In the latest animated Warner Bros. film from the world of DC Comics, we find elements of the Justice League at odds with this incarnation of the Teen Titans. Two precipitating factors are involved: Damien, son of Batman, and Trigon, Raven’s father. What we have here is the battle between good and evil, and the lessons about family that pop up periodically in the development of adolescents – even super-powered ones.
While Marvel may own the cinema, the direct-to-DVD animated market is all Warner/DC. This is spectacularly animated, and well-scripted, splitting between the story lines (to converge later). First, Damien is sent off by Batman to experience community amongst his peers (even though he doesn’t think anyone is his peer) in the teenage superhero pool. Second, Batman and Cyborg lead the Justice Leaguers after Superman goes AWOL, thanks to some supernatural messing around. [To be fair, this is the first real supernatural storyline I’ve seen in the current DC formats, with the example of some token Zatanna stories.]
While the stories can find their origins in previous DC works about the JLA or the Titans, it’s an interesting use of Damien. He doesn’t really find family in the comics, even under the watchful eye of Batman, Nightwing, Alfred, and even Jason Todd. But because the Titans are primarily outcast types (alien, shape shifters, child of the demon, etc.) he is able to find his place and see some sense of community, if not family.
While this certainly isn’t a closed universe – not everyone gets what they need – it’s an interesting part of the exposition about family, friendship, and what it means to have faith (at least in each other). From this comic book fan’s perspective, that’s enough.
For the record, thanks to language and subject matter, this is PG-13, and not intended for younger children.