Saturday, August 6, 2016

Titans (vol.3) #1 (2016)

Titans (vol.3) #1 (September, 2016)
"The Return of Wally West, Part One: Run for Your Life"
Writer - Dan Abnett
Penciller - Brett Booth
Inker - Norm Rapmund
Colorist - Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer - Carlos M. Mangual
Assistant Editor - Brittany Holzherr
Editor - Alex Antone
Cover Price: $2.99

Late last year, I felt as though my hopes had been answered by DC Comics.  Not only were we getting an ongoing title featuring the pre-Flashpoint Superman, we were also getting a "fill-in-the-blanks" 12 8-issue maxi-series featuring the Titans... the real Titans, with Titans Hunt.

I feel that the Titans have had a pretty poor showing since the New-52 hit.  This team... ay yai yai... this team, full of unlikable horrid social media obsessed children... and, by all accounts these were meant to be the only team of Titans to have ever existed in the new landscape.  This title went from nearing the top of my read-list, to my... let's let a dozen issues pile up before I attempt plowing through it.  

Making matters worse... this was Scott Lobdell, one of my all-time favorites.  The fella to thank and/or blame for my getting into superhero comics in the first place!  When I heard he was going to be the writer, I couldn't have been happier.  I thought back to the amazing work he'd done on Generation X, and figured it'd be a no-brainer that he'd knock it out of the park with Teen Titans.  Dunno what happened... but, I really didn't dig it.

Well, onward and upward... the Titans... the real Titans are back... even Wally West... the real Wally West.  Let's dive into it!

Be warned, I do go more in depth here than I usually do with newer issues.  This is a special issue, and I couldn't help myself.  If you haven't read it yet... proceed with caution.


We open with a Flashback, no pun intended... okay, maybe kind of intended.  Wally West is giving us the quick 'n dirty of his life pre and post-Flashpoint.  We see him as a teen-sidekick, and a Teen Titan... finally a loving husband (and father?).  This was all before time got janky.  From there, we see his reunion with Barry Allen from DC Universe: Rebirth #1... a scene, which I'm not ashamed to say made me mist up just a tad.  

Now, Wally's back with his buddies... the Titans.  Following the events of Titans Hunt, the gang's missing memories have began filing back in.  Fellow Titan, Lilith Clay otherwise known as Omen is trying to read our man via psionic link.  What she comes up with is a name... Linda Park.

Wally gets all "gawrsh", when his pals start kidding him about having a girl on his mind... which, kinda feels like a tame reaction to me.  He comes across looking more embarrassed than upset here.  He claims that Linda was just "the girl I knew back in my time".  That's a far cry from "my wife and the mother of my children."  He shares how during his return she did not recognize him.

We now shift scenes to Ms. Park's apartment.  She's the fastest reporter in town writing for the website Super News.  While reading about the recent electrical storms, her mind wanders back to that strange... Flashy man, who claimed to know her... last night.  Didn't realize this was just the next day.

Back at the Grayson loft/Titans HQ; Roy, Donna, and Garth are putting their heads together to figure out just who or what messed with the time.  Garth posits that the villain they're looking for just might be Mr. Twister.  He suggests they try and hunt down the oafish brute Mammoth to see if he can lead them to their man.

And so, Roy and Donna head to the Bowery section of Gotham to check in on some of Mammoth's drug muscling stomping grounds.  Here, we learn that the Man Mountain is rolling with a fella called Psimon.  This scene also consists of a nice "getting to know you" moment between Roy and Donna.

Back at the loft, Lilith and Wally are still trying to get down to it... without much success.  The returning Speedy and Wonder Girl (man, I love that I can type that... in 2016... and for it to be... mostly true) bring with them piles of pizza for the gang to share.  In between bites, Lilith finds that she may have reached a bit too deep in Wally's subconscious... actually, past Wally's subconscious.  She's woken something... something that will need their immediate attention.

Now for something completely different.  We join a lame-o suburban birthday party, where an old, overweight magician is attempting to entertain a gaggle of tots.  After being deservedly heckled, he stumbles back... and faints.

He awakens as... well, quite a familiar face to Flash fans.  He shows off his magical prowess by teleporting the party to outer space... and returning them home just before their little heads go pop.

In case it's not clear... our mad magician is Abra Kadabra, and he's taking credit for Wally West's recent vanishing act.


This was a very fun issue.  The team members are still in something of a Honeymoon phase... still getting reacquainted.  I'm very glad this is being done on-panel, rather than as a throwaway line.  Quite a bit remains unknown between the Titans... so, the reader is poised to receive the information just as the disparate team members are.  Really digging this.

One thing that... I dunno, I don't wanna say it bugged me... okay, yeah... it bugged me.  When Wally thought about Linda, it was kinda in the "aw, schucks" kinda way and not the devastating "my wife doesn't know me" kinda way.  I can't speak for anybody else, but I'd be a lunatic in the same situation... perhaps that's why I'm not a superhero.  Also, what of Jai and Iris?  Ya know, Wally and Linda's kids?  They showed up during last year's Convergence: Speed Force mini-series... so they gotta be somewhere, right?

Staying with Wally for just a bit longer... does he have a code-name yet?  Is he just The Flash again?  It looked as though when he "introduced" himself before Lilith read him, that he hesitated.  He did the "I'm Wally West, the (dot dot dot) Fastest Man Alive".  Was he wanting to say "The Flash" there?  I don't think I'd mind if we had two (maybe three when the JSA returns) Flashes... but, hey... that's just me.

It looks like the Fearsome Five are on our horizon... which, I'm cautiously optimistic for.  The Five always seemed a bit dorky to me, however, I'm most definitely willing to give Dan Abnett the benefit of the doubt.  The reveal that... Abra Kadabra made Wally disappear was... something.  Very interesting... I'm very much looking forward to how this plays out.  He makes it so Barry's gotta go on trial for the last few years of his (first) existence, and now we learn he had his one-time sidekick erased from the world's collective memory banks.  What a bastard.

I remember when the New-52 started, and there were certain books that felt like absolutely no thought was put into them.  These were just filler books, destined for the cheap-o bins of the world... poor storytelling... lackluster art... just complete afterthoughts.  Titans #1 is almost the complete opposite of that... from top to bottom, this feels vital.  It feels like it matters... which is something the Titans haven't in a half-decade.  It should come as no surprise that I am VERY pleased with this issue... and this team (creative and in-story).  My only real complaint is that this is not one of the bi-weekly DC ongoings... meaning I/we gotta wait a whole month for my/our next taste.


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