and comes face to face with another super-powered teenager with a murky moral history and a strong affinity for wearing hoods.
Issue #1 has achieved the main goal of any first issue- It’s gotten me interested in reading more. Raven manages to approach the “tortured inner self” archetype without making her feel whiny or self-obsessed. In any narrative about a teenager, that’s a big accomplishment. Raven (alias Rachel) is charmingly confused, understandably disconnected, and focused enough to feel like a real hero. I felt myself developing an underlying trust in Raven’s abilities as she tackles demonic visions and heavily armed soldiers head-on; all while drawing on lessons she’s learned from DC titans like Robin. Her attitude is refreshing. It would have been very easy to write Raven as the cynical outsider looking down on her foolish classmates and blindly religious family, but instead, she takes in their world with a respectful curiosity and desire to understand and grow. Thus far, Raven doesn’t seem interested in using her bleak past as an excuse to be a brat, and in a way that makes her a real-world example worth following.
I have to admit how relieved I was while reading this new title. The previous Raven arc ( ALSO written by Marv Wolfman) started out promising but seemed to slowly develop into a cliche. I lost interest toward the end of the first volume, which was somehow more disappointing than the entire run being garbage from the start. I was terrified that Wolfman had lost sight of the character, and let her get lost in the shuffle of damaged teen heroes. As a long time Raven fan, the thought was completely unacceptable. Luckily, this #1 has convinced me that Wolfman has stepped back up to the plate refreshed, and I have high hopes for what his Daughter of Darkness will achieve.
Raven: Daughter of Darkness #1