The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Mystery, mysticism, and moody teenage drama, Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo’s “Teen Titans: Raven” has it all. Set in contemporary New Orleans, this fictional tale follows seventeen-year-old Raven, also known as Rachel Roth, as she struggles to regain her memory and discover the power she truly holds after a horrible incident leaves her to grapple with the rubble of her past.
Born from the DC Comics universe, the character Raven has had many storylines and has evolved quite a bit through the years. First appearing in the 1980 publication of DC Comics Presents Vol 1 #26, Superman and Green Lantern: “Between Friend and Foe”, as a member of the Teen Titans, Raven has been known throughout her many adaptations to be the daughter of a human mother and demon father giving her empathic and magical powers.
Although there are many variations of Raven, one of the most recent has been in “Teen Titans: Raven.” This graphic novel shows a modernized version of the character that embodies a combination of Allison Reynolds from “The Breakfast Club” and Mavis from “Hotel Transylvania”.
Complete with short dark black hair and hipster goth apparel, Raven fits the mold of a high schooler going through the motions of self-discovery and teen angst with the added stresses of having a complicated family life and superpowers.
In this graphic novel, Raven struggles with maintaining a balance in her life between her past and her present. Her powers and empathic abilities make it hard for her to let go of her past and the life she wishes she could remember, which keeps her from wanting to get close to anyone including her new foster family.
As she spends more time around new friends and grows closer to her foster sister, Max, and her crush Tommy, Raven is faced with the decision of facing the darkness that surrounds her head-on or completely giving into the normality of her new life.
This new version of Raven is compelling for her edgy yet relatable personality and struggles. From her quiet introspection and the voices in her head to her dating life and narwhal pajamas, she is a breath of fresh air within the DC universe.
It is the approach in balancing cliche and classic aspects with a superhero plotline that makes this Raven so fascinating. She portrays the anxiety of navigating high school, the “will they won’t they” doubts and curiosities in the early stages of dating, stubborn tendencies, heartbreak, grief, and the wanting to be comfortable in your own skin that makes life so universal.
Unlike variations before, this Raven shows a more spunky and vibrant persona which speaks volumes compared to her darker more somber previous versions. Yet she still faces intense inner turmoil making her want to shut off the world and just vibe with the silence, as I’m sure many of us can relate to.
As a character with such strong superhero powers, this adaptation of Raven is truly one of a kind for its grounding and inspiring expression of girl power, self-confidence, the journey of trusting others, and learning to live alongside the family we choose.