Why Is He Red?
Ok, this cover is perfectly fine on its own, nothing outstanding but definitely excellent for a first issue. I even kind of like the way each character is named. But due to the nature of this opening story, it kind of gives away what characters are supposed to be important. I subconsciously focused on the people identified on the cover, and left the others in a more hazy place of little concern in my head; so a lot of the suspense and tension of the tentative team is thrown out the window. When certain members betray the team, it isn't a surprise since they weren't on the cover. When certain members die, it isn't a surprise since they weren't on the cover.
Also, unlike the other Second Wave books, this issue is NOT for new readers. It's a spinoff of one of the first true 'events' of the New 52, a series only truly accessible to readers of Teen Titans and Superboy. It tries to ease you into the concept and current status quo, but would certainly lose a lot of the impact without having read The Culling.
What I admire the most about this series is what it represents. It's got BALLS to take so many characters and drastically change their early years. Unlike some other crappy changes, most of these are genuinely interesting. I don't know how different the Wildstorm stuff is, but resetting Terra was a bold move, and I'm intrigued by the potential stories for her and Beast Boy. This new version of Rose is certainly interesting. But then there's Red Beast Boy. Why is Beast Boy red? Honestly, the only answer I can come up with is 'because' or 'why not?' Those are not good enough reasons. Is it because red is traditionally a more 'dark' or 'badass' color? Because that would be a very shallow reason to make him red. It's just so random and meaningless that I can't get on board with this change. There's no unique story potential in there, its just dumb.
Ian Churchill delivers what is definitely the best artist for the 'N.O.W.H.E.R.E. set of books (Teen Titans, Superboy, Legion Lost.) It doesn't have any of the weaknesses Brett Booth or R.B. Silva have, and frankly it just has a ton of nice detail and emotion to it. Definitely one of the best 'standard' artists I've ever seen.
Ridge seems interesting, but I'm not sure if he goes too far with his "I AM A MONSTER!!!" angst. He certainly doesn't overplay it each time as is generally the case, but he brings it up a bit too much. The narration from Fairchild serves to ground this issue to a perspective well, but I hope she's not the only one we hear from. I hope it rotates characters each issue like Legion Lost did.
In Conclusion: 4/5
Overall I'd give this a personal 4.5/5. The only REAL flaw that I PERSONALLY had was that the plot felt a bit short. The issue was a decent length read, but the group had made so little progress it ended up feeling rushed. The other half star is for the lack of accessibility for new readers. This jumps RIGHT off the end of The Culling, so I'd advise being caught up with TT, Superboy, and LL to invest in this.