DC’s latest Young Adult graphic novel, Teen Titans: Beast Boy, is a fun and adventurous coming of age story focusing on one of DC’s most charming heroes—you guessed it, Beast Boy!
In this highly anticipated new book, we are introduced to high school senior Gar Logan, who is anything but content with his own self, feeling scrawny, weak and smaller than the rest of his classmates. That is until one fateful day when he makes a decision that will change his life forever…and unleash his inner beast.
Written by Kami Garcia and drawn by mega-popular artist Gabriel Picolo, the same team behind the New York Times bestselling Teen Titans: Raven, this brand new follow-up gives fans another resonant story about a beloved character and their journey towards finding their true self and individual identity.
Let’s break it down a bit so you can get excited about what’s to come!
Compared to some of the other covers we’ve seen on DC’s YA graphic novels, the Teen Titans: Beast Boy cover may seem plain and simple, but that is what is so great about it. The cover tells you everything you need to know about the story you are about to read without complicating things. Picolo’s popular art style is on full display, featuring the main reason we are all here—Gar, aka Beast Boy.
One of my favorite parts of the cover is that it shows Beast Boy as if he is mid- transformation, as his hands are seamlessly turning into those of a bear. It draws the reader in. Why is he turning into a bear? Well, you will just have to read on to find out, but it is certainly something that intrigues one to dive into the novel and find out what events lead up to his transformation.
Tell Me a Story:
Gar’s biggest goal at the beginning of the story is perhaps one that a lot of male teens suffer from: wanting to be big, muscular and impressive. To fit in and be comparable to his classmates is key for him. In fact, Garcia and Picolo make it so clear to readers what Gar’s goals are, that they go so far to include a few panels of him reading off of his “Senior Year Bucket List.” Perhaps showing the readers his bucket list is foreshadowing—will Gar really stick to that list, or will his wishes and hopes for his future change as the story progresses?
Despite having emotionally distant parents, Gar still receives support in other ways from his two best friends, animal activist and gamer-girl Stella and the buff and popular Daniel ‘the Tank’ Tanaka. To his friends, Gar is perfectly fine the way he is, but Gar longs to fit in with his bigger classmates and wants to impress the popular girls at school. He gets to the point he would just about do anything, including undertaking some dangerous stunts and pranks to get the attentions of his classmates.
When Gar comes to realize that the supplements his parents have been giving him for most of his childhood and teen years have been keeping him from gaining weight or growing, he quickly stops taking the pills.
Almost immediately, Gar notices a huge difference in his body, as he suddenly grows tall and gains muscle. His newfound popularity empowers him, but he soon notices something else that’s empowering—and I mean that literally. Gar develops superpowers that allow him to turn into any animal at whim. Unfortunately, Gar and his friends aren’t the only ones that have noticed his changes and powers. It turns out a dark, mysterious stranger named Slade Wilson has been monitoring Gar throughout all of these events. Uh oh!
Let’s Talk Art:
As a fan of Picolo’s art in general, reading this graphic novel was an absolute delight. I’ve long adored the way Picolo draws the Teen Titans in his “Casual Teen Titans” online series, so I knew what I was in for when it comes to his art. I love seeing how Picolo seems to have incorporated himself into Gar’s designs, especially the hair, which gives Gar a special je ne sais quoi. He’s charming! I especially liked the use of softer colors throughout the story, so that during the climax of the story when Gar turns into a big, bright green bear, the color really pops compared to the rest of the story.
Just like the art, Garcia’s writing is a delight. You can clearly tell that the author and artist worked hand in hand to really create a seamless story. I think my favorite characters are the main three—Gar, Tank and Stella. Their vibes and interactions as best friends are heartwarming when they’re together as a group, but you also really get a sense for each three individually. Each one has their own uniquely written personalities that makes them special. Credit to Garcia for really finding that balance—it’s not always easy to achieve!
Favorite Teen Titan:
Well, of course this book’s favorite Teen Titan is Beast Boy himself! He’s such an adventurous character and although his powers scare him initially at first, as a reader, they are just the most fantastic type of powers one could imagine. You’re genuinely curious to see what animals Gar will turn into depending on the situation, which gets you further and further invested in the narrative. Of course, his upbeat and fun personality really makes for an exciting plot line as well!
Most Crushworthy Character:
Sorry Gar, but for me the most crushworthy character would actually have to be Daniel, aka ‘Tank.’ In this story there are some classic examples of types of high school boys. You have Mike, the popular jock who turns out to be a complete ass, and then you have Gar, who is the typical loveable, yet dorky, kid. Tank falls somewhere in between and that is what makes him so crushworthy. He’s big and tall and popular and can fit in with the jocks pretty well, but he’s also kind and goofy enough to be best friends with Gar. He is the best of both worlds. Plus, doing well in school is important to Tank, which shows he has brains and determination. A great friend and character all around!
Perfect Food Pairing:
I always have to do this topic whenever I write a Book Breakdown, it’s too much fun. For this graphic novel, I would definitely say to try and challenge yourself to eat something spicy! There is an important scene in this story where Gar is challenged to eat one of the world’s spiciest peppers: a Carolina Reaper. This is a turning point in the book where Gar begins to discover some of his newfound powers and he is actually able to eat the pepper no problem…unlike his fellow competitors who had their insides practically burst into flames.
Maybe don’t eat one of the world’s hottest peppers while reading this, but it would be fun to challenge yourself to try something spicier than you normally would. Maybe you can beat Gar in the next hot pepper challenge!
Amanda Levine loves everything DC, especially Harley Quinn, whom she often cosplays. Her favorite Young Adult books have always been Harry Potter and the amazing world that J.K. Rowling created.
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