Review – Titans #1 (DC Comics)

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Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Dan Abnett
Art: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, Andrew Dalhouse
Release Date: 27th July, 2016

Of all the “Rebirth” issues released so far, Titans: Rebirth was far and away my favourite, featuring a stunningly emotional reunion between Wally West and his former friends and teammates the Teen Titans.  With the series proper kicking off this week, it’s refreshing to see writer Dan Abnett continue that same tone here, showcasing the tight bond between the team as they come together in their attempts to figure out just what happened to cause their missing memories.

Once again, it’s the camaraderie between this extended family of superheroes that really makes this book sing, and Abnett is clearly having an absolute blast with the inter-term banter, from playfully ragging on one another to fleeting moments of flirtation.  He also does a solid job of making sure it doesn’t just becoming the “Wally West Show” (even if he’s still very much the cornerstone) by delving into some of Arsenal’s discoveries about his previously forgotten past, as well as shining the spotlight on Linda Park as she decides to investigate the “mysterious stranger” who showed up in a flash of lightning claiming to know her.

Visually, Brett Booth does a fantastic job of keeping things fresh and interesting with his layouts, utilising jagged, fragmented panels interspersed with impressive splash pages.  While his aesthetic is very much in the DC “house style”, his high level of expression, impressive knack for detail and shrewd technical draughtsmanship really give this book the bold visual style it deserves.  Norm Rapmund’s inks give everything a pleasing solidity without overcrowding the linework, and Andrew Dalhouse’s vivid colours give the book it’s unmistakable “superhero” feel.

The final pages provide an unexpected – but not unwelcome – surprise with the return of a classic Flash villain, setting the table for the first challenge that this newly-reunited team is going to have to overcome.  As the series progresses, it’d be nice to see some of the other team members get a little more focus on them, but I completely understand Abnett’s decision to make Wally the focus of this first arc.  After all, he is pretty much the catalyst for the entire “Rebirth” event, so clearly deserves to be the leading man – for the time being, at least.

While the bulk of DC’s Rebirth books have provided bold, fresh and exciting new status quos for their title characters, few have done it with such unabashed heart as Titans. As I mentioned in my review of the Rebirth issue, this isn’t a super-team I’ve ever really had any interest in – until now.  As things stand, I’m officially on board with this title as long as DC keeps publishing it, and I can guarantee I’m not the only one.

Rating: 4.5/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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