TITANS #15

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[ TRAITOROUS BARGAIN
Did you know that Dick Grayson was an agent? No. I'm not talking about his time being a secret agent for Spyral! I'm actually referring to when he was an estate agent and tried to sell Aquaman a property situated in the middle of the Sahara desert. Now for more information please completely ignore the following story created by Dan Abnett, Brett Booth, and published by DC Comics in October, 2017.

TO QUOTE Isaac Bashevis Singer: 'A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise: Because that is how life is, full of surprises'.

THE REVIEW:
At the end of last months episode it was finally revealed that Nightwing was the traitor who's secretly working on behalf of HIVE. What wasn't revealed, though, was that Nightwing discovered this fact at exactly the same time we did.

You see, five issues ago, or issue 10 to be more precise, Dick got infected with surveillance styled nano technology while he was on a top secret mission with Wally West, a mission in which he had to break into a HIVE compound safeguarded by the five members of the Fearsome Five. So now he has figured out what has happened to him, Dick knows exactly what to do in order to locate this technology, disarm it, and then trace it right back to its initial source.

Another revelation we also discover is that Lilith Cole, also known as Omen, is HIVE's main motivation for penetrating the Titans, doing so because they believe she is somehow connected to a major Earth shattering disaster.

Don't worry, though, because once all of this is out in the open, and trust me, I do mean ALL out in the open, our ever loving Titans come together and plan out what they have to do next: They have to break into the HIVE compound and get to the bottom of this mess. 

But suddenly, before they can put this plan into action, they receive an alarming call from Mal Duncan and Gnarrk, asking them for some help with a problem they're having at a, shock-horror, HIVE compound.

Now is this a coincidence? No. Not really. After all, Mal is Karen's husband and he wants to help her as much as the Titans do. Yet, the thing is, is that once the Titans catch up to the guys they find them under the control of Psimon, who tries to... to... to... uhhh? Well, I'm sure you know what they try to do, but you don't want me to tell you what that is exactly or else I may spoil how this issue ends. I'm sure you'd rather me tell you what I thought about it instead. Here, check this out…

POINT ONE) Surprise-Surprise:   One of the best things about this episode was how it genuinely surprised us with its marvelous revelations. Last month I was slightly taken back when it was revealed that Dick Grayson was the traitor within the group.  "What the hell are they trying to do with this series?", I said to myself, "Don't they know that Dick is a respected character and should be treated as such?". But then when this month's episode came along,  and I saw the special twist that went along with Dick 'being a traitor', well, let me just say that this revelation took me by surprise yet was still in character for this type of topsy-turvy story-line. After all, Dick is a member of the Batman family and he does know how to slip and slide with the best of them (Sometimes we forget he can do that).

Funnily enough, I could also say exactly the same thing about Lilith Cole's special twist. Inadvertently it justifies her inclusion in this series and adds a lot more depth to her union with Garth, keeping in mind that she's basically a rehashed version of Raven and Tula, mixed together, for this new Rebirth era. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you, as it retroactively blends together two old characters and makes a partly new one with some of the same old style -- which in many ways is what this title is all about.

POINT TWO) Say It With A Smile:   Another aspect about this book I thoroughly enjoyed was how it was able to relay a lot of exposition without it sounding too much like dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. From my own experience I know this isn't an easy thing to do, especially for a single episode which had so much stuff to say. For a start, it had to tell us who the traitor is, why that particular person was chosen to fill this role, how the others reacted to him being the traitor, and to top it all off, it had to then put a new spin on this revelation so the plot can progress further down the line.

While this is going on it also had to entertain us with a story that feels logical and humor that doesn't feel forced. Again, not an easy thing to do, but Dan Abnett manages to do it by adding a silly joke here and a curious expression there, which basically gives the overall issue a charming quality that negates the exposition to sound too much like actual exposition. Good job.

POINT THREE) Wally's Rhetoric:   While I'm on the subject of people talking, this brings me quite nicely onto something else I'd like to mention about this comic book: Wally West's voice-over narration. To me, his oral garnish was a positive and a negative force for the overall adventure. On the one hand it did add a nice personal touch to the general narrative, a touch in which we could take a quick look behind Wally's current motivations and feelings. On the other hand, however,  his overt musings occasionally clashed with what was going on with the plot, simply because what he said and what we saw didn't blend well together, almost seeming too much like two contradictory story-lines. Not always, though, just sometimes, plus I did find Wally's final act of valor very touching indeed.

In closing I would just like to mention how much I'm really enjoying the artwork provided by Brett Booth. Every time he draws an issue you can almost sense how much fun he's having putting pen to paper, specially when it comes down to drawing things like a characters facial expression, those amazing action scenes, as well as the general ambiance conveyed throughout the telling of this book. This month I particularly liked how he drew Mal Duncan's and Gnarrk's costumes, as he was able to elevate them for a modern era while also paying respect to what has come out before. Is Mal going to be a new version of the Guardian?  Will Gnarrk be connected to some other fringe-hero? Let's wait-and-see, shall we? Although so far, so good.

THE MUSIC:
In a strange way this adventure is about certain people trying to defy the control others have placed upon them. This can be seen in the Dick Grayson sub-plot, the Mal Duncan and Gnarrk sub-plot, as well as the following song sung by Grace and G-Easy. 'You don't own me'? Let's hope not, eh?




THE COMPARISON:
By now you've seen the picture of the American flag and are starting to wonder why I'm comparing it to this very comic book. The answer is fairly simple really, because in my eyes the American flag denotes freedom, and freedom is at the heart of this comic. Amen. Salute. And all that jazz.

THE CONCLUSION:
At the very end of this issue something very alarming happens to Wally West. So, out of the following eight options, can you guess what that something is? Could he…

  • Turn into a potato.
  • Marry a Kardashian.
  • Fall asleep.
  • Die.
  • Lose his hair.
  • Vote Trump.
  • Molest a chicken.
  • Appear on a reality TV show.
Nuff said.

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