Review – Titans #9 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artwork: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Release Date: 8th March 2017

Unfortunately, after a strong start, it’s safe to say that Dan Abnett’s Titans is losing its direction in a major way with this latest arc.

Whereas the opening “Return of Wally West” storyline reveled in the interactions and pseudo-familial bond between the Titans, these last couple of issues have seen them practically relegated to supporting character in their own book.  As with the previous chapter, our character feel largely one-dimensional here, with all the interesting sub-plots – Diana and Roy’s blossoming relationship, Wally’s attempts to recapture his past – being discarded in favour of having them deliver superficial one-liners and exposition.

In fact, the only character who is given any real chance to show any of that first-arc magic here is Arsenal, who delivers a powerful two-page speech about reformation and second chances that serves as the undeniable highlight of the issue.

The artwork from Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund is solid as always, although it’s worth noting that Booth’s unconventional ‘broken mirror’ panel style, while still effective in the action sequences, is actually becoming more than a little distracting and jarring during the quieter, more dialogue-focused sections of the book.  That said, Booth still attacks things with his trademark in-your-face gusto here, giving the book a prototypical ‘superhero’ style that, while it may not appeal to everyone, definitely works for this particular reader.

It’s perhaps also worth noting that this latest issue offers nothing particularly clever from a storyline point of view, as the Fearsome Five’s paper-thin claim of having reformed turns out to be, as expected, entirely false.  The Titans prove this almost ridiculously quickly, making me question quite what the point of the ‘are they or aren’t they?’ section near the start actually was.  As you could probably expect from the content of both the cover and the previous issue, this is Bumblebee’s story from start to finish, and while that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing in different circumstances, it still feels a little early in this run to sideline our established heroes quite so emphatically.

I’ve made no secret of my opinion that Dan Abnett has been the unquestioned “MVP” of DC’s post-Rebirth universe, and I still stand by that claim.  However, I’m also forced to admit that this latest Titans arc is in severe danger of tarnishing that reputation, and unless we start seeing some of that trademark Abnett creativity and emotion again, these next few issues could end up being something of a train wreck.

Rating: 2.5/5.

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