TITANS #23 written by Dan Abnett, with art by Brandon Peterson, colors by Ivan Plascencia, and letters by Dave Sharpe relaunches onto the shelves this week as a new group of Titans seeks to stop new emerging meta-human threats that have developed since the events of DARK NIGHTS: METAL. Let’s jump in and see what Abnett has in store!
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
TITANS #23 SPOILERS TOO!
After reading the TITANS SPECIAL #1, Abnett was finally taking this series in a new direction. It was exciting to see where TITANS were finally going. The Rebirth Series felt like Abnett had a story he wanted to tell the reader but wasn’t allowed too. Maybe it was because of METAL, or DOOMSDAY CLOCK?
But for a book containing the red-headed Wally West who reappeared at DC’s REBIRTH, the TITANS Series had huge plot points to attack. However, Abnett never did. For example, Wally was always left as a dangling plot thread. So, the TITANS SPECIAL #1 left readers with hope for a “Fresh Start” for a series that had been stuck in the mud for a long time now AND a series that moved away from its possible anchor: Wally West. However, did Abnett relaunch this series well?
META-EXPLOSION OF POWERS
This issue opens with a massive release of Dark Matter Energy in Sugar Hill NYC. A guy, who at first I thought was Aqualad from the old TEEN TITANS, let’s off an enormous explosion and directs it towards an old man working at a cash register. Seeing the threat, the Titans head to the epicenter of the blast only to come across oversized large rodents to fight on the way.
The Titans diverge on the situation from their new Boom Tube transport and separate to stop the emerging threats. Beast Boy and Donna Troy race ahead to take out the mutant rodents. Nightwing and the rest of the team arrive shocked to a find a bloody Donna Troy standing over a huge pile of dead rodents.
As a “Dark Matter” of Fact
The Titans continue ahead on their way to the source of the massive Dark Matter Energy blast and happen to calm the guy down who was responsible and put power dampeners on him. However, it turns out the guy was only trying to protect his friends from the cashier who rages out into this huge, horned, demonic beast.
Nothing seems to work on the beast other than the same Dark Matter Energy the guy released earlier. So, the guy the Titans captured breaks out of his dampeners and shoots the beast, exploding his head. Absolutely nothing the Titans did worked. The beast resisted kinetic and psionic energies. So, how is this team going to stop these emerging threats if they can’t hit, punch, or use their superhero abilities?
This issue is just utterly confusing. For example, which came first? Did the guy cause the Dark Matter explosion, which caused the mutant rats and the cashier to go demonic OR was Dark Matter released FIRST causing the giant rats, the guy with uncontrollable powers, AND the demonic cashier at the same time? See; it’s even painful to say!! And what’s the point of this team if none of them can stop these threats without Dark Matter abilities?
The next problem was the heavy dark lines outlining the characters by Peterson. Each character felt like they had a dark black line outlining their figure like a coloring book. This made the characters seem hollow and lifeless. AND many of the characters, mainly the cashier and the guy that shot his head off, had weird facial expressions that didn’t fit the scenes and actions they were in at the time.
Failure to Relaunch
The story didn’t get me excited for what’s to come. Is this just going to be a book that gives us a Dark Matter Monster of the Week each issue? And, what’s the direction our Titans are going in? Sure, they’re trying to stop Dark Matter threats as they come up BUT who’s the significant threat? Who’s the big villain?
After reading the end of TITANS SPECIAL #1, it looked like Brother Blood may be the villain … maybe. But Abnett doesn’t mention him at all in this issue. If you didn’t read the TITANS SPECIAL #1, you’d have no idea Brother Blood is even related to any of this. Even then, his part was one page at the end AND confusing. Also, how long will readers have to wait for that showdown? Readers need something big out of the gate to draw them into a story that has been flat for so long, and this just wasn’t it.
Should you get this issue?
No. The art was ok, and the story didn’t move the needle or have a great hook moving forward. The dialogue between the characters was average, and Abnett didn’t progress the story forward at all. Not to mention, parts of the art just came off weird and out of place.
Should you add this to your pull list?
Not just yet. Wait and see where the story is going first. Hopefully, readers won’t have to wait 22 more issues for that to happen.
What did you guys think of TITANS #23? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter @dispatchdcu