The Titans series has one of the deepest connections to the events of DC Rebirth currently on the stands. That is not a surprise with the series prominently featuring the original Wally West on the team. To his credit Dan Abnett has done a very good job expanding on what happened to Wally and connecting Abra Kadabra to what has transpired during that period. Now with Kadabra placing Wally in a no-win situation as he has to choose which of his friends he has to save, including the love of his life Linda Park. Will Wally West be able to save everyone and stop Abra Kadabra? Let’s find out with Titans #5.
Writer: Dan Adnett
Artist: Brett Booth
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Abra Kadabra mocks Flash (Wally West) about his inability to save all of his Titans teammates and Linda Park at the same time. Flash ignores Kadabra’s taunting and instead focuses on tapping into the Speed Force as much as he can.
Flash begins to run, grabbing the copy Robin away from Arsenal in the process. Flash continues to run with copy Robin out of Keystone City. Just as he reaches the city Flash smashes the copy Robin into the “Now Leaving Keystone City” sign.
Flash continues to run to the next closest location which is Coast City where Nightwing and Donna Troy are being tortured by the copy Lilith.
As he does this the copy Speedy fires several arrows at the rope holding Linda over lava.
Flash keeps his focus on further tapping into the Speed Force. As he does this Kadabra continues to taunt Flash. He decides to broadcast Flash’s attempt to save his friends to the entire world, believing that he will fail.
After doing so Kadabra reveals to Flash that in their last clash he decided to cast Wally, then still Kid Flash, into the time-stream as part of his greatest trick of all. Unfortunately in getting rid of Wally he also became nothing as he lost all his powers. Thanks to Wally’s return he was able to return to his former glory and came up with the plan to force Wally to disappear through the Speed Force.
Flash stays focused and he reaches Coast City where he quickly knocks the copy Lilith and copy Aqualad out. Nightwing and Donna are left stunned at the speed they just saw Flash run with.
With only three seconds left and Linda’s rope strands giving way Flash continues to speed up. As he is speeding up Flash thinks back to the time he spent with his friends and Linda, even if she doesn’t remember him. With these thoughts in his mind Flash pushes through as he runs even faster.
Flash soon reaches Lilith and Tempest location and quickly catches the copy Speedy’s arrows. He knocks out the copy Speedy and copy Wonder Girl out and continues running.
With his friends safe Flash speeds up to save Linda. He is able to catch Linda just before she falls into the lava.
After putting her down Linda seemingly remembers Wally. She looks up and is shocked to see that Flash is becoming one with the Speed Force. Flash request Linda to take his hand. Just as she reaches out Flash is absorbed by the Speed Force.
Kadabra suddenly appears to find Linda devastated. Kadabra laughs and says “At long last, Wally West….Your time is up.” End of issue.
The Good: DC Rebirth has given us a lot of top quality titles to enjoy, with Dan Abnett’s Titans being one of them. But while comics like Titans #5 continue to be fun to read it has a lot of stiff competition that just being good doesn’t help it standout. The main story of Wally West taking his powers to the limits is an engaging visual but it does fail to completely carry the issue on his speedy shoulders for one very big reason.
Dan Abnett has a unique challenge when it comes to writing Wally West in Titans. Not only does the character carry the same name as the current Kid Flash, Wallace West, but is also carrying on the same identity his mentor, Barry Allen. Even though these characters are physically different they do have the same power set and are being pushed in an important roles by DC Comics in differ comic books.
To Abnett’s credit his version of Wally not only keeps to the spirit of what makes the character such a fan favorite but also unique enough to make him standout. A key difference between Wally and his speedster family members is how important his personal and professional relationships are. With the knowledge what his previous life was like, Abnett has nicely chosen this to highlight about Wally. Seeing how desperate he was to access more of the Speed Force with each one of his teammates that he saved was firmly built on everything that has happened in previous issues of Titans.
Titans #5 was also a good reminder that Wally still remembers his past. With each moment that passed we could see how all of his experience from his previous life makes him possibly the strongest speedster in the DCU. Seeing how Nightwing, Donna Troy, Arsenal, Tempest and Lilith reacted when Wally saved them added to display of speed that dominated the issue.
With Titans #5 dominated by Wally tapping into the full power of the Speed Force there was plenty of material for Brett Booth to flex his artistic muscle. Booth did an excellent job giving the entire issue a sense of motion. As I turned each page I felt as though Wally was only tapping in further to the Speed Force as he got faster. The way he took each of the fake Teen Titans was also well done as each scene was different from the last.
The Bad: As much as I’ve enjoyed how Abnett has been able to develop Abra Kadabra to become a strong villain the overall plot has been drawn out far too much. Part of the reason for this is because Kadabra’s dialogue has become repetitive. Anytime we see Abnett bring Kadabra into the issue it’s to say the same thing he has been saying since Titans began. It’s to the point that I would’ve rather had Kadabra’s screen time completely cut out for more time with the other members of the Titans.
Speaking of the Titans, it would’ve added more weight to what Wally was doing to save his teammates if we got more of a reaction from the other Titans. With this story being dominated by what Wally is going through since his return it would’ve been nice to see how the Titans reacted to knowing that he was pushing himself too far.
It’s especially disappointing when it comes to Lilith since she is someone that Abnett establish had a close relationship with Wally and blamed herself for what happened. With her psychic powers Abnett could’ve had her be the one to find out what Wally was doing. This in turn would’ve given her the ability to relay what was going on to the team and added an additional punch to Wally disappearing at the end of the issue.
While Wally disappearing after going too far in accessing the Speed Force was a nice dramatic note to end Titans #5 on it wasn’t the most impactful. With Wally just recently returning there is no weight to him suddenly disappearing. Because he is either gone the way of Tim Drake or is going to be “miraculously” brought back by Linda and the Titans. Either way, seeing Abnett tease Wally disappearing again is too early in the series existence to mean much. This is one of those moments that would’ve meant more if it happened in Titans #20 or farther into the series than its fifth issue.
Overall: Titans #5 lacked the impact that Dan Abnett was hoping to deliver with Wally West’s actions. The ending of this issue would’ve meant more if we were further into Titans as a series. Abra Kadabra’s appearance in this issue didn’t help any as he has become more of a one-note villain each time he appears on screen. On the plus side, Brett Booth delivered a great looking issue with how he drew Wally running faster and faster with each passing page. Hopefully this story arc is able to end on a high note in the next issue.
3 thoughts on “Titans #5 Review”
Your thoughts pretty much mine although I will add another problem I have with Abra Kadabra aside from his dialogue. Abra Kadabra (and it’s even said in one of the issues) uses future technology to emulate magic, rather than magic itself. It wouldn’t do the issues any harm to explain how he does some of the stuff he does.
That’s a good point. Makes me wonder if Abra Kadabra will be around for the long-term.
Given that he clearly knows something about Doctor Manhatten’s manipulations, it’s likely he’ll make another appearance sooner or later.
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