Alright then you miserable lot! Which one of you did it, eh? Which one of you actually had the audacity to pick up the following comic book and then sit down to read it? Go on. Own up. Who did it? Was it you, Dan Abnett? Was it you, Brett Booth? Or worse still, was it DC Comics in August, 2017?

TO QUOTE Clarence Thomas: 'You have a number of choices. You could continue to always fight against people who are really distractions. They're people in the cheap seats of life. Or you can do what you went there to do'.

Have you ever gone out to buy something and then got distracted by a sudden occurrence? If so, then I'm sure you know what it must feel like to feature in the following issue of the Titans, issue 14.

Essentially the overall narrative is easily divisible by two. While one part of the plot is centered on the main tale itself, namely, how the Titans are using a machine Nightwing misappropriated from Spyral in order to deduce who the traitor is, the other part of the plot acts as a deterrent which distracts the team from accomplishing their main goal, that distraction being a group of aquatic magicians they're trying to stop from poisoning the city.

The story is also accompanied by four smaller subplots that usually run alongside its main adventure. This includes a love triangle between Roy, Wally, and Donna (men, tut-tut-tut); Mal Duncan's current quest to find his wife's stolen memories (women, also tut-tut-tut); the fact that Wally's new powers are starting to kick in (abilities, a double dose of tut-tut-tut); plus another blossoming romance that focuses on Garth and Lilith Cole (fish, glug-glug-glug). 

Having said all that, though, the latter of these four subplots, the one involving Garth and Lilith, managed to sneakily snoop its way into the second part of the story, the part featuring a group of aquatic magicians who want to poison the people of New York

Well, it turns out that some time ago these female Harry Potters, named the Trident Three, became very friendly with Garth while he was studying magic in Atlantis. After a while their simple friendship slowly turned into a full-on obsession and eventually they got kicked out of school for abusing their abilities. Worst still, Garth didn't return their affections and he consciously drifted away. Or, so he thought, until they eventually figured out where he was staying and, well, I'm sure you can figure out the rest from here. After all, they do want to kill Garth and the people living around him, which is why they need to be stopped as soon as possible. 

Now in many ways this brings us right back, full circle, in terms of explaining what this issue is all about. It's not a bad issue really, as the art was nice and some of the story made sense. Yet, within the scheme of things, I suppose the general tale fell somewhere in the middle due to its bipolar narrative and its disconcerting intent.

My initial problem with it would have to be the subplot featuring the Trident Three. Even though I warmed up to them being in love with Garth, which, I must admit, was a very amusing read, in the same breath their inclusion felt like an unneeded distraction, plain and simple, plus they also held up the main story to the point it became annoying.

I also wasn't very fond of who the traitor turned out to be! I mean, could it really be this person? And if it is them, what could their motivations be? Especially since they have the pedigree to be able to avoid such a strained predicament! In some sense this revelation was so shocking that it actually took me out of the story because of its elusive and unexplained nature.

But don't worry. This issue isn't all doom and gloom. On a more positive note it did have some great moments scattered throughout its telling. For instance, Dan Abnett was able to give the overall narrative some much needed depth, substance, and humor, by imbuing it with a number of time jumps in order to break up the two distinct parts of the plot. This was then greatly enhanced by him giving each of his characters a consistent nature and personality, particularly Garth and Dick, who shared a great scene together, which developed their relationship and was a very funny read. 

Another consistent aspect about this book has to be the artwork provided by Brett Booth. Honestly, what he produces each month doesn't seem to change one little bit. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you. If anything, it's a delight to be greeted by Brett's manga styled layouts as they're always dynamic to look at, easy to follow, and fun by design. I particularly like the way he instills a number of playful elements into his work, such as a rye wink here or a cheeky smile there, because they give his depictions some much needed life and vitality.

So, more or less this was a fairly okay issue of the Titans. The artwork was on point, the story had its moments, and the only thing that let it down was its jumbled distractions and confusing revelations.

All in all the main brunt of this tale revolves around traitors and suspicions. So, when I put it in those terms, how could I not musically match it up to the Elvis Presley classic, 'Suspicious Minds'.

If you're wondering why I'm now going to compare this comic book to a cat, domesticated or otherwise, try to think along the following train of thought. Cats love fish and fish love Garth, plus let's not forget they can also be crafty, just like our intended traitor. 

See, you know it makes sense.

Half way through this adventure, Gnarrk and Mal Duncan managed to break into a HIVE compound and then take these villains on. So, my question to you, is can you guess where this compound is located out of the following eight options? Could it be…

  • Deer, Arkansas.
  • White Horse, New Jersey.
  • Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Gooseville, Maryland.
  • Coyote, New Mexico.
  • Badger, Minnesota.
  • Catford, London.
  • Buffalo, New York.
Nuff said.

TITANS #14 TITANS #14 Reviewed by David Andrews on August 22, 2017 Rating: 5

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