TITANS #15 by Dan Abnett and Brett Booth
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
TITANS #15 is easily the best issue in the series. With a strong focus on Wally West and the high tension of the H.I.V.E. story arc, TITANS #15 is a must-read story for any comic book fan!
95 %
Boiling with Tension
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Things have not been going well for the Titans in their last few issues. In TITANS #14, the team learned that a potential H.I.V.E. traitor hid in their midst, and that distrust tore the team apart. Old friends turned on each other. Others came to some hard decisions. Meanwhile, Gnaark and Guardian, both former members, hatched a plan to destroy H.I.V.E. from within. As the issue ended, fans were shocked to learn that the team leader, Nightwing, was behind the leaks. TITANS #15 opens immediately after these events, and the ramifications may spell doom for the team as we know it.

Justice Will Out

Titans #15
TITANS #15 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

As TITANS #15 opens, writer Dan Abnett immediately thrusts the reader into the action. Arsenal aims an arrow at Nightwing’s head, having overheard Grayson’s entire conversation with H.I.V.E. He calls the rest of the team in to expose the traitor and, if not for Flash’s quick thinking, Tempest and Arsenal likely would have killed him. Yet Nightwing doesn’t deny his folly. In fact, he claims it’s not his fault. During their battle with H.I.V.E. operatