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DC Universe's Titans makes a brutal first impression

This ain't your childhood's Teen Titans.

DC Universe might be hoping that Titans becomes its Game of Thrones.

The titular Titans are the youthful heroes of DC comic books, like Batman's sidekick Robin. You may be familiar with the team from Cartoon Network's colourful, bubbly Teen Titans cartoons -- but this new live action Titans, the first original show on DC's new video streaming service, is more death and destruction than dynamic duo. 

After watching the first three episodes at New York Comic-Con, I find myself intrigued but shocked by the level of violence right out the gate. The series is aimed squarely at the PG-13 to R-rated audience level.

Robin is full of rage.

Warner Bros.

People get shot, burned, beaten and stabbed -- often by the characters who are supposed to be the heroes. That may very well be the point, as they're introduced at a seemingly broken point in their life.

Former boy wonder Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) is freshly separated from Batman, his former crimefighting partner, and appears to be taking out his rage on the crooks of Detroit. Thwaites brings a savage physicality to Grayson, who's ready to break the legs of any baddies lurking in the city's alleyways.

Rachel Roth (Teagan Croft) is a teenager -- seemingly the only one in the group -- coming to terms with her powers as an empath and with a second demonic consciousness that lives inside of her. She's quick to remind characters that she knows when they're lying and seems unsure whether or not to trust the being that's trying to guide her from within. It's an interesting take on the character who will eventually become Raven.


Teen Rachel is on her way to becoming Raven.

Warner Bros.

On the brighter side of things is the fabulously colorful Koriand'r, played by Anna Diop. She suffers from amnesia and is learning about her super-hot Starfire powers along with the viewer. She's the highlight of the show's first three episodes, rocking through her scenes with an insanely bright wardrobe.

Other potential Titans members introduced include Hank Hall (Alan Ritchson) and Dawn Granger (Minka Kelly). We also get a few brief glimpses of Beast Boy (Ryan Potter), who will presumably bring some humor to the team in future episodes.

However, the show seems to be taking the slow route to forming this team -- literally, as the characters are spread out in Detroit, Washington, Ohio and even as far away as Austria. There also doesn't appear to be a clear villain early on. Several characters appear to be trying to capture Rachel for a yet-to-be-revealed reason, but it otherwise looks like Titans will be building up to a unifying conflict as the storyline continues.


Koriand'r is learning about her background and identity as Starfire along with viewers.

Warner Bros.

Titans promises to tell a mature story with a roster of younger DC heroes who until now have been most prominent in animated shows and comics. But even if kids love Teen Titans Go!, that doesn't mean they should be watching Titans. But if you enjoy some titanic violence from your caped crusaders, Titans debuts on DC Universe in the US on Oct. 12.

The show will also play internationally on Netflix.

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