Dan Abnett and Brett Booth have used this first arc in the Titans series to remind readers why they love Wally West as the Flash. On that part they have succeed wonderfully. Unfortunately while Wally has seen some quality character development the rest of his Titans teammates have taken a backseat. The lack of development for the other Titans has hurt the pacing of the conflict with Abra Kadabra. With Titans #6 being the final part in this first arc hopefully Abnett and Booth can bring the others back into the fold to help out Wally. Let’s find out with Titans #6.
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Brett Booth
Inkers: Norm Rapmund and Marc Deering
Colorists: Andrew Dalhouse and Carrie Strachan
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Wally West enters the Speed Force happily sacrificing himself to save his teammates, the Titans, and the woman he loved, Linda Park.
Back in the real world Abra Kadabra laughs at a stunned Linda. Linda tells Kadabra to bring Flash back. Kadabra mocks Linda because he can’t bring Flash back since Flash believed her to be his lightning rod based on a life she doesn’t remember. Linda punches Kadabra and continues to tell him to bring Flash back.
Kadabra uses his powers to bring the Titans to his location so they can tell Linda about the Speed Force being a one way trip.
Linda tells the Titans that Flash disappeared. The Titans attack Kadabra out of anger, though he turns their attacks into more magic tricks. Kadabra mocks the Titans about having seen the future and that Flash was the only one that could’ve stopped him.
Somewhere in the Speed Force, Wally West sits in the backyard with Linda Park-West. Wally expresses his happiness about being back to the reality he knows with Linda. Linda reminds Wally that the place they are in is just a memory of what could have and might be.
Wally and Linda express their love for one another as they hug. Linda becomes a buzzkill by reminding Wally that the real world Linda does not love him yet.
Wally picks up on Linda saying “yet.” Linda reminds Wally that at the beginning she didn’t like him either but grew to fall in love with him over time.
Wally says he doesn’t have that time but Linda says he does. Wally then states that even if he wanted to he can’t return to the real world. Linda tells Wally that he can, all he has to do is let go of his illusionary memories and appreciate what he has in the real world.
Back in the real world the Titans continue to struggle in their fight against Kadabra. Lilith uses her powers to look inside Kadabra’s mind. She states that Kadabra is an open playbook as the future he remembers is a cold, joyless one after he removed the one person that could stop him.
Kadabra launches an attack at Lilith, who is saved by Tempest. Lilith tells her teammates that Kadabra is scared of them as the memories of the future he sees aren’t set in stone.
Back in the Speed Force, Linda tries to remind Wally of the unbreakable lightning rod he has back in the real world. Wally says he already knows that it’s his friends.
Linda tells Wally that he needs to accept it and say it louder. She goes on to say that in all the alternative memories that he has that he needs to focus on the real ones he has of the time he has spent with his friends.
Wally begins remembering all of the adventures he had with the Titans from the time he was first Kid Flash. He suddenly has his Flash costume on.
Wally hugs Linda one last time and says he loves her. They say their goodbyes and Linda tells Wally to “Run.”
Back in the real world Flash appears out of the Speed Force and punches Kadabra in the face.
Kadabra can’t believe that Flash is back. Flash tells Kadabra his love for his friends brought him back. Flash then throws Kadabra into the Speed Force, while telling him that love will never be something he understands.
The Titans all happily welcome Flash back with a big group hug.
Flash then goes to check on how Linda is doing. She tells Flash that she is fine and that he is something special. Flash responds by saying she should wait to get to know him. Linda says she looks forward to that. She then yells at Flash saying that this has all been insane and that she expects an exclusive story out of it. Linda takes off to head home on her own.
Flash tells Nightwing and Arsenal that this has been a bumpy ride. Arsenal talks about how he can’t make sense of what Kadabra wanted. Donna says that Kadabra was just insane. Lilith confirms that and says all she got out of Kadabra was the word “Manhattan.”
Elsewhere Deathstroke watches everything going on with the Titans and the Teen Titans from his computer screen. He enhances on the image of Flash and wonders who he is. End of issue.
