The new Titans got off to a solid start last month in the post-No Justice DC Universe. The team’s new mission statement is bigger than before. And with a roster made up of classic and new Titans this team has a lot of potential to develop into a fan favorite roster. The thing that does need to be ironed out is the balance of who will be the leads of different stories. Miss Martian in particular has been a weak link due to how Dan Abnett has chosen to portray her so far. Now that is something that can hopefully be fix with the team spending more time together. Let’s find out if that is the case with Titans #24.
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Brent Peeples
Inker: Matt Santorelli
Colorist: Ivan Plascencia
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: A mysterious person and their minion arrive in San Francisco through a mystical portal.
Elsewhere the Titans also arrive in another part of San Francisco. Miss Martian gives the team information on where another Source Wall threat may be. Nightwing tells Miss Martian to stay in the Boom Room and they will call her if they need her help.
Raven and Steel find an old man sitting alone and tell him to leave the area before things get bad. Suddenly something shows up that surprises both Raven and Steel.
At the same time Miss Martian contact Martian Manhunter. Miss Martian is concerned how Nightwing continues to keep her at a distance. Martian Manhunter says he is not surprised given the Justice League forced the Titans to accept her on the team but tells her she must continue on with her mission. Miss Martian suddenly senses Raven’s concern and cuts off the communication.
Back in San Francisco the Titans are fighting several creatures that have appeared. The old man tells Donna Troy that the creatures are called Urkesh and are from Unearth.
Miss Martian tells Donna to interrogate the old man. Donna does so and learns his name is Ernest Kirkpatrick Hinton, who Miss Martian is able to find is a fantasy fiction writer.
As the Titans continue to fight the Urkesh the mysterious person from earlier shows up. He reveals to Raven and Nightwing that his name is Prince Travesty from Unearth. Prince Travesty that he was banished to guard a place called the Great Without and it’s his job to stop invasions.
At a nearby bench Ernest says the Urkesh are his creations from the books he wrote. Miss Martian shows up and quickly figures out Ernest is the focal point as the Source Wall has triggered a meta-change in his mind so his creations become real.
Miss Martian requests to look into Ernest brain so she can isolate and remove the art of Source Wall energy that is causing his Unearth world to become reality and endanger Earth. Donna is not sure but Steel says that Miss Martian should act on whatever plan she has in mind.
Prince Travesty says he doesn’t care if the Titans don’t believe his world is real because he chooses the safety of Unearth over Earth.
Nightwing asks Miss Martian to act on her plan. Miss Martian request Raven’s assistance. Miss Martian and Raven combine their powers to enter Ernest’s brain.
Miss Martian, Raven and Ernest suddenly appear on Unearth. Miss Martian says she must remove the Source Wall energy in his brain so that the gate between Unearth and Earth can be closed. Ernest does not want to close the gate to the world he created. Miss Martian says they have to act quickly and goes about executing her plan to remove the Source Wall energy with Raven’s help.
Back on Earth Miss Martian tells the Titans everything has returned to normal and that she must contain the energy she extracted before it becomes to late.
Nightwing checks up on Raven. Raven says that before Unearth disappeared that she felt Prince Travesty wanted to stay on Earth. She goes on to say she feels bad that they took Unearth from Ernest.
A little later Ernest talks to Prince Travesty about how happy he is that Prince Travesty got to stay. Ernest wonders how Prince Travesty got to stay on Earth. Prince Travesty says he just pulled a little magic.
On Unearth Raven calls out to her Titans teammates, screaming that she is still on Unearth. End of issue.
The Good: While trying to establish the team chemistry of this new Titans squad Dan Abnett continues to show how the events of No Justice have serious ramifications on Earth. In tapping into the increase danger-level Abnett is able to give a sense of surprise to the threats the Titans are coming up against. Unfortunately retreading old storylines holds Titans #24 back from reaching its full potential.
