Titans #4 Review


Following the events of Titans Hunt and DC Rebirth we have seen a revitalization of the Teen Titans franchises. That was kicked off by Dan Abnett’s work on Titans Hunt and has continued into this new incarnation of the original Teen Titans coming back together. Titans has also been one of the few comic books that deals with the direct fallout of DC Rebirth as we learn more about the original Wally West’s disappearance. Thus far we have learned that Abra Kadabra was responsible for Wally’s disappearance and has returned to cause even more chaos for our returning hero and the Titans lives. Will Abra Kadabra continue his reign of chaos? Let’s find out with Titans #4.

Writer: Dan Abnett

Artist: Brett Booth

Inker: Norm Rapmund

Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse

Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Flash (Wally West) is left in shock after Abra Kadabra used his techno magic to cause Linda Park to disappear right in front of his eyes. Kadabra mocks Flash for being too slow to save Linda. Flash goes after Kadabra but he can’t catch him as Kadabra uses his techno magic to evade him. Kadabra continues mocking Flash for his failure and after a short while he disappears from the scene.

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Click for full-page view

Flash is at a complete loss and begins to think how he should’ve never returned in the first place.

At Keystone Theater District, Kadabra appears in an abandoned building he is using as a hideout. While there he is greeted by his clone Teen Titans. Linda, who is tide up and hung upside down by the copy Teen Titans, yells at Kadabra and demands to know what is going on.  While using his magic to change her clothes Kadabra apologizes for his copy Titans treatment of her. As he finally introduces himself Linda calls him a mania and continues to ask what he wants with her.

Kadabra points his wand at Linda to quiet her down. He then goes on to explain how he is just using her as a tool for him to pull off the trick that will make the most famous man in history. The copy Titans applaud Kadabra’s after his statement.

Linda tries to dig in further what Kadabra wants with her exactly. Kadabra explains that he is going to use her to take his revenge on Wally West and the Titans.

Kadabra asks the copy Lilith about the real Titans whereabouts. Copy Lilith says they are all still in Keystone City still completely confused.

In downtown Keystone City, Nightwing calms Flash and Lilith down and reassures both of them that it is not their fault for what happened. This lifts the spirit of the entire team and they begin to regroup.

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Click for full-page view

Lilith uses her powers to try to track down Kadabra but can’t lock in on his position. Instead she is finding traces of him in three locations.

Nightwing suggest that they split up into groups of two and hit each location that Lilith found. Tempest and Arsenal aren’t so sure since splitting up got them in trouble last time. Donna speaks up to say that they are all friends and they always find their way back to each other.

Nightwing tells Lilith to implant the locations in the team’s minds. Once she does this the Titans split up to hit each location.

At Keystone Theater the copy Lilith informs Kadabra that the Titans are on the move. Kadabra assures his copy Titans that it is nothing to worry about since they are stronger than their original counterparts. He then uses his magic to send them to the locations the Titans are going to.

Linda calls Kadabra insane. Kadabra corrects her by saying he is actually from the future, which confuses Linda. Kadabra goes on to explain that he is from a future where Wally permanently stopped him. He then mentions that he used that information to use his magic to change the future and stop Wally from defeating him.

Over at Wilson High School, Flash and Arsenal arrive at the first location. Arsenal uses one of his arrows to light up the room and finds the copy Robin and Kid Flash waiting for them. They all charge at each other with Flash demanding to know where Linda is.

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Click for full-page view

Back at the theater Linda still wonders why Kadabra kidnapped her. Kadabra says that he kidnapped her because she is important to Wally. Linda mentions that she doesn’t even know who Wally is. Kadabra explains that Wally was previously lost in the time-stream and witnessed a reality where he and Linda were together. Linda thinks that means Wally’s memories of her are fake. Kadabra says that to her they are fake memories but for Wally they are all his reality. He then says it’s those memories that he is looking to exploit and make Wally even more vulnerable.

At Keystone City Gallery of Art, Lilith and Tempest are attacked by the copy Wonder Girl and Speedy. Speedy is able to knock out Tempest for a bit which gives Wonder Girl an opening to attack Lilith.

At Keymart, Donna and Nightwing are fighting the copy Lilith and Aqualad. Nightwing tries to communicate with the rest of the team but can’t get a hold of them. Though Lilith is able to temporarily gain the upper hand on Donna by attacking her mentally Donna is able to power through and knock her through some displays. With copy Lilith down Donna goes to help Nightwing fight the copy Aqualad.

Over at the high school both Flash and Arsenal are having a hard time keeping up with the copy Kid Flash and Robin, respectively. Flash has enough of being given the run around and decides to tap in further into the Speed Force.

As he does this Kadabra continues to explain his plan to Linda. Kadabra reveals that he is looking to push Wally so far that he will accelerate so much that he will lose himself in the Speed Force like all Flashes do when they go too fast. Kadabra goes on to say that Wally did escape this fate already but it was because of his lightning rod. Linda thinks Kadabra means that she is Wally’s lightning rod. Kadabra agrees but says now things are different since this version of Linda doesn’t love Wally and can’t be his lightning rod anymore.