The Good: When it comes to team titles there will always be one or two characters that get the main spotlight while their teammates play more of a supporting role. The key to making sure that the main characters of a story don’t overshadow their teammates is to give them just as much screen time as possible. That is something “The Return of Wally West” did not do well with in previous issues. Luckily Dan Abnett is able to change that with Titans #6 by giving the other Titans time to shine in the battle with Abra Kadabra.
Even though Wally West just came back Abnett impressively made his disappearance feel like an impactful event for the Titans and Linda Park. Having each member of the Titans fight Kadabra with an extra sense of anger made the battle much more impactful. This especially played well with how overconfident Kadabra was in his abilities as you wanted to see each member of the Titans get to at least punch him in the face, like Linda did at the beginning.
That is where “The Return of Wally West” was the most successful as Abnett was able to elevate Kadabra during the course of this arc. Kadabra is no longer a villain that we should be thinking about as a regular villain for a bigger story. Instead we see how this villain using future tech can headline major stories on his own as a true threat. At the same time, as overpowered as Kadabra was it was great to see his greatest downfall was his own overconfidence. It is a classic villain weakness that Abnett uses to full effect.
Similarly, it’s been enjoyable to see the slow burn approach of building Lilith Clay as a powerful member of the Titans. Lilith is by far the least known character that outside of the Titans comic books has never had spotlight drawn on her. Even her time on the Titans has been minimal. So to have Lilith play an important role in taking down Kadabra was a good way to set the tone for her power level. The psychic mind game she put herself in with Kadabra also gave us a good idea of how strong her will is even after what she was put through during this arc.
Wally West’s development in Titans #6 was also much better executed than it was in the previous issue. As I mentioned earlier, having the balance between Wally’s time in the Speed Force and the Titans battle with Kadabra made both parts of the story more important. The Speed Force version of Linda was a great plot device to push Wally to live in the present rather than in his head, as he has been doing since his return. Now that Wally has been able to take the steps to move forward Abnett and other writers have the opportunity to explore who he is in different ways than we have seen in the past.
The Speed Force Linda’s speech was also a nice bit of fourth wall breaking as Abnett was also telling us as readers to move forward. And that is really the foundation of what DC Rebirth has been about that DC’s current crop of writers has done a great job having us accept. And using this interaction between Wally and Linda felt like that final thing needed for the characters to fully move forward and go through new experiences with their lives.
And speaking of what is old, is new again, it was fantastic to see Deathstroke finally make his way back to the Titans books. As cool as it has been to see Deathstroke’s reach across the DC Universe he will always be a Titans villain first and foremost. The single page of Deathstroke watching the Titans battle Kadabra was all Abnett needed to do to remind us of this. There was a sense of an even bigger event for the Titans moving forward that could be the biggest crisis they’ve dealt with together.
Brett Booth continued to provide some great artwork throughout Titans #6. Booth has a great sense of how to frame each panel and page so that the characters feel like they are moving rather than posing. His Kadabra has a great wicked design that reminds of how you picture villain magicians to look like. And as he done anytime he draws Flash, the way he draws the Speed Force in action is like no other artist. Wally looked so powerful with the lightning surrounding him as he punched Kadabra.
The Bad: The one thing that we could’ve seen a little more of in this issue is the copy Teen Titans. Though Flash took them out it would have been a good show of power by Kadabra if he revived his team of copies. It would’ve continued to add to the drama of the Titans taken out by their doppelgangers. The visual of the copy Teen Titans turning back into their puppet versions after Flash took out Kadabra would’ve been much more effective than how their puppets just appeared at the end.
Overall: Titans #6 was a strong ending to “The Return of Wally West” arc. Dan Abnett successfully brought Wally back in a prominent way and pushed the character to accept his new life with the Titans. This story also helped to elevate Kadabra as a credible threat and Lilith as a powerful member of the team. With the appearance of Deathstroke at the end there is plenty for old and new Titans fans to be excited from this series.