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Best Shots review - Teen Titans: Beast Boy "just fun - fun to look at, fun to read, everything"

(Image credit: DC)

The worst part about Teen Titans: Beast Boy is that it ends too soon. Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo return to their take on the Teen Titans universe to deliver a light and heartfelt reintroduction to fan-favorite Gar Logan. This follows up to last year's Teen Titans: Raven graphic novel is a bit of a tonal shift, focusing more on Gar's struggles to fit in and find himself in the transition between high school and college in a way that's well-suited to the character and plays to both Garcia and Picolo's strengths.

Teen Titans: Beast Boy credits

Written by Kami Garcia
Art by Gabriel Picolo with Rob Haynes
Colors by David Calderon
Lettered by Gabriela Downie
Published by DC
'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10

There is some intrigue, though, as Gar's efforts to level up before graduation prompts him to stop taking the amino supplement his scientist parents have had him on since his youth. In short order, it becomes apparent that the supplement was suppressing more than just Gar's pituitary gland, and he finds himself under the watchful eye of Slade Wilson as he attempts to juggle fitting in, graduating, and his body's sudden penchant for sprouting fur and claws.

(Image credit: Gabriel Picolo (DC))

The book is visually gorgeous - in addition to Picolo's fashionable and fun character designs, there's a clear progression in his sequentials from Raven to Beast Boy. His layouts are more dynamic and he's honed his eye for playing with shapes and framing both for narrative impact and just flat out fun details. David Calderon's colors are great here as well; Raven was a moodier book with a dramatically different palette, but Calderon evokes a similar almost watercolor style to great effect, allowing the characters to pop against ephemeral backgrounds.

This book is just fun - fun to look at, fun to read, everything. Picolo has said before (and does again, in the book's introduction) that Beast Boy is his favorite Teen Titan, and his enthusiasm and love for the character is clear throughout the book in the joy Picolo infuses his pages with. Kami Garcia meets his enthusiasm note for note, delivering an endearing and fully-realized version of Gar Logan that makes the book fly by. Gar's best friends Tank and Stella feel just as valuable to the narrative and are engaging enough on their own that it gives a palpable weight to Gar's struggles through the book.

Beast Boy falters slightly on pacing, though, and winds up feeling near the end like they were having so much fun they forgot how many pages they had available to them. Garcia does a great job weaving in the reappearance of Slade Wilson and the mystery of what exactly Gar's parents were doing for a living, but when it comes to Gar himself, the exploration of his full powers comes in a scene so dramatic that it feels like there are another full few chapters of wind-down left. The book wraps immediately afterward in a scene that winds up feeling extremely rushed, even knowing there's a third installment coming. Fortunately, Garcia does a solid enough job of laying the framework for the final moments through the book that it doesn't feel like it's coming out of nowhere so much as it just feels like it's happening much, much sooner than you expected it to.

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(Image credit: Gabriel Picolo (DC))

Teen Titans: Beast Boy preview

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(Image credit: Gabriel Picolo (DC))
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(Image credit: Gabriel Picolo (DC))
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(Image credit: Gabriel Picolo (DC))
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(Image credit: Gabriel Picolo (DC))
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(Image credit: Gabriel Picolo (DC))
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(Image credit: Gabriel Picolo (DC))
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(Image credit: Gabriel Picolo (DC))

Ending too soon isn't exactly a fatal flaw for a book though, and Beast Boy delivers so much before its hasty end that the only disappointment is there aren't any more pages left. Fortunately, the third installment Beast Boy Loves Raven is already underway, and it will be a delight to see where Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo take Gar and Raven next when they finally meet up in the universe they've created.