TITANS #14 by Dan Abnett and Brett Booth
Art
Plot
Characterization
Summary
While our villains rarely break through into relevance, the greater fighting within the team takes center stage in this issue as tensions boil over. With a potent spotlight on Tempest, TITANS #14 is the best issue so far.
97 %
Face the Tempest
User Rating 0 Be the first one !

Since the reformation of the original team in TITANS HUNT, TITANS has focused on the unity of these heroic friends. However, after the events of “The Lazarus Contract,” the team has been fractured. With a potential HIVE mole in their ranks and jealousies bubbling to the surface, TITANS #14 sees the team more fragmented than ever. Can they unite in time to defeat the Atlantean threat of the Trident Three?

The Seas Rise

Titans #14
Courtesy of DC Comics

As with the best stories, pizza sets the stage for TITANS #14’s action. Paranoid because of the potential mole, the team decides to use a piece of Nightwing’s former Spyral tech to scan for any manipulative factors like mind control or foreign technology. The analysis will take a day, and the team locks down the Tower. They order pizzas to pass the time. After the first bite, though, Garth commands the team to spit the food out. He tasted the secret ingredient: a potent Atlantean poison.

READ: Though not yet old enough to be a Titan, Superboy holds an important place in modern DC lore. Learn more!

After investigating, the team discovers a trio of Atlantean Sorceresses named the Trident Three. These villains attended the Silent School, the Atlantean school of sorcery, with Garth but were expelled for misusing their learned magic. Garth left the school years later after some mysterious event made him disavow magic entirely. Garth’s talent at the craft, though, made him the object of the Three’s worship and love. Their goal? To eradicate all life on the surface world and return the world to the sea. Their goal would have come to fruition through their poisoning of food in chain restaurants if it weren’t for these meddling superheroes. As the battle continues, the underlying tensions boil to the surface, leading to in-fighting among the friends.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, former Titans, Mal Duncan and Gnaark, have found and begun their infiltration of a HIVE BASE.

The Battle Within

Titans #14
Courtesy of DC Comics

TITANS’ Rebirth run has been one of my favorite comic series since its first issue, and it has only gotten better with time and attention. TITANS #14 is the best issue in the run so far. As a beat ’em up issue, the action doesn’t feel rushed. The battle with the Trident Three fills the entire book. Additionally, Brett Booth‘s art feels cohesive and clear. I have been a fan of Booth’s work since his first run on the New 52 TEEN TITANS, and his high action artistry fits this issue perfectly. Although the Trident Three aren’t  given enough page time, their character designs are striking. The “homemade” Oceanic armor they wear feels grungy next to the sleek costumes of our heroes.

However, this battle sequence is not the strongest aspect of the issue. It simply acts as the setting for the true conflict. Character struggles within this issue are well-played, with each hero finding their time in the spotlight. The paranoia surrounding the team’s potential mole is palpable, and writer Dan Abnett leans heavily into this tension throughout. Flash and Arsenal squabble over their affection for Donna Troy, nearly getting themselves killed by the Trident Three. Although other struggles aren’t physical, they’re still widespread. Nightwing accuses Omen of betraying the team, and Tempest leaps to her protection. Bumblebee is still dealing with her lost memories, and Donna Troy struggles with her identity after learning about her artificial life.

READ: The New Gods are an essential part of DC Comics lore. Here are a few reasons why they need to appear in the DCEU!

Garth is definitely the character at the heart of this issue’s success. While Abnett doesn’t fully reveal the details of Tempest’s history in this issue, we get glimpses into a deep pain. In TITANS #14, we learn that he quit his magical training because he associates some previous loss with his magical abilities. His Rebirth reboot has left readers with a number of questions about his history. This berserker warrior with eye beams must especially confuse fans of his portrayal as the calm sorcerer’s apprentice in YOUNG JUSTICE. The renewed focus on him in this issue is highly successful.

To Take Over the World

titans #14
Courtesy of DC Comics

While Garth and several of his teammates get their moments to shine, the same can’t be said for the villains. The best villains have motivation and personality. At most, the Trident Three have an interesting gimmick. They are a potent realization of Garth’s history, but they don’t quite break the mold of the ultimate evil bad guy. Their sole motivation is to kill all surface life. Why? They give no reason. Their worship of Garth as a talented mage is wholly interesting, but without that exploration of their motives, they feel like a set piece.

As for our heroes, most of the main team carries intrigue in their chaotic relationship. However, Nightwing feels a little underutilized. Especially given Garth’s distrust of the detective over the “Lazarus Contracts” betrayals and TITANS #14’s final revelations, I thought we’d get to hear Nightwing’s take on the situation before the issue ended. Sadly, we do not. He’s not the only one not given enough attention. Gnaark and Mal Duncan only briefly appear, given a mere two pages to assert their presence. While I did appreciate the nods to 2016’s TITANS HUNT, their inclusion felt out of place in this issue. I’d rather have had an entire book with these two, rather than a cameo appearance.

FINAL THOUGHTS: TITANS #14

READ: Didn’t get a chance to attend San Diego Comic Con? We have you covered with this exclusive interview with Bill Sienkiewicz!

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with TITANS #14. Whether it be the Teen Titans or the Titans, the biggest selling point is the family dynamic. As teens, they fought crime almost as brothers and sisters. Now, these are young people with raging hormones living under the same roof. While they struggle to understand this changing dynamic, they have to deal with rampant super-criminals that want them dead. They never have the opportunity to just sit back and determine the new status quo. This tension, the twisting and cracking of the bonds between them, creates the teams’ strongest stories. TITANS #14 gives us that tension. We fear for the team’s well-being. We fear that this will be the last time we see them together. And we fear it because we actually care about these characters.

While the villains of this issue lose something on the page, they only stand in for the greater conflict at play. TITANS #14 is the best issue in the series so far, and it shows exactly why readers love these heroes.

Advertisements

Show ComicsVerse some Love! Leave a Reply!

Check Also

JEAN GREY #10 Review: Whose Fight is it Anyway?

The Phoenix is here and ready to release its wrath on the universe in JEAN GREY #10! …