In a world without the Justice League, there is one team that can fill those massive shoes and that team is the Titans. DC Comics has never fully committed to any version of the Titans going beyond being seen as the Junior Justice League. But in the aftermath of Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths, this latest Titans relaunch by Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott finally feels like the first real shot for the team to get out of the Justice League’s shadow. Is that finally going to happen? Let’s find out with Titans #1.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Nicola Scott
Colorist: Annette Kwok
Letterer: Wes Abbott
At some point in the future Flash (Wally West) gets shot by someone unknown. To save his own life Flash travels to the present.
In the present, Tempest turns down Nightwing and Donna Troy’s offer to join the Titans.
Later, the Titans (Nightwing, Donna Troy, Cyborg, Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy) make their debut at the new Titans Tower while the media is watching. This opening is cut short when Oracle contacts the Titans about Titano attacking a chemical plant.
At the chemical plant while Beast Boy fights Titano the rest of the team saves everyone in the area. At the same time, Peacemaker tries to interfere the Titans defeat Titano without killing him as Peacemaker wanted.
Peacemaker tries to force the Titans to work for the US government. The Titans are quick to turn down the offer, reminding Peacemaker they protect the entire world.
When the team gets back to Titans Tower they are shocked to find Wally West’s dead body on the floor with the words “Solve It” written across all the computer screens. End of issue.
Titans #1 sets the blueprint of how to quickly establish a team in one issue. Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott show an understanding of the Titans’ history that they can simply focus on telling a strong superhero story. By doing so we see multiple character arcs and storylines established to build interest in the future of the series.
The strength of Titans #1 is that Taylor and Scott treat this first issue as continuing a world rather than the start of one. All the Titans members have been around for a long time that readers have at least a basic understanding of the team. Understanding that Taylor and Scott avoid going the route of doing character introductions for each member. Instead, they go with a direction of the narratives the team members are continuing.
We see this best with how Beast Boy and Tempest are presented in this issue. With Beast Boy, he is clearly still dealing with the trauma of being shot in the face by Deathstroke during Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths. While Tempest is teased to have something going on that is likely related to the unknown Aquaman franchise plans that he can’t be on the team. Addressing both Beast Boy and Tempest’s status quo gets across how all these characters have continued to live their lives since the last Titans series.
Taking this approach allowed Taylor to have the focus of Titans #1 be the chemistry between Nightwing, Donna Troy, Cyborg, Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy. They have all been superheroes for a while and have worked as a team for years. Even though they are dealing with things going on in their own lives when they are together the chemistry they share is still there. This allows moments like how Raven calms Beast Boy down a show of comfort with the team as they all have some sort of banter.
The team chemistry for the Titans then shines with how efficiently they deal with the Titano attack at a chemical plant. As soon as Beast Boy shows he is up to taking on Titano the rest of the team immediately know that their job is to save everyone in the area. This shows the confidence the rest of the team has in Beast Boy and how they understand that defeating the villain isn’t the only thing they need to do. This all comes with the experience the team has.
That experience is further emphasized by how Peacemaker’s presence does not take away the Titans’ attention from what they need to do to save everyone. In the process, we see how quick Nightwing is to act as a leader as he recognizes the wild card that Peacemaker is. Because of that the plan quickly shifts to have Donna Troy and Starfire help Beast Boy defeat Titano while still maintaining a focus on protecting everyone.
With this show of superheroics, Taylor progresses the greater conflict in the DCU post-Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths involving Amanda Waller. We know that Amanda Waller has a target on all the superheroes’ backs. With not only the backing of The Light but also the US government we see that Waller is looking to either control or eliminate the heroes who do not cooperate. Peacemaker is used well as an extension of Waller’s will as he is the asshole who is so easy to hate. With the Titans being positioned as the #1 superhero team without the Justice League around it’ll be interesting if this series will be dealing with the Waller and The Light storyline more in the future.
The hook ending for Titans #1 with an alternate future Wally West dead body was well handled. Taylor quickly established with the opening that the Wally who died is an alternate universe version. This accomplishes setting up the first big storyline for the series while also not trying to do a big fake out of Wally’s death, since we know this wouldn’t be the case. Now the focus is on how to prevent this possible future than simply relying on shock value to end the first issue.
Nicola Scott’s artwork throughout Titans #1 was simply wonderful. Scott’s artwork makes this series immediately stand out visually as DC Comics’ premiere comic book series. I especially appreciate how each of the Titans is shown to be an experienced adult hero. It’s a small thing that goes a long way in helping the approach to this first issue feel like it is continuing a story rather than starting one. The action we get with the Titans taking on Titano is a great tease for how we can expect Scott to deliver epic action sequences in the future.
Titans #1 does everything you want from a first issue of a superhero team series to do. The chemistry of the entire team shines through while several major storylines are established. All that is done as the Titans are immediately put over as DC Comics’ premiere superhero team. This is a must-have for DC Comics fans.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10