Titans is quickly becoming one of my favorite titles to read! I won’t go so far to say that it’s the best, but it is one of the more enjoyable books I read. Much like Green Arrow, there’s a positivity to this title that is infectious, and that fact that Abnett has stepped up his game the past few months doesn’t hurt either!
Now that the Titans are settled with Wally again, we’ve been able to move forward and focus on the team itself. With Abra Kadabra out of the way (thank God!), Abnett has taken a break from big bads so he can set up the finer details. Dick has improved as a team leader, and worked to get the Titans Tower constructed. Wally is adjusting nicely to his new home. Roy and Donna are growing a fun (and kind of cute) relationship, as are Garth and Lilith. The only two members that haven’t received much of a spotlight, are Mal and Karen, so naturally this arc belongs to the two of them.
Following Titans Hunt, Mal decided to step away from his life as a hero. It’s not him anymore. He has a new life, with a great career, an amazing wife, and he’s happy. Ironically, Karen has discovered that she has metahuman abilities. Unlike Mal, her abilities are something she wants to explore and embrace… Notions that have brought both of them to MetaSolutions for very different reasons. Mal wants what’s best for he and his wife, and his idea of fulfilling that, is having his meta-abilities removed, and encouraging Karen to discover her limits in a safe environment… What they didn’t expect to find was that the people behind the operation are actually the Fearsome Five.
This issue kicks off with the Titans and Fearsome Five standing toe to toe, but Psimon is insistent that the Fearsome Five have changed. They’ve found better use for their time and abilities, and some have even given up their powers in the process. Naturally, you can’t help but look at these guys and think, “no, they’re bad” but even Lilith can’t detect any falsehoods.
It’s this conversation that leads to one of the more interesting commentaries of this chapter. Can people change? There are strong and varying opinions of this, and as a hero, you want to hope for the best. Each team member assesses the situation differently, but it’s ultimately Roy who steps in with the most clarity as he inserts his own struggle for redemption as an example… but his ultimate point might surprise you.
There isn’t much in the way of plot progression, and I know that might turn some readers off. We do get quite a bit of character interaction though – something I think Abnett and Titans does incredibly well. I want to see these characters interact. If they don’t – at least for an issue here or there – we would be stuck with a book similar to Hitch’s Justice League. Things do pick up by the end of the issue, and appear as though they’re setting up some great action/ plots. So if you are disappointed with this chapter because there wasn’t enough excitement, then I urge you to check back in next month because I feel certain your wish will be granted!
The Art: I’ve seen mixed opinions concerning Brett Booth’s art. Personally, I’m a fan. I wasn’t too fond of the long, narrow panels that filled the first arc, but those have diminished, and his technical approach is quite appealing. There’s a lighter tone to Booth’s art, which mimics the tone of the book itself. That lighter tone doesn’t take away from the intensity or action when it does pop up though!
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
Character Relationships. My favorite thing about Titans, is the relationships and dynamic between the team. They feel like a group of people you would want to hang out with, and better yet, fight crime with. It’s nice to see a group of people that are so close to one another that they are open with one another, and their energy jumps off of the page.
Roy. I love that they brought up Roy’s previous drug addiction. I know it’s been referenced, throughout the New 52 and Rebirth, but having him blatantly say he was addicted to drugs was refreshing. His outlook on reform was also a powerful moment as well, even if the “I’m not finished!” interjection was a little heavy handed.
Fearsome Five. I’m not going to lie, there was a part of me that believe Psimon when he said the team had reformed. I knew something fishy was going on, but I wasn’t sure if it was actually the Fearsome Five behind it, or if it was someone else pulling their strings and controlling them. Those questions were answered when Mammoth attacked Nightwing and Flash though, and set-up what will hopefully be a high-energy issue next month.
Karen. I’m excited to see Karen come into her own! I think it’ll be fun to watch her grow and develop over time! Hopefully Abnett will remain consistent in her progression. That seems to be the key in comics these days. Consistency with characters.
A Heavy Hand. If I have one complaint about Titans, it’s that the dialogue can be a little heavy handed at times. I’ve commented on this before, and the title has improved ten-fold in this department, but I still feel as though there’s some room for more improvement.
- You want to see what comes of the Fearsome Five’s reveal.
- You’re inspired by Karen’s journey to discover and push herself.
- You like positive books.
Overall: Abnett and Booth deliver again, and Titans #9 sets itself up for a follow-up issue that should be high-energy and action packed. Some readers might be disappointed with the lack of plot progression in this issue, and if you’re not a fan of character interaction, then you might see this chapter as a bit of a let-down. I personally enjoy the dynamic of these characters, and feel as though the peaks and valleys of this book will work much better in a trade format. In the end, Titans is definitely worth your time, so make sure you go pick it up!
SCORE: 7.5/ 10