The Titans have returned to be bigger than ever. In a DC Universe with the Justice League or many active superhero teams, the Titans are filling a major hole left by Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths. The first issue established how big of a deal the Titans are. But as that was done the series launched with the death of a future version of Wally West’s Flash that the Titans found at the close of the first issue. It was certainly a surprise that Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott would start off in this way. How will things go from here? Let’s find out with Titans #2.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Nicola Scott
Colorist: Annette Kwok
Letterer: Wes Abbott
The Titans are quick to confirm the Flash whose dead body showed up in Titans Tower was a Wally West from the near future. When Oracle alerts the team to a city-sized explosion in Borneo having taken place Nightwing assigns Donna Troy to lead the team while he and Flash investigate the dead body further.
In Borneo, Donna Troy is quick to come up with a plan for the team to respond to the massive wildfire efficiently. Once the fire is put out Cyborg detects that the blast that caused the explosion is of Tamaranean origin.
Later that night, as the team decompresses from all their work, they are shocked to see the new Brother Blood make an appearance on a late-night talk show. Brother Blood introduces the audience to the newest member of the Church of Eternity former Titan, Tempest. End of issue.
Continuing the momentum from the first issue Titans #2 does an even better job at further establishing the returning team. The team is given a chance to showcase their chemistry in multiple ways. In the process we get a bigger storyline involving the new Brother Blood coming into play. That all accomplishes spotlighting why the Titans are a fan-favorite team.
The opening flashback emphasized how different the Titans are from their predecessors. They aren’t just like the Justice League where they came together because they were the best. Having been seen as a team of sidekicks they all grew up together understanding what it means to be the next generation and being each other’s support system. While we don’t see that desire to be the next Justice League very often it is something that has been part of each member, as the younger Dick Grayson tells Wally West that they’ll be better than their mentors.
It’s that mentality of their youth that is now their present as the team is aware that this time around being the Titans is taking on even more of a meaning than previous iterations. Nightwing’s inner monologue is a reminder of this as being faced with the possible death of their teammate could have a more significant impact beyond a personal one. The relief was felt when finding out Wally West was fine and they were likely dealing with an alternate version of Flash.
From there Taylor and Scott make sure that there is no wasted time and it’s put together that the dead Wally West they found is from the near future. What stood out most from this is how the Titans didn’t suddenly go to a worst-case scenario. They are all veteran heroes who have dealt with other universes and possible futures many times in the past. That experience level is shown in this situation. This leads to the story having a natural flow as this aspect of the Titans is told in a show rather than tell fashion.
This case also opened up Taylor bringing up how like Batman, Nightwing does have plans in place to deal with his teammates. The way it was brought up worked well into the flow of the story as Dick Grayson knew Wally West would rush out without thinking of the possibility of this crisis in Borneo was what his future self came from dealing with. But unlike his mentor, Nightwing made sure that the way he communicated having these contingency plans was communicated in the right way. This goes to showcase why Nightwing is currently being positioned as a leader in the DCU as a whole as he has learned from growing up with Batman and the Justice League in his life.
The crisis in Borneo gave way for the opportunity to position Donna Troy as the second-in-command for this iteration of the Titans. This was important since we know that Starfire and Cyborg could’ve each filled this role. But as we see when the Titans arrive in Borneo that Donna is quick to come up with a plan that maximizes her teammates’ abilities. Not having Flash or Nightwing there did not slow them down. That all goes to show how Donna’s experience as a leader will be important to this series.
Also, credit to Taylor for understanding the recent continuity with Donna talking to Starfire after the mission about their roles on the team. Because in Titans Academy we saw Starfire take on the leadership role. Starfire not taking things personally when Nightwing assigns leadership on the mission to Donna further emphasizes how the team is made up of heroes with a ton of experience. That experience means not having petty squabbles, as Starfire tells Donna directly. This type of interaction also works to reaffirm the close connection between Donna and Starfire, something we haven’t seen much in the modern era.
All these displays of experience make the ongoing subplot with Beast Boy not being able to control his emotions stand out even more. Being shot in the head by Deathstroke during Dark Crisis has had a bigger impact than Beast Boy wants to talk about. But while he doesn’t want to talk about it Raven and his teammates clearly see the signs that he needs help. We know that the team has had Beast Boy go to therapy sessions with Omen and Power Girl but there is still more there. How Taylor continues to address Beast Boy’s mental health is hopefully treated with care as a long-term sub-plot.
As good as all the development with the team was the two conflicts developed in Titans #2 was just as impressive. Taylor made sure that there isn’t just one conflict that the Titans are dealing with. Here we have four different things brought up. And it was only the Borneo explosion that was able to be immediately addressed and resolved. It did help to further showcase that the Titans are global protectors, as Nightwing and Cyborg told Peacemaker in Titans #1.
At the same time coming out of Titans #2, we have the mystery of the future dead Wally West, an unknown Tamaranean causing the explosion in Borneo, and Tempest joining Brother Blood’s cult. Having three plotlines, along with all the character arcs, emphasizes how the Titans are the premiere team. They are going to have to find ways to address all these things. And it is all being done in a way that stays with what fans know of the Titans rather than just immediately thrusting the team to just handle only Justice League villains.
Hopefully, Taylor has these three storylines be their own separate things rather than being connected together. The Brother Blood story with Tempest joining his cult should get immediate attention. This latest Brother Blood story now has enough to stand on its own without connecting to the mystery around the future Wally West or the unknown Tamaranean. The Brother Blood story could be what takes up the next two issues before getting back to the other two storylines.
The story with the Tamaranean in particular is something that gets its own time after Brother Blood is dealt with. We haven’t seen Starfire get her own dedicated story revolving around Tamaran in a long time. The unknown Tamaranean attack is a good opportunity to modernize Tamaran and give Starfire her own story. It’s something that is definitely needed to help grow Starfire’s character beyond the go-to characteristic of being Dick Grayson’s ex-girlfriend all past writers have leaned heavily on for decades.
Nicola Scott’s artwork was even better in Titans #2. The coordination the team showed when executing Donna Troy’s plan to save Borneo from the wildfire was well done. We got to see each member’s powers used in different ways which shows the Titans can respond to more than just things involving fighting villains. Scott also does a great job with all the character interaction scenes we got in Titans #2. The way the characters interact got across how they are a family and have a good understanding of one another.
Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott utilize the ending of the first issue to develop multiple storylines and character arcs in Titans #2. The experience and relationships shine throughout this issue. It was all done in a seamless manner that further emphasized why the Titans are the premiere superhero team in the Dawn of DC direction. This drives home why Titans is a must-have series for DC Comics fans.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10