Titans Special #1 Review

Written by Dan Abnett
Art by Sergio Davila, Vicente Cifuentes, Brent Peeples, Matt Santorelli, Brian Ching, Nicola Scott, Max Raynor and Ben Oliver
Colors by Luis Guerrero, Marcelo Maiolo, Michael Atiyeh, Jordie Bellaire, Dinei Rebeiro and Romulo Fajardo Jr.

The Titans return in this quasi Dark Nights Metal / No Justice tie-in as we follow Nightwing on a recruitment mission to reform yet another Titans squad. This time it’s Justice League sanctioned and has the Trinity stamp of approval. This team’s mission statement is to combat threats that have emerged since the Source Wall broke down and activated latent metahuman abilities in humans all over the Earth.

Dan Abnett has a helluva task with this double sized issue as he attempts to weave a story that includes introducing the new Hall of Justice, highlighting each of Nightwing’s recruits and their initial reluctance, and what their first emerging threat will be.

Dick’s first port of call is Raven, who is busy trying to distance from everyone in the Arizona desert as she has been empathically drowning since the Source Wall broke. Raven accepts the challenge but isn’t sure if the others on his list are up to the task.

Next on Dick’s list is Beast Boy. Abnett makes the decision here to make Gar part of the new narrative running through DC titles by showing us that he has also been affected even though he already was a metahuman before Metal, but now he can’t control his abilities like he could before. It looks like Abnett has made the decision to put layers on Gar and make him much more than just a goofball.

Dick’s next recruit will have you WTF’ing as we end up in Donna Troy’s apartment. A big part of why the Titans were split up was because the Justice League had a problem with Donna Troy, and whether she truly was a force for good, and now here’s Dick asking her to join a team again? Abnett knows he’s in a corner with this one as he gets the two of them to say all the things we as the reader are thinking, and then he lays on the guilt. Donna is spiraling, she’s angry, hurt and using alcohol to get through the day. Dick finds a why to get her to say yes though, and it’s mainly through letting her know that there will be opportunities to unleash that anger and hit things.

The last stop on the recruitment tour is Natasha Irons, niece of Steel aka John Henry Irons. Natasha has been tracking all the strange activity that has been occurring since the Source Wall broke, and her early alert system is the perfect tool for Dick’s new team.

When the team assembles at the Hall of Justice there is one more addition to the team – Miss Martian. It seems the Justice League has assigned the new Titans a chaperone, suffice to say Dick is not happy. Before they even have a chance to argue, Miss Martian gets a chance to show her chops as a threat breaks out of Natasha’s test tubes, and Meghan extinguishes it with relative ease. The new team has a strong female presence, and I can’t help but wonder if Dick did that on purpose to lower the testosterone in the group to lessen the amount of arguments that always seem to plague the team.

As is the trend these days with oversized issues, there are several artists and colorists involved, but I think they went a little overboard this time as there 8 artists and 6 colorists that make up the art team. In my opinion, that is just too much for a 40 paged comic, and the transition between pages is just a little too obvious in some parts, which takes you out of the story as you stop to analyze and adjust to the changed look. Individually the team does a great job though as there are no weak pages, it’s just that they are all a little different to each other, but I will say that it was really nice to see Nicola Scott involved as I am a big fan of her work, and it was great to see her draw Donna Troy. Savvy readers will remember her fantastic short run on Wonder Woman with Greg Rucka. Even savvier readers will know that she is Australian, and that’s a big reason why I have a soft spot for her, but of course mainly because she really can draw Amazons well.

If you are a big Titans fan, then you have to pick up this issue as this is the stepping stone to their new path and direction. It’s a fun read, but I must say that I will miss Wally (who is busy Flash warring and such) and Roy. Hopefully Arsenal ends up in the pages of Red Hood and the Outlaws to reignite those New 52 feels with Red Hood as I feel those two play off each so well, and Roy deserves to have a decent platform each month.

7 out of 10