Teen Titans Beast Boy by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo
DC Comic, pb, £10.65
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
Garfield Logan is coming to the end of his senior year and hasn’t achieved anything on his To-Do list. He hasn’t kissed the girl of his dreams, he hasn’t put on loads of muscle weight, and the popular kids still tease him. If he doesn’t do something drastic soon, then he will never matter.
Inspired by a social media star, Gar accepts a dangerous dare to impress people. He also stops taking the supplement his parents give him as it inhibits his growth. Overnight, Gar grows six inches, puts on muscle mass, and becomes part of the in-crowd.
But his physical changes are more than they appear on the surface, and thanks to his exploits, Gar has fallen onto the radar of some people he should avoid.
Beast Boy is the next book in the series about the Teen Titans, following on from Raven which came out in 2019. I loved Raven, the way it captured Raven’s awareness of being different, not just as a teenager, but as someone with power, was spot on and full of emotion. I was worried Beast Boy couldn’t keep that going. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The story is quite simple. Gar, who is a sensitive lad, thinking of others before himself, is so desperate to be popular than he is in danger of losing himself. When he stops taking the supplements, his body begins adapting, taking on animal characteristics to achieve his goal. So buoyed by his success, Gar takes greater risks, isolating him from his friends and attracting the attention of Slade Wilson, Deadshot. It fits in with the Teen Titan’s universe as well as with Raven’s storyline, which is important as the two will come together in the next instalment.
Anyone familiar with the Teen Titans will know that Gar is full of energy and jokes, and this was portrayed brilliantly in Beast Boy. The character is never at rest, always full of schemes and plan. Picolo’s art brings Gar to life, with hopes and dreams, full of outward positivity as well as blinkers to prevent him from seeing when his actions are hurting others.
Perhaps it isn’t a surprise that Beast Boy captures the character of Gar and the teenage struggles of navigating popularity and social media. Gabriel Picolo has admitted that Beast Boy is his favourite Teen Titan, and has perfected his vision of Gar in his online series of “Casual Teen Titans”. Picolo’s style, inspired by video games, Studio Ghibli, and Disney, is relatable and captures the imagination, and his love for the character bounces off the page.
Beast Boy is an absolute must for anyone who loves the Teen Titans and DC Comics regardless of their age. Very highly recommended.