The Titans face nonstop challenges within the first twenty-four hours of officially stepping up as Earth’s newest defenders! As the heroes struggle to measure up, several mysteries await them, including a shocking death in the family.
The New Teen Titans
Who are the “Teen Titans?” Depending on who you ask, several iterations may come to mind. Of course, the most popular version refers to the line up of Robin, Beast Boy, Raven, Starfire, Cyborg, and sometimes Wonder Girl in George Perez and Marv Wolfman’s New Teen Titans run. Others may refer to the original squad of sidekicks including Aqualad, Speedy, and Kid Flash. While fans widely regard these nine characters as the “original” crew, they’ve surprisingly never fought as one complete unit until now. In a lovely opening flashback in their original costumes, all nine members of the Titans rush to confront Brother Blood. As happy as I am to see this Silver Age group together, I can’t help but wonder; “When did this happen?”
In Cyborg’s solo for Dawn of DC, he mentions not relating with the Justice League and joining the Teen Titans. This is one of many retcons that the Dark Nights: Death Metal and Dark Crisis events introduce. As a result, Titans now exists in a confusing amalgam timeline largely unknown to readers. Sadly, readers have to fill in the blanks for themselves. However, if Tom Taylor and Morgan Hampton are using this new history, then why would a former League member worry if he was Justice League material? More importantly, why would any member of the Titans feel inferior if they’ve seen worse by that point?
You Get A Resurrection And You Get A Resurrection!
As predicted, Wally’s death is a fake out used to drive the story forward. Essentially, we learn the bullet that kills the future Flash likely came from someone he may trust. Fortunately, Nightwing utilizes Wally’s autopsy to circumvent the events that may have led to his death. This includes making informed decisions about Wally’s inclusion on certain missions, and being transparent about possible contingencies against a Titan if they were responsible. Furthermore, it highlights comparisons and contrasts to Batman and Nightwing’s leadership styles. As for The Flash, he isn’t too shook up about any of it, despite faking and solving his own “murder” once before Heroes In Crisis.
In addition, the fate of villains like Brother Blood remains unclear. After failing to reprogram and reform him, Damian kills Brother Blood in Teen Titans #42-44 (2020). Nevertheless, Brother Blood reemerges in this new world as a preaching Televangelist named Brother Eternity. Considering their long history of fighting the cult leader, the Titans don’t buy his clean act. Unfortunately, it seems Tempest is willing to drink the proverbial Kool-Aid for some reason. In fact, this may be the “higher calling” motivating his rejection of Titan’s membership in the first issue. Funnily enough, this directly parallels The Deep’s conversion to the Church of The Collective from Amazon’s violent adaptation of The Boys (2019).
Out Of The Shadows
In spite of everything, the team is making good on their efforts to step up. When another disaster hits, Donna leads the Titans through an action packed rescue! Firstly, Cyborg and Raven’s unique abilities combine in a creative sequence on the page. As the heart of the team, Beast Boy has an excruciating experience while trying to save a family of chimps. The illustration of Garfield loosing it when he catches the potential culprits foreshadows angry melodrama in his future. Speaking of foreshadowing, Starfire seems to have personal ties to what’s been happening. Lastly, because “Troia” was the reason for the Titans disbanding before, I understand Donna’s trepidation at leading.
The artwork marvelously ditches the happy-go-lucky tone of the first issue and embraces more dramatic lighting and color. Additionally, their battles and heavy feats in this issue feel appropriately epic in scale. Even though the Titans still embody typical heroic proportions of action figures, they each feel distinct in personality and gesture. Not to mention, seeing all the Silver Age costumes in use again was neat. With very few things to nitpick, Nicola Scott and Annette Kwok are the indisputable MVP’s of this book.
- You are a fan of The New Teen Titans (with a caveat of being tolerant of retcons).
- You have high hopes for Dawn of DC.
- In love with Nicola Scott’s artwork.
The new Titans series has solid illustration, but often problematic plot choices. On the positive side, it utilizes all of the Titans and they feel like they each contribute something to the plot and overall atmosphere. On the negative side, there is an abundance of sketchy history Taylor wants us to be aware of, but not look too deep into. In fact, it has such a loose handle on lore that it copies, rehashes, or contradicts a lot of the references it tries to invoke. Overall, I don’t want to penalize the book too badly, but leaning on shaky foundations can lead to confusion. Luckily, the story is still massively entertaining, and has a lot of potential to outdo the story threads it desperately wants to succeed.
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.