If life has taught us anything it’s that change is scary and that we’re dragged into it kicking and screaming. More often than not when we view a change with some perspective and context we realize it’s not all that bad, this change thing. Such is life and such is the history of the Teen Titans on Cartoon Network. The original had a successful run from 2003 until 2006, with some shorts and a film thrown in for good measure. When Cartoon Network announced that the Titans would return in 2012, with a brand new animation style and more comedic tone, fans were divided and skeptical.
Two seasons in and the naysayers are relegated to background noise and Teen Titans Go! is now judged apart from its forebears. The TV series stands as a great example of the recent Cartoon Network renaissance. Its charming artwork, off-the-wall tone, and surreal humor stands in stark contrast to the Teen Titans of yesterday and this is not a bad thing. The best comparison I can make (and this may be blasphemy to some) is to that of Invader Zim. The series has a very specific type of weird (in the best way) humor and tone that may alienate some, but will delight the most ardent fans. Logic and sense have no place here! Not since Aeon Flux have I seen an animated show kill off its characters only to have them happy and well by the next episode.
People now have the opportunity to drink deeply from the Teen Titans Go! well and enjoy the four-hour, two-disc DVDs made available by Warner Home Entertainment. Released on April 14th are the first 26 episodes of season two: Teen Titans Go!: Appetite For Disruption Season 2 Part 1. I love this method of releasing animated series in parts so one doesn’t have to wait an eternity for a full season. Especially with Cartoon Network shows, the brief episode length lends itself to binge watching and the extended wait could be a turn-off to many. Thankfully, even the slightly shorter wait between season segments is made better by the sheer replayability of this show. The jokes come fast and furious, both from the characters and the sight gags that constantly fill the screen. For this reason, repeat viewings are almost mandatory. It wasn’t until my second viewing of the episode “Pirates” that I saw the dead body of Aquaman.
From learning the true meaning of bathrooms to realizing just how important the elderly are, season two doubles down on the madcap irreverence the first season staked out. The humor cements the show as a great ensemble comedy in its own right. But what makes the show a must-see for me is the art of Dan Hipp (check out his website here). Mr. Hipp is the art director of Teen Titans Go!, but his pop culture art has made the rounds of the internet for years. Hipp’s colorful pallet and clean yet surreal design lends the show a unique and undeniable art style that I’ve fallen completely in love with. The laughs and the characters are an added bonus to the eye candy that Hipp delivers.
If the recent dark and gritty turn of superheroes has left you cold, then Teen Titans Go!: Appetite for Disruption Season 2 Part 1 will drench you in surreal silliness. With humor spanning the spectrum of tastes, Teen Titians Go! is a show viewers of all ages can gravitate toward. At such a reasonable price ($19.97 SRP), it’s a good bargain for 26 11-minute episodes. Considering my adoration of the art style I would absolutely love a Blu-Ray version, but the design of the show still lends itself quite well to standard definition. There’s a lot here to love and, hopefully, the show will reach a wider audience now that it has stepped out of the lengthy shadows of the shows preceding it. Now, Teen Titans Go! stands as its own unique and off-center take on the DC universe and the kooky characters within.
Teen Titans Go!: Appetite For Disruption Season 2 Part 1: Amazon
Jed is a writer and artist living in Iowa. When he isn't living in the myriad mythical and fantastical worlds in his head he's making comics of varying degrees of quality. Growing up on a diet of both Walt Disney and The Brothers Quay, Jed fell in love with animation at an early age. A lifelong student of storytelling and aesthetics, animation has proven an invaluable teacher that has extended its reach far and wide from Pixar and Laika to Ghibli and the works of Jan Svankmmajer. He's also been known to overanalyze the subtle subtext of Bee Movie.
When he's not poring over books, comics, and movies, he's making stories of his own. Jed's first self-published graphic novel, Goodbye Stranger, is due out in 2016.