Wonder Girl and Starfire are demonstrating their abilities to a high school science class via the medium of violence. The teacher is talking about the theories behind the powers.
Not everyone is impressed.
While Raven was singularly uninterested in the demo, she is struck by the pain she feels in the schoolgirl. Following her home, she finds Sofia’s mother – clad in a familiar costume – badly hurt. At great personal cost, Raven manages to mystically heal Mrs Zambrano, whose costume marks her as a member of criminal organisation the HIVE, but desperation trumps gratitude.
All of which is the start of Career Day, an above average New Teen Titans tale – it’s a packed 16-page parable from writer Phil Hester, artist Scott Koblish, colourist John Kalisz and letterer Marshall Dillon. Hester seems inspired by the earliest Teen Titans stories in that he makes a teenager a big part of the action. Unlike those stories, though, here it’s the parent who’s making terrible choices, and asking the Titans for help is the last thing on Sofia’s mind.
Hester crafts a tight script with plenty of action but not at the expense of character and humour. While Red Hood, Nightwing, Beast Boy and Starfire are in the story – with Dick on especially fun form – this is Raven and Donna’s show, with their compassion more inspiring than their powers.
There’s an admirable clarity to Koblish’ storytelling, a dynamic directness that complements the script. I particularly like the page in which Donna, Dick and Jason race to find Raven, with Kalisz’s vibrant tones adding to the sense of speed.
And I don’t know whether it’s a subtle gag that was in the script, or an addition by Koblish, but keep an eye out for what Jason’s up to at Titans Tower.
Dillon, meanwhile, varies font size and style to add emphasis, helping to sell the drama. Editors Katie Kubert and Liz Erickson also deserve a shout-out, for steering the ship.
A good-looking, thought provoking single-issue story, Career Day is another winner from DC Digital First.