Yet again, Dan Abnett proves that Titans is not only the best hero, team book being published by DC at the moment, but also one of the most entertaining!
Something needs be said about properly planning a narrative. Take one look at Titans, and it’s clear that Abnett has plans set to run for many issues! Despite fumbling out of the gates, Titans found its footing quickly, and is beautifully racing right into some great stories.
Three separate moments have weighed heavily on the team. The first is Psimon and the Fearsome Five stealing Bumblebee’s memories. Not only did this put Mal and Karen in an awkward place (especially considering Mal chose to give up his powers while Karen embraced hers), but now Karen has no memory of her life with her husband, or her child. To make matters worse, the team learned that H.I.V.E. was behind all of this. This eventually led Lilith to psychically battle Psimon to learn the whereabouts of Karen’s memories. Unfortunately, during that time Lilith also learned that one of the Titans would betray the team, but it was unclear who.
The Fearsome Five aren’t the only ones who have connections with H.I.V.E. though. Deathstroke does as well, and subsequently so does Dick. Dick struck up a deal with Deathstroke to train his Daughter (Ravager) and put her on the path of a better life. This played a part in “The Lazarus Contract,” and is the second moment that has heavily impacted the team. Not only was Dick’s deal with Deathstroke revealed (something that I honestly don’t find to be that bad considering he was attempting to do a good thing), but now that betrayal is on Lilith’s mind, and it doesn’t help Dick’s credibility. The other aspect of “The Lazarus Contract” is Wally. Events that occurred in the past have now left Wally with a weak heart, and an inability to perform fully.
Then finally there’s the Titans Annual. The Annual revealed a number of truths, but most importantly, it revealed that Donna Troy’s entire life has been a lie. She’s not an Amazon sister of Wonder Woman, but instead a creation made to destroy her. This revelation, along with Wally’s heart condition have pushed the two to relate and connect in new, intimate ways, but at the expense of a potential budding relationship with Donna and Roy.
With so many cards on the table, the book feels like a ticking time bomb where anything can happen at any moment. Thankfully, “Endgame” is mainly a high-energy, action-packed battle with a H.I.V.E. agent. There isn’t much plot progression to be found here, but the little bit that we do get is satisfying enough. Also, there’s
With the intel Lilith gained from Psimon, the team races retrieve the information from a H.I.V.E. facility, and restore Karen’s memories. Unfortunately, the mission is too easy to be true. After defeating an army of agents, the Titans only have to deal with one agent… who is equipped with H.I.V.E.’s new Endgame Protocol.
Remember how H.I.V.E. was using the Fearsom Five to steal powers from metahumans? Well, they weren’t just imbuing non-metas with those powers, they were also stockpiling them, and finding ways for H.I.V.E. agents to summon them at will. This creates an challenging, yet highly entertaining, battle for the Titans. And as expected, the drama of the events listed above slowly start to come into play.
I have to applaud Abnett for his control here. This issue could have easily turned into a CW-ish melodrama, but he’s slow in incorporating the doubts that have been bestowed on the team. And interestingly enough, by the end of the issue, Lilith isn’t the only one who believes there’s a traitor amongst their ranks (though if you’ve read future solicitations, this might be ruined for you… or it could be a red herring).
Despite the lack of plot progression in this issue, there is one new reveal involving Wally, and it’s quite interesting! Yes, it does have to do with his heart, but I’m not certain if it is ultimately a good thing or a bad thing! In fact, I’m uncertain of everything pertaining to this situation. All I have are questions, but at the moment, with all of the plots lingering before us concerning the Titans, this reveal is what I want to learn about the most! Wally, like the book itself, has me eager for the next issues!
The Art: Booth is taking a much deserved break, so V. Ken Marion steps in for art duties! I’m going to be honest, I didn’t pay enough attention to the art at first to realize it wasn’t Booth. There are many similarities between Booth and Marion’s styles, so it’s a simple mistake. A few pages into the issue, I thought, “Booth must have rushed with this issue, because this isn’t the quality I’ve come to expect from him.” Then another two or three pages, I decided I needed to check the credits because this couldn’t be Booth. In no way am I saying Marion’s art is bad, it’s just not nearly as polished. Where every panel of Booth’s art is consistent and contains a polished look, Marion’s hinders from panel to panel. Other than that, it was a solid delivery.
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
Mr. Binder. This was an unexpected surprise! The moment I saw Binder, I assumed he was just going to be an annoying nerd… Turns out that he’s actually pretty cool. Well… He’s not that cool, but the Endgame Protocol makes him cool!
Wally stopping time. I’m fascinated and incredibly intrigued! I’m going to step out on a limb and assume that this is the Speed Force working to protect Wally’s heart, and that, subsequently, it causes time to stop. I’m not certain if this is the case, but it’s my best guess. If it is, it’ll be nice to know that Wally won’t have to worry about a heart attack if he over exerts himself… Granted, there are most likely some unknown consequences to him stopping time.
Mal recruits Gnarrk. This is a minor moment, but a good one. So much attention has been put on the current Titans roster, that bringing Mal and Gnarrk back into the mix only adds more layers and textures to the book.
Traitor. We have quite a mess… Lilith believes there’s a traitor on the team after her psychic battle with Psimon – information she shares with Garth in this issue. On top of that, the team is already unsettled that Nightwing struck up a deal with Deathstroke… And then there’s Nightwing, who is convinced Lilith is a mole. This clearly won’t end well, especially since cliques are already forming within the Titans.
There’s not much bad here. Almost everything about Titans is good to great at the moment!
- You want to read a heroic team book that is both good and fun.
- You like layered narratives.
- You prefer stories that are character driven.
Overall: Dan Abnett delivers yet another solid issue of Titans! There are so many moving parts within the story, and the creative team masterfully maneuvers those plots in ways to create a satisfying narrative that is equally entertaining! The sense that anything could happen doesn’t hurt the book either!