REVIEW: ‘Titans United,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Titans United #1

Titans United #1 is published by DC Comics, written by Cavan Scott, pencils by Jose Luis, inks by Jonas Trindade, colors by Rex Lokus, and letters by Carlos M. Mangua. It is just another day in beautiful downtown San Fransisco. That is until a street corner erupts into chaos when someone who seemed like just another ordinary person suddenly exhibits powers he can’t seem to control.

One of the things that will hook me faster than anything else in a story is great character writing. It’s why writers like Kelly Thompson and Skottie Young are among my favorites today. They breathe a level of personality and character into their works that make them utterly irresistible for me. However, character isn’t an aspect of writing where the more is always better. And while Titans United #1 delivers a massive amount of character from its titular team, one of them seriously needs to dial it down a bit.

As the opening scene of chaos erupts, the Titans are fortunately nearby and quickly insert themselves into the situation. Under the level-headed leadership of Nightwing, orders are quickly given, and it seems like the scene will be locked down momentarily. That is until Conner Kent’s power abruptly gives out on him, causing the Titans to have to split their attention between securing the scene and saving their failing comrade. It is here that Titans United #1‘s biggest failure rears its ugly head. Though it is far from the last.

This failure is delivered in the form of once dead Robin, Jason Todd. I have little experience with the character myself, outside of his original ending. Still, if he has always been portrayed this small, petty, and obnoxious, I can better understand why that legendary vote called for his demise. While every team needs a personality willing to speak their mind and say the thing the others don’t want to, even at the risk of causing friction, Todd goes way beyond that here. Rather than simply being cold or hard, Todd feels like a petty little bully, kicking down on his supposed teammates every chance he gets. By the end of the issue, his personality was so tired my eyes were rolling the moment I saw he had lines in a panel. I can’t fathom why a team would be willing to put up with so toxic a personality like his.

Beyond Todd, the rest of the Titans bring strong personalities of their own that don’t aggravate. Whether it’s Raven’s compassion, Beast Boy’s humor, or Nightwing’s composure, Scott manages to bring each of the other members of the team to life in a way that makes each stand out among their compatriots.

Beyond the personalities of its stars, Titans United #1 delivers an interesting setup for its new narrative. The nature of the powers possed by the panicked individual the Titans must confront leaves both the team, as well as the reader, with many questions. Capped by an ending that implies the situation is even bigger than initially believed, and the story could go a lot of different places from here.

The art in this book delivers its story well. The pencils by Luis and inks by Trindade combine to bring the energy of the opening scene’s chaos to life. Add the strong colorwork of Lokus to the mix, and you have a presentation that captures both the danger and emotion of the situation with an appreciatable amount of skill.

Wrapping up Titans United #1‘s visual presentation is Mangua’s letters. With good dialogue placement and sound effects that greatly enhance their moments, the lettering does a great job of delivering and enhancing its story.

When all is said and done, Titans United #1 brings a solid start to its narrative. If it can reign in the obnoxious personality of Todd a bit, the series could come together to deliver a great story.

Titans United #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Titans United #1
3.5

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Titans United #1 brings a solid start to its narrative. If it can reign in the obnoxious personality of Todd a bit, the series could come together to deliver a great story.