Teen Titans Raven by Kami Garcia; Illustrated by Gabriel Picolo
When a tragic accident takes the life of 17-year-old Raven Roth’s foster mom–and Raven’s memory–she moves to New Orleans to recover and finish her senior year of high school.
Starting over isn’t easy. Raven remembers everyday stuff like how to solve math equations and make pasta, but she can’t remember her favorite song or who she was before the accident. And when impossible things start happening, Raven begins to think it might even be better not to know who she was before.
But as she grows closer to her new friends, her foster sister, Max, and Tommy Torres, a guy who accepts her for who she is now, Raven has to decide if she’s ready to face what’s buried in the past…and the darkness building inside her.
Let me start this by saying that when I heard Picolo was illustrating this book I knew I had to have it. Plus, I grew up watching Teen Titans on Cartoon Network so there was also that.
I’ve been following Picolo since he started his very first 365 doodle challenge (at the time I was in my third or fourth year of daily drawing challenge) on Deviantart (before I left, but I was already almost gone from there). And still follow him on social media. So yes, I really enjoy his art.
Which brings me to my rating. To be honest, the only reason this book gets 4 stars is because of the art. The story is bad.
Wait, what?! Yes, the story is bad. It is weak. This is Raven! And what we get is a poorly written story, something that feels amateur for comics (my personal take is that Kami knows how to write a novel/books, but that doesn’t mean it translates well to graphic novels). It tries SO hard to keep the suspense and make Raven even more mysterious than she is, while making her extra moody and annoyed, that you get annoyed at her and want to throw the book at a wall. (As per above, I didn’t throw it at a wall because the art is my jam).
I mean, if you go see Picolo’s instagram and stuff, there’s TONS of Teen Titans fanart. And those tell a better story than this book (in a single image, the whole “a picture is worth a thousand words” definitely applies here).
In summary, art carries the story which is weak and suffers from pacing, information delivery and “ohh mysterious mystery won’t tell you anything then info dump it on you at the end because I forgot there was all of this you needed to know for it to make sense” issues. I think Raven deserved more. And I want all of the Teen Titans illustrated by Picolo <3