Titans review, and a bit of DC vs Marvel comparison

Dark and gritty and some reasonable storylines. It'll probably rate higher for DC fans but partly missed the mark for me.

I've recently been watching Titans on Netflix. I'm a fan of the superhero genre, mainly because I consumed a lot of Marvel comics as a child in the 70s. I've always thought the genre was just waiting for televisual special effects to catch up with it. I remember the 1977 attempt at Spider-man (starring Nicholas Hammond) and it was woeful.

Special effects have now caught up and I thoroughly enjoyed most of the Avengers movies. They're not particularly deep and they're certainly not what you might call literary, but, whilst I read widely, I generally just want to be entertained by television and film.

My grounding in Marvel might explain why I prefer their offerings to those of DC. I realise this does not have to be an 'either-or' situation, but, try as I might, I just cannot get into DC as much as Marvel. With the possible exception of The Dark Knight movies, that is; they were good.

Tempered with that introduction, I will now attempt a (very) short review of Titans.

It has a lot of the elements I like: it's dark and it's gritty, and I tend to prefer that sort of feel when I'm watching something of this nature. The main protagonist in Titans is Dick Grayson AKA Robin, Batman's former sidekick (played by Brenton Thwaites). He's bitter and damaged and he blames Batman for a lot of his woes. Grayson leaves Gotham and starts his own team, the so-called Titans.

Still from the Titans series by DC comics.

The Titans consist of a bunch of B-grade superheroes, such as Dove, Hawk and Wonder Girl, and we find out about some of their original exploits via flashbacks. The crux of this series is the introduction of a bunch of new, younger superheroes that Grayson intends to nurture as a new version of the Titans. These new characters include Rachel Roth, who's part demon, Gar Logan, who's a shapeshifter, Wonder Girl, Wonder Woman's former sidekick, and Jason Todd, who took over as Batman's Robin when Dick Grayson left.

The first series is mainly about Rachel Roth and her demonic father. This is the hub around which the rest of the young protégées get recruited by Dick Grayson. A mysterious alien royal (Princess Koriand'r/Kory Anders) is also introduced and she kind of co-heads things with Grayson.

The second series begins by pitching the Titans against a dangerous arch-rival — one Grayson encountered with the original Titans — and this turns out to be Grayson's breaking point. We see Iain Glenn playing the role of Bruce Wayne, although mainly as a figment of Grayson's increasingly fractured mind, and are treated to the introduction of Superboy, which I though was entirely unnecessary.

Let me be clear here: it's not a bad show and I think it gets into its stride properly in Series 2. But, call me prejudicial if you will, I cannot buy into DC superheroes in the same way I do with Marvel. For me, there's a missing 'je ne sais quoi' and I'm quite prepared to accept that's because of the Marvel influence of my youth.

If you're more into DC than I am, you'll probably rate this higher than I do. For comparison, it has the feel of Jessica Jones or Daredevil from the Marvel stable, both of which I enjoyed more than this.