The New Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman and George Perez were some of the first comic books that I read. Because of that and the quality of those comics I’ve been hooked on whatever comes out of this franchise. Unfortunately the New 52 has not been kind to the Teen Titans with a book that has been less than a quality read, to put it nicely, since this new DC Universe began. But fortunately for Teen Titans fans Dan Abnett has brought the original Teen Titans, or a version of them at least, back into the fold of the New 52 DCU timeline with Titans Hunt. The first issue of Titans Hunt did a good job setting up the mysterious unknown history shared by Dick Grayson, Donna Troy, Garth, Roy Harper, Lilith and Gnaark. Now it’s time to learn more about this mysterious bond between these characters and what is next for them with Titans Hunt #2.
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Stephen Segovia
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Roy Harper is riding down a highway leading him out of Oklahoma. As he drives he takes a few drinks and as he does a shadowy figure jumps on top of the hood of his car. Roy begins to swerve on the road and soon stops his car to confront the figure with his bow. As he gets out of his car the figure disappears and in its place are two highway patrol cops ordering Roy to stand down.
In the Batcave Alfred finds Dick Grayson searching the database for someone. Alfred wonders why Dick is using the Batcave computers instead of Spyral’s resources. Dick says Spyral can’t help him with what he is looking for since if he does use Spyral’s resources they’ll know what he is doing. Dick asks Alfred what he knows of Atlanteans and Alfred says only what is in legend. Alfred wonders what is in the box Dick brought and he reveals it is the lung of an Atlantean.
Elsewhere Gnaark’s boss knocks on his door to wake him and sweep up the store floor. Gnaark gets some alcohol, a hat and chalk from the store and proceeds back into his room. In his room Gnaark has cave paintings of the Batsymbol, hawks, archers, lasso and a storm. As Gnaark puts some chalk over his eyes his boss yells at him to get to work. Gnaark’s boss yells at him some more but Gnaark shoves his boss out of the way and says he has to go hunting.
Back in the Batcave Dick tells Alfred about his recent mission and how he had a dream where a woman named Lilith told him that he has to find Garth and then her. Alfred wonders why Dick hesitated to call it a dream. Dick says because he was awake. He then says that there was a sense of familiarity with Garth and Lilith’s voice.
Alfred begins working on the algorithms Dick was working on and through working together Dick is able to figure something out. Alfred wonders if Dick is in trouble and Dick responds with when is he not.
On a highway some cops begin to arrest Roy for drinking and driving. Roy isn’t having it and quickly knocks the two cops down while taking their guns in the process. Roy tells the two cops he has to see someone. Roy suddenly hears a voice calling him a bad man for hurting the police. Roy tells the voice to be quiet. With Roy distracted one of the cops is able use his stun gun on Roy.
Elsewhere, Mal Duncan is conducting an interview with the interviewer praising all of his work. The interviewer soon gets Mal to talk about his wife Karen wherein Mal reveals she is pregnant. The interview is cut short when Karen yells Mal’s name.
Mal goes to the other room and to ask Karen what is wrong. Karen shows Mal a picture from one of the award ceremony’s they attended with a mysterious shadow standing behind Mal.
Somewhere on a beach Dick arrives and throws the box with the Atlantean lung into the ocean. Dick doesn’t have to wait long for Garth to appear. Dick tries to talk to Garth but Garth isn’t having any of it after Dick threw the lung into the ocean.
The two begin to fight with Dick holding his own at the beginning. But after dodging most of his attacks Dick is caught and overpowered by Garth. As he is chocking the life out of Dick, Garth says he does not listen to land dwellers. Donna Troy suddenly appears and says “Oh but you will.” End of issue.
The Good: Titans Hunt #2 doesn’t go too far to advance the plot set-up in the first issue. Even as the issue ends it still does not feel we have left the set-up phase of this mini-series. While this slow pace does no favors in getting behind the story there were still a few things to enjoy in this issue.
For one Dan Abnett continued to show off his clear understanding of the characters he is using for Titans Hunt. There is a clear and distinct voice given to each character as Abnett shows us Dick, Roy, Gnaark, Mal and Garth are at this point in their careers. Each character also brings something different to the table and we see how each character could use each other to help each other personally.
Abnett does an especially good job highlighting Dick’s detective and improvising abilities with how he went about looking for Garth. The use of Alfred in this issue also help to further highlight the fact that Dick is the Batman of the group, as he has no powers and is the most normal. And like Batman, even though Dick doesn’t have powers he is still able to hold his own against people like Garth. Abnett played the fight smart as he showed us just enough of Dick holding Garth off without Garth seeming like a chump.
In comparison, Abnett is able show us that not everything is bright and shiny for our Titans’ heroes with his depiction of Roy Harper. The decision of having Roy start this series off as already being in a problematic point in his life is smart. This is a Roy that most readers relate in their head when they think of the character. It also opens the door for Roy to have his own arc within whatever turns out to be Abnett’s main story.
The Bad: One of the problems with Titans Hunt #2 is the fact that it never leaves the set-up portion of the story. While I understand that we still have 8 more issues in this story there still should’ve been some progression to the story. Outside of the ending with Donna confronting Dick and Garth there wasn’t anything new to the story that we didn’t get in the first issue.
This lack of plot development is not helped by the fact that there are some scenes that we just did not need. The one specific scene we did not need in this issue is Gnaark’s. He is one of the least interesting Titans’ characters and his scenes showed why. There was just no dimension to the character during this scene as we saw no emotion outside of his stoic look. Even though Abnett tried to give him some importance with his cave drawings it didn’t do anything to give us an idea of who he is or how it matters to the story.
Instead of this Gnaark scene I would have preferred it if we saw more of Lilith’s character. She is one of the characters that Abnett got me to be intrigued by since she seems to be the only one that remembers the Titans history. Without Lilith presence in this issue it felt more like Abnett was keeping something from us that would’ve helped progress the story.
Similarly, I wasn’t a fan of having Donna appear out of nowhere at the end of issue. Out of all the characters we saw in the first issue we saw the least of Donna. There hasn’t been any sort of connection drawn between Donna and the group. And unlike Dick, Garth and Roy, Donna wasn’t given much screen time in the last issue. So because of that we still don’t know much about her to actually feel as though her sudden appearance is a big moment.
Stephen Segovia artwork isn’t helping the story much. While Segovia’s art starts off well enough as the issue progresses the artwork gets worse. There is clear lack of quality as it looks as though Segovia spent all his time in the opening few pages that he rushed the rest of issue in order to hit his deadlines. That’s something that hurts the story as the lack of quality throughout the issue takes you out of the story.s
Overall: Titans Hunt #2 is far too happy with not stepping out to far from where the first issue left off. Even the small character beats are not too different from what we saw before and that is a big problem if we are to believe that this story is worth following for 10 full issues. As of now the only thing that will keep me around for one or two more issues of Titans Hunt is my love for the franchise and these characters. Hopefully that love won’t be the only driving force behind buying Titans Hunt and Abnett can get the story moving forward in a positive direction.