Titans #18 review

Wally West is dead! Evil Donna Troy from the future has arrived! The Titans are all but defeated! Will they be able to turn things around? Find out in Titans #18- the final chapter of the arc, The Fall of Troy.

DC removed the Rebirth banner from the cover, but these past few issues have felt more like Rebirth than the title has in quite a while. I think that’s because writer Dan Abnett and artist Brett Booth have something to say about the state of comics with this story and they are using Donna Troy as their voice.

The last issue revealed the origins of the wicked, future Donna Troy who refers to herself as Troia. Troia feels that friends and family are an illusion and that characters just need power. In many ways, this is what the New 52 felt like as well. Friends and relationships seemed secondary to new, flashy costumes and excessive violence. Donna Troy (and the Titans) represent the Rebirth model which has been about bringing these longtime friendships back into the DCU. We’ve seen the bond between Wally and Dick return, the marriage of Karen (Bumblebee) and Mal Duncan and Garth and Lilith’s blossoming romance. This title has been all about friendship, and much of that accumulates in this finishing chapter.

Abnett is aware though, that “friendship is magic” can be cheesy if not handled correctly. At one point, Roy attempts to subdue Troia by confessing his love for her (and Donna Troy). This idea could quickly slip into sappy territory if Troia falls for it, but luckily, Abnett knows when words will do the trick and when action is required.

While Abnett may be writing about the direct opposition between the two types of Troy, the art team isn’t just sitting on their hands. Visually, Booth has created two characters who look similar yet also have a subtle, striking contrast to each other. Troia sports a dark uniform with multiple sharp spikes, and a sizeable, ominous cape that flows around her. Donna Troy, however, wears short sleeves and flashes her white stars prominently. Booth also differentiates the two with expressions, Troia often looks possessed whereas Donna seems determined. It’s funny because Booth draws Troia and Donna the same but somehow Troia doesn’t look like Donna- she’s almost like a fake. It’s like Troia has lost the light that makes Donna glow. She feels cold and calculating. Norm Rapmund on inks and Andrew Dalhouse on colors deserve the same big kudos I give to Booth for being able to pull off these subtle touches. The art team delivers in spades here.

The themes of New 52 vs. Rebirth work well, but the story itself suffers from feeling a bit rushed. Several significant questions from the entire series felt hastily resolved, which left me confused about certain things.

For example, as much as I enjoy young Wally West, he never felt like he had a purpose in this story. The last issue seemed to imply he was going to be a deus ex machina for saving older Wally and the team, but he never accomplishes that or much of anything.

Along with young Wally, The Key and Mr. Twister as secondary villains also felt like they had no role in this story. They seemed to be there solely to keep the other Titan’s occupied while Donna dealt with Troia.

Finally, without diving into spoilers, a certain love-triangle was altered once again, and while it’s a change I’ve seen coming for a while, it didn’t feel earned- it just felt rushed. That’s my main dissatisfaction with the book, so much about this story alters the landscape (and for the better), yet I found myself flipping through the last few pages wondering what had happened.

Recommended if:

You’re a big fan of Donna Troy.
You’re happy to see Brett Booth back on art duty.
You want to see the conclusion of the storyline, Fall of Troy.

Overall: I felt like last month’s issue set my expectations high for this conclusion, and while I enjoyed the message Dan Abnett was writing about, the whole ending moved way too fast. I won’t say it was a swing and miss, but I do feel a bit disappointed. The good news is, it looks like we’re set up for a clean start next month to dive into some brand new directions.

SCORE: 5.5/ 10