The Titans are set up in Manhattan and ready to take on all threats, including the main threat that motivated them to move to NYC in the first place. We review part one of “Made in Manhattan: To Bee or Not to Bee” and determine: is it good?
Titans #8 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
“Made in Manhattan” part one! As Wally West and the Titans adjust to their new lives in New York City and investigate a mysterious new threat, Karen and Mal Duncan visit Meta Solutions to discuss their future. But the meeting takes an unexpected turn when Mal delivers a shocking revelation, and Karen is faced with a difficult choice.
Why does this book matter?
Brett Booth is back on pencils after a one issue hiatus, so fans of his should jump back on if they skipped the last issue. Writer Dan Abnett is fleshing this team out here, and that means team building, but also choice character developing moments!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I kind of love the bee in that caption box.
You might be wondering where the “Bee” in the name of this story arc comes from, but fear not, as it’s the focus. Abnett is clearly laying the groundwork for a new member of the team and she (gasp spoilers) has an interesting connection to the team. As this character is developed, she associates with–I think–the villains of this story arc which allows Abnett to be more efficient with the plot development.
Outside of this Abnett and Booth check in with the team as they continue to get settled in their new headquarters. Abnett does a good job reestablishing Wally’s romantic issues. Garth and Lilith get time to develop a rapport as well and there’s even a flashback to remind us of their teen days.
There isn’t a lot of action in this issue save for a flashback and a short training scene, but Booth keeps the energy up with his slanting layout style. The timing of closeups help keep the drama of a dialogue-heavy scene on point and there always seems to be a kinetic dynamic underneath a character’s pose. Speaking of the training scene, Lilith has some sweet moves and you can see her power in the posing as she reacts to Garth’s moves. Good stuff and it’s all rendered in high detail.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Mal Duncan aka Vox is a major character in this issue and his emotional stability is called into question based on his actions. Avoiding spoilers here, but not enough is done to express his fear as something that’s understandable and relatable. It makes sense on some level, but the way it’s shown you get the sense he’s erratic and lost his mind. It’s a bit too much and it loses sight of the meaningful reason for his fear.
I see Robin and think, “Bust a move!”
Is It Good?
If this is the direction of the latest story arc please don’t let it end anytime soon. Abnett and Booth are delivering an intriguing team building story that feels important because the characters come off as realistic and genuine. At this rate, Titans might be my favorite superhero team book of 2017.