When it comes to the strength of Titans #24 it is the team chemistry. Building off the last two issues with this team together we are able to see how the Titans quickly contain the fight to one area and fight efficiently. Even when more threats from Unearth appear the Titans are able to funnel each of the Urkesh into one stop. This shows that the Titans are looking to work as a much more well oiled machine than before.
The team chemistry is made better by how Abnett is able to add some light hearted dialogue in the middle of the action. It keeps things from being to serious, a reminder that this is still a superhero comic. Keeping this part of the story simple with banter at the beginning and a joke at Nightwing’s expense helps keeps this from taking the attention away from the main story.
By having the threat the Titans go up against based around one of the new meta-humans, Ernest Kirkpatrick Hinton, it is a reminder how chaotic things are in the DC Universe. This is something we are only seeing over in the Justice League. Having the Titans also tackle these new meta-humans makes the team look important as they are fighting the new major threats on Earth. This appropriately builds off the idea behind Nightwing forming a new Titans squad and gives having a team on the frontlines defending Earth more credence.
While Prince Travesty and the Urkesh were basic otherworld villains they are given some depth by being based on Ernest’s, the new meta-human, creations. Ernest amazement at seeing his creations come to life was nicely handled. Abnett gave Ernest enough time to come off as a fully fleshed out character as you do feel how down on his luck he has been in the past with his failed novel series. That at least made the pain of Miss Martian taking Ernest new power away a sad event for him
And of all her appearances this is the best Miss Martian has been portrayed within the story. Abnett does a good job showing that Miss Martian is still new to the superhero game with how her conversation with Martian Manhunter went down. At the same time she is at least learning from her team as she does not go with the lethal option to solve the threat the Titans go up against. This at least shows that Miss Martian is willing to work with her team rather than just take command of everything, like she was initially portrayed to be doing.
Brent Peeples artwork got the job done in Titans #24. Given the story’s action focus he was able to deliver on that department. Peeples also got over how Unearth was a world that is out of a fantasy novel. The thing that he does need to work on is how he draws multiple characters on a single panel. There was a lack of detail that kept the dialogue focused panels from hitting the impact that was needed.
The Bad: Though Titans #24 was a solid superhero story the biggest thing that keeps it back from being better was Abnett deciding to go with the tired traitor storyline. This is a plotline that we’ve seen done many times before with the Titans franchise. It was even a heavy focus in the long-term storyline with the previous incarnation of the Titans team. For Abnett to revisit this storyline, this time with Raven and Miss Martian, it makes it look like he can’t create multiple interesting plotlines for the series.
Further hurting this is how Martian Manhunter, and by extension Miss Martian, don’t come out looking great by keeping things secret from the rest of the Titans. Major secrets is what kills the team dynamic. And with Miss Martian being reset to be a blank slate again this is not the way you want get her over since we all know that as soon as her secret mission is revealed it’ll split the team.
Further damaging the story in Titans #24 was the fact that Prince Travesty or the Urkesh were never presented as big time threats. The Titans were able to so easily take down all the threats of the Unearth that Prince Travesty sticking around just comes off looking like a minor annoyance. Even with Raven being trapped on Unearth, the threat that Prince Travesty poses is not elevated. Sure we may be worried about Raven’s safety but when it comes to all the Unearth threats they are all small fry with how easily they got.
Abnett also makes an odd decision to make the Titans not agree with Miss Martian’s peaceful option to take Ernest powers away. After how Beast Boy was able to calm things down in the last issue you would expect the Titans to be in agreement with the option that Miss Martian presents. The fact that it was the team was split hurt the pacing of Titans #24 to come to a stop. That stop in the momentum made it harder for Abnett to regain it, which does not happen until we see Unearth’s appearance.
Overall: Titans #24 is a solid continuation of what Dan Abnett is doing to follow-up on the Source Wall’s energy creating a chaotic situation on Earth. The strength of this issue was how effectively the Titans were able to fight together. Unfortunately problems with the presentation of the story’s villains and Abnett revisiting the eye-rolling team traitor sub-plot kept Titans #24 from reaching its full potential.