TITANS #16

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[ GRAVE SALE
Do you know where you go when you finally die? Some say your body slowly dissolves down, down, down, into the ground, while others imply that your heavenly spirit drifts way up, up, up, into the sky. Me, on the other hand, I’d rather read the following adventure created by Dan Abnett, Brett Booth, and published by DC Comics in November, 2017.

TO QUOTE Fyodor Dostoevsky: 'Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. The God and the Devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man'.

THE REVIEW:
When issue 16 begins we are quickly presented with two very solid facts. Firstly, Wally West is dead, very-very dead; and secondly, his fellow Titans can’t do anything about it. Well, what can they do? Apart from beating up Psimon and a possessed Mal Duncan and Gnarrk, doing so with the intention of figuring out what the hell is going on. 

Soon enough, The Titans start to realize that the main reason for their battle has nothing to do with them recovering Karen Duncan's stolen memories. Instead, it's about a plan that Psimon has devised where he uses them to usher in a powerful being from another dimension. A being, I hasten to add, that happens to be an evil version of one of the team. 

Surprising, I know. But is it as surprising as when Wally West turns up to see the Titans battling their foes? No, I’m not talking about our Wally West, the dead one. I’m actually referring to the other Wally, the black one, who somehow manages to sense his buddy's passing and follows his hunch all the way back to its source.

Around about the same time two other characters also turn up. In this case, however, they’re Mister Twister and the Key, two bad guys who swiftly aid Psimon with his master plan. Now if you want to know how this turns out, I suggest that you pick up this issue today. But before you do that, feel free to check out what I thought about it by reading the following three reasons.

Reason One) WHO LOVES YOU, BABY:   Why does Dan Abnett feel the need to constantly pervert the characters featured in this series?  I mean, two months back he made Dick look like a traitorous bad guy, last month he killed off Wally West, and now he’s transformed coff-coff into being this month's token villain! Seriously, does he dislike the team so much that he wants to pervert them at the end of every single episode? This is starting to become really-really repetitive, obvious even, and I say this knowing full well that Dan is a good writer and has the ability to create some really great stories. I just hope that he can stop following this trend, period, and start making the team act like a real team, not a selection of characters who end up pissing each other off.

Having said that, though, I was very impressed with how he used certain elements from other story-lines and combined them here into this one. A good example of this would have to be the appearance of Mr Twister from the ‘Titans Hunt’ saga, where as another noted example would have to be the inclusion of The Key, previously featured in this year's Titans annual. Dan also added elements from the series itself; which enhanced the plot, the characters, and the general ambiance of this episode, especially during those sequences involving Mal, Omen, and Psimon.

Reason Two) SAY THAT AGAIN:   As I’m on the subject of Omen, all in all I did like her voice over narration as it gave this adventure a personal tone and a direction it sorely needed. 

Well, in all honesty, I’ve never been a big fan of long massive fight scenes, which this episode clearly is, as I normally find them to be too superficial by design. Not only do they lack any sort of narrative focus, but sometimes too much punching can take away from too much talking, talking which generally helps drive the plot further down the line and give it some much needed depth.

Along similar lines I wasn’t too keen on the way people kept on popping up one after the other after the other. Again, I understood why this needed to take place (in order to reveal the bigger picture), but in the same breath, each reveal made the whole thing fairly pedestrian on the page, thematically at least, almost as if these characters were waiting in line to turn up and play for the camera, similar to a queue in a supermarket.

Reason Three) SAVED BY THE PEN:   Even though I wasn't totally bowled over by this issue, that's not to say that I didn't enjoy reading it! For one thing, Brett Booths magnificent artwork had a very dynamic pace and style that added a sense of drama to Dan’s overall tale. Take the opening sequence for instance, the one where we initially see Junior West following a psychic trail presumably instigated by his now deceased counterpart. On page one we see him sensing that there’s something wrong with the speed force and so he goes off to investigate. Then on page two we are presented with another location situated somewhere else, depicting a stark image of our Wally West lying dead on the ground, obviously as lifeless as a broken stick. By page three we see a selection of villains standing over his dead body gloating about his demise. And finally, on page four, Wally’s hero friends each jump into action and try to take these villains down. 

See, simple storytelling at its finest, and structured in a way that’s clean, clear, and pure class in a can. Great job, Brett! Please keep up the good work. 

Something else about this issue I thoroughly enjoyed would have to be the questions it kept on posing. Such as, is Wally West really dead, and if he is, how was he able to compel his younger counterpart to come to his corpse? Also, where did Mister Twister and the Key hide during their time away? Did they bide their time in another city, another country, or another book? And if not, where were they? Plus, how does any of this relate to the big reveal displayed on the very last page? Obviously coff-coff has a lot of soul searching to do, and I personally would love to do it with them next month.

THE MUSIC:
Throughout this adventure Psimon kept on referring to a mysterious lady he plans to usher into our world. You know, just like that ‘Mysterious GirlPeter Andre kept on singing about in the following song.




THE COMPARISON:
A large portion of this episode involves Psimon trying to open up a doorway to another dimension. But, as we all know, for him to do that, he’s going to need to get his hands on a door first, right? Therefore, door-door-door, comparison made!!!

THE CONCLUSION:
At the end of this issue it’s finally revealed which member of the Titans is the malevolent traitor Psimon wants to bring into our universe. So, out of the following eight candidates, can you guess who this traitor is? Could it be... 

  • Garth: As it’s quite possible he turned mad after drinking too much polluted water.
  • Cyborg: Yes, he was a Titan, a real Teen Titan, and I don’t care if Rebirth or the New 52 says otherwise. 
  • Wally West: No, not the black one, the dead one.
  • Karen Duncan: Loosing your memory can sometimes make you do some really crazy things, like buying pink socks, speaking to pigeons, and killing entire worlds.
  • Dick Grayson: Well, he does have a dark side, and I don’t mean that grey god who currently sucks his thumb. 
  • Roy Harper: Maybe he got pissed off because people kept on thinking that he’s a second rate Dick and a second choice Wally. 
  • Donna Troy: Albeit a more Goth version. 
  • Omen: She wears a hood and has a spooky name, so what else do you need to know? She’s pure evil. 
Nuff said. 

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