The DC Universe is getting a huge shake-up right now which is probably a good reason to jump in if you haven’t been reading DC Comics. After Dark Nights: Metal and “No Justice” the universe has been shaken with new worlds freed and new threats looming. It’s bigger than ever and this issue helps set up one of the new protectors of Earth.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
It’s the dawn of a new age of TITANS! The events of METAL and NO JUSTICE have left the team in tatters, but a strange new threat has emerged to lead Nightwing to reassemble the Titans with a mix of old blood and new. A rash of metahuman power fluctuations are threatening people around the globe, and only the friends who grew up as superheroes can help those whose powers have grown out of control! It all starts here in this special issue kicking off a bold new direction!
Why does this matter?
In a lot of ways, this issue does the heavy lifting to get this new Titans team off the ground, establish and reveal what is going on since “Dark Nights: Metal” and “No Justice”, and sets up a major new shift in the DCU. This book is extra-sized and contains a lot of great action and character beats too.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Dan Abnett writes yet another solid annual issue. Maybe it’s the extra pages or the chance to write a done in one story, but this is another example of his solid annual writing. This story is all about Nightwing getting a new team together and it’s told in a vignette style like a montage in a movie. After setting up the why of this new team–humans are gaining new powers due to elements raining down from the cosmos–Nightwing sets out to recruit teammates. That makes this adventure fun for two reasons. The first being to see who he’ll recruit next and the second being how. This keeps the narrative rolling forward at a good pace and keeps the reader guessing.
The bigger implications of this team are laid out well as Nightwing details the growing threat to Earth. It’s a new kind of threat and it’s a new one. No longer is the focus a villain taking over the planet, but a random person gaining powers and hurting others by accident. To be frank, this story is similar to what Marvel did with the Inhumans in the last few years, but I’m holding out hope DC can pull it off much better than Marvel. So far, Abnett has done a great job establishing the threat here in an interesting way.
This issue is drawn by 9 artists, but you’ll barely notice due to the vignette style Abnett takes with this adventure. The styles vary from pinpoint penciled detail to traditional superhero art that’s not super detailed but gets the job done. Each hero looks great in their respective scenes and the style is never jarring. That’s key when there are so many artists working on one book.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There are elements to this issue that are very Marvel in their style. From the bigger picture metahumans popping up around Earth to how Beast Boy is suffering from an inability to control his powers, this book feels less DC than is customary. Beast Boy is particularly reminiscent of Marvel stories, like Beast on the X-Men becoming feral. It’s an element of the book that isn’t bad per se, but it threw me off considering this is the DCU.
Is it good?
I haven’t been this excited for a Titans book since, well, since Abnett wrote some solid stories a year ago. That said, Abnett has established a fun new team lineup that mixes things up quite well. He’s also established clear new dynamics for the team and an interesting power set between them.