The Titans Academy series just did not click with me and I quickly dropped it after three issues. Still there is hole in my pull list without some form of Teen Titans or Young Justice series to read. So because of that I cannot resist at least trying out the first issue of the new Titans United series. This series will feature a roster with characters from the current HBOMax Titans show that includes Nightwing, Donna Troy, Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, Superboy, Red Hood, Hawk, and Dove. While inspired by the HBOMax roster based the cover it looks as though Titans United will be existing in its own separate universe. Let’s see what the series is all about with Titans United #1.
Writer: Cavan Scott
Artist: Jose Luis
Inker: Jonas Trindade
Colorist: Rex Lucas
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: While walking down the street and talking to his daughter a guy suddenly fires an uncontrollable energy blast from his eyes after a kid mentions Superman on a TV.
The guy ends up destroying a building. Just as the debris from the destroyed building was about to fall on people Superboy (Conner Kent) saves everyone. The rest of the Titans (Nightwing, Donna Troy, Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, and Beast Boy) also show up. Nightwing orders Superboy, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Red Hood to check on for anyone in need of help from the destroyed buildings.
Nightwing and Donna Troy work to calm the guy firing energy blasts from his eyes down. They are able to talk him down long enough for Raven to fully calm him down using her Empathy powers. The guy freaks out at what Raven is doing and suddenly transforms into a gorilla with a similar green color as Beast Boy. The guy then knocks Raven to the side.
Beast Boy transforms into a lion in an attempt to pin the guy down. The guy suddenly fires another energy blast from his hands that is similar to Starfire’s attack. This leaves Beast Boy severely injured. Raven works quickly to try to heal Beast Boy’s injuries.
Nearby Superboy continues to save people from the destroyed buildings. His powers suddenly fail as he tries to save someone that is about to fall. Red Hood catches him while a recovered Beast Boy saves the two people Superboy was attempting to rescue.
Nearby Nightwing is being tossed around by the guy, who has now transformed into a rhino. Donna Troy uses her Lasso of Persuasion to keep the guy held down long enough for Raven to use her Empathy powers to attempt to put the guy to sleep.
The guy suddenly starts releasing an uncontrollable amount of energy from his body. Starfire realizes that the guy is absorbing solar energy and is about to go supernova. Nightwing tells the rest of the Titans to evacuate the area.
Starfire tries to absorb the excess solar energy the guy is releasing but it is too much for her to absorb enough to stop him from exploding. Raven once again tries to use her powers to put the guy to sleep but her hands are severely burned in the attempt.
Seeing no other way Superboy grabs the guy and flies him as high as he can into the air. The guy eventually goes supernova far above the city.
Superboy falls at a fast rate. Donna Troy and Starfire attempt to get to Superboy in order to catch him before he hits the ground. They end up being too late and Superboy lands hard on the ground, creating a crater below him.
Starfire quickly takes Superboy to Titans Tower were a bunch of doctors work to help Superboy heal.
Sometime later, Superboy wakes up to be told that he is back at the Titans Tower and has a broken arm.
Meanwhile, Nightwing has hacked into Batman’s Batcomputer to learn that the guy they fought was Evan Morton, an ex-con who went to jail for burglary. Nightwing also finds that Evan did not have previous records of being a metahuman on file and was average as they come.
Superboy thinks that nobody is average. Jason Todd says that is easy for Superboy to say as Superman’s clone. Jason calls out Superboy for being useless without his powers. Beast Boy tries to break things up but Jason makes another snide comment that makes Superboy punch him. Starfire calms things down before they break down even further.
Hawk suddenly calls the Titans to ask for help as they are somehow being knocked around by Kite Man.
It is then shown that Kite Man has captured Dove using some form of energy power. End of issue.
The Good: Titans United #1 starts the series off on a good note. Cavan Scott and Jose Luis do not worry about introducing the reader to every member of this Titans roster. Instead the team is already fully formed and working together by the time we start Titans United #1. That was by far the best decision that could be made as the focus was on the setting up the overall story of this series.
One of the benefits of the this Titans team already being an active superhero team is the fact Scott can just let the story play out as needed. In the process we are able to learn the personalities Nightwing, Donna Troy, Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, Superboy, and Red Hood as the events of Titans United #1 unfold. Which is an effective way of using such a well-known property with characters that most fans have at least a basic understanding. It also shows a trust in the reader to go with the flow and allow Scott’s writing and Luis artwork to showcase each character at their best.
The effectiveness of the team was what I found most impactful in Titans United #1. It was clear what role each member of the Titans served and how their individual powers and skills compliment one another. Establishing Nightwing as the leader was important to the entire team dynamic as it went without question who was making sure the Titans were maximizing their teamwork. This made it so the Titans worked as efficiently as possible in trying to stop Evan Morton while also making sure the people in he area were safe.
The plot around an average person like Evan Morton worked to establish a quick mystery for the Titans to have to deal with. Adding a Z-list villain like Kite-Man to also suddenly have metahuman abilities added to this mystery. It all made you as the reader wonder what exactly is going on and who is responsible for the sudden appearance of new metahumans. Which is exactly what is needed to hook you in to want to pick up the next issue.
In the middle of all of this Scott does a good job working in the different dynamics within this Titans team. We get how Beast Boy and Raven are in some form of a relationship with how they show concern when one of them gets injured. We also see how Nightwing, Donna Troy, and Starfire are established as the veterans on the team with how focused they are compared to others. Which works well with how Superboy and Red Hood are both written to be the rookies on the team.
Jose Luis delivered solid artwork that worked in all the classic and updated designs for each Titans member. As Titans United #1 was an action heavy issue Luis was able to showcase the various powers each Titans member had. The Amazo-like villain helped with that as it took the Titans working together to hold him down.
The Bad: For as much as the chemistry between the Titans shined Jason Todd’s Red Hood stood out in all the wrong ways. Jason added nothing to the story other than being an asshole to create conflict within the team. The character just came across as if Dick Grayson just brought his asshole little brother along because Bruce was too busy to watch him. There was nothing about the character to like and is a reminder of how Jason’s Punisher-like attitude as Red Hood does not work well in a team environment.
Overall: Titans United #1 was a good start for this mini-series. The chemistry between the Titans was a refreshing change of pace as we get more of a straightforward superhero adventure. If you are looking for a classic Teen Titans adventure this is a comic book worth checking out.
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