As Flash continues to tap further into the Speed Force, Kadabra appears at the high school. Kadabra uses his magic to show Flash that all of his friends are in danger of being killed by the copy Titans. He also shows Flash that he has Linda hanging over a pool of lava. To make things even more interesting Kadabra says he has used his powers to send Nightwing and Donna to Coast City, Tempest and Lilith to Metropolis and Linda in Gotham City.

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Click for full-page view

Kadabra mocks Flash by saying that even for all his speed Flash can’t save all of them. He then gives Flash the option to choose who lives and who dies.

Flash tells Kadabra he is going to save them all. As Flash runs off with the Speed Force further amplifying his speed Kadabra says he wants to see him try to save all of them. End of issue.

The Good: The return of the Teen Titans franchise has been one of the biggest accomplishments within DC Rebirth. Even before New 52 the Titans brand had fallen on incredibly hard times from where it was during Geoff Johns-era. But now with Dan Abnett reuniting the original Teen Titans, now known just as Titans, we have seen the franchise return to its previous form. Titans #4 continues that trend as Abnett is able to further develop the story around Wally West’s return and what that means to the DC Universe.

I won’t ever call myself the biggest fan of the Flash. Sure I’ve been a Wally West fan since reading Marv Wolfman’s Teen Titans and watch the current Flash show but I do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of the character. That said, I have grown to appreciate how Abnett has been able to bring in the Flash’s world into his work by using Abra Kadabra as the first villain that the Titans go up against.

Titans #4 firmly establishes Kadabra as an incredibly dangerous foe that has a personal grudge against Wally. Not knowing much about Kadabra before this arc started its impressive to see how Abnett has been able to do this. Because in the previous four issues, counting the Titans Rebirth issue, we have already seen how powerful Kadabra’s techno-magic is as with what he did to Wally and his overpowered Teen Titans doppelgangers. These feats alone gives us an example of Kadabra’s power and made the 3 different fights even more interesting as you’re left wondering how the Titans can even overcome this threat.

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Kadabra’s magic being so effective against the Titans reminds readers that the team is still trying to get relearns how to work together. As we saw in Titans #4, the team being completely dominated by Kadabra and their clones made them question themselves. The addition of Wally not being able to protect Linda made this doubt even greater.

This all made for a great short scene of Nightwing firmly establishing his leadership of the team. Abnett highlighted how Nightwing’s connecting with people on emotional helped him calm the team down and get them back to focusing on stopping Kadabra. It’s a leadership quality that has made him one of DC’s best team leaders and Abnett clearly understands this.

Abnett was also able to establish Donna’s role as the second-in-command with how she backed up everything Nightwing said with her own inspiring words. Having Donna speak on how the team will always find each other no matter what reaffirms how much of a family that the Titans are. It also provides a nice contrast to Kadabra’s entire plot of destroying Wally West and his history with the team.

Speaking of Wally, Abnett continues to do an excellent job further developing the mystery of the character’s disappearance. With Titans #4 we learned that part of the reason Wally disappeared for 10 years was because he tapped into too much of the Speed Force’s power. This was a nice call back to Barry Allen’s sacrifice in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Learning Kadabra’s true plans added weight to Wally tapping in further into the Speed Force and creates a sense of mystery if he will have to sacrifice himself again to save everyone.

Brett Booth did well in elevating the tension of how the Titans can even hope to stop Abra Kadabra. With how much little remorse Kadabra spoke with the over exaggerated expressions Booth gave the character furthered how wicked he is. Booth also does a wonderful job with giving the entire issue a sense of motions. This is highlighted by how Booth drew Flash and copy Kid Flash throughout the story. His artwork makes me happy that Titans is a monthly book as it allows Booth to put his own artistic stamp on the series without having to break the momentum of the entire story.

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Click for full-page view

The Bad: The one flaw I found with Titans #4 is the lack of action in the second half of the issue. With how Abnett split up the Titans into three groups I would’ve liked to have seen more of the match-up with the doppelgangers. Seeing how little of the action we got to see from the three different fights made how much screen time Kadabra got to reveal his plan to Linda feel repetitive. It would made the issue flow better if we didn’t get so many cutbacks to Kadabra and made his appearance at the end even more impactful.

Overall: Titans #4 was another solid entry in what is quietly one of DC’s most enjoyable comic books. Dan Abnett has done an excellent job with following up on Wally West’s return to the DC Universe and bringing back a classic Flash villain in the process. In the process Abnett has been able to reestablish the family dynamic that has always made the Titans such a unique superhero team within the DC Universe. The addition of Brett Booth’s energetic artwork makes Titans #4 a must have for Teen Titans and Flash fans.

2 thoughts on “Titans #4 Review

  1. I want to like this book, but some of the dialogue is… “Even apart we’re together. We’re friends.” hokey. Also, whilst I realise the return of Wally means he should get the lion’s share of the focus, I kinda wish they did a little more with the others.

    1. I understand that. It’s a problem with a lot of DC’s current team books and Titans is no different. Though it’s understandable that Dan Abnett would focus on Wally for this initial arc since he was the one cast member not in Titans Hunt and this is the only book that follows up on his return after the DC Rebirth issue. Hopefully the next arc finds a good balance for everyone on the team.

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