Writer – Dan Abnett
Art – Sergio Dávila and Vicente Cifuentes, Brent Peepels and Matt Santorelli, Brian Ching, Nicola Scott, Max Raynor and Matt Santorelli, Ben Oliver
Titans Special #1 is worthy of its moniker. Featuring a creative team of eighteen artists, the issue is truly “special.” Storylines from Dark Nights: Metal, Titans, and Teen Titans converge in compelling ways that moved the overarching story forward while remaining faithful to its components.
As the issue commences, the Source Wall has collapsed. The earth is being flooded with celestial energy. Our world and its inhabitants are changing. In response, the Justice League agrees to allow Nightwing to assemble a team to address the growing threat. To fully appreciate the integration, readers would need to have kept up with at least three titles and likely more. However, the issue doesn’t carry a hint of pretentiousness and invites new readers and familiar alike to engage the narrative.
Writer Dan Abnett has weaved together multiple source materials into one compelling drama. Despite the grandness of the integration, the dialogue is sharp and witty and engaging. Well placed jokes about re-branding are particularly humorous and timely. The well-paced story supplies long-awaited payoff across numerous storylines – a welcome surprise for this reviewer!
Titans Special #1 showcases Nightwing as a capable leader. There is something endearing about the humanity of Richard Grayson. The original sidekick holds an indelible place in my heart and I find stories involving Nightwing compelling. However, it is striking Nightwing still fights for official recognition as a member of the Justice League. The issue follows Grayson as he recruits comrades to the cause. The character’s handling of each individual is a primer for effective communication and motivation.
Visually, Titans Special #1 is appealing throughout. However, transitions between artists are more stark than blended. The colors and inks change with each recruit which eases the transition a bit. While this makes sense, the unique styles tended to be more distracting as my eye adjusted to the differences. Still, each is executed with high degrees of skill and technique. It truly is a beautiful issue.
To offer mild critique, one panel depicted a Grayson flashback to his past as Robin. Unfortunately, this was a missed opportunity to draw Grayson in his old-school costume and connect with his storied history. Instead, the flashback costume was reminiscent of Robin III (Tim Drake) or perhaps Damian. While not a big deal, the old costume may have added even more depth to an already rich and poignant moment.
I thoroughly enjoyed Titans Special #1. The brilliant convergence of multiple stories across titles stood out. The art was a bit disjointed but visually appealing nonetheless. Understanding an issue of this breadth and depth calls for multiple artists, the transitions between artists were jarring. Still, the issue stands as an example of how to bring multiple storylines together in ways that not only take the story in a new direction while simultaneously enhancing the backstory issues. Titans Special #1 even left room for a few surprises! I think readers will be delighted by this issue.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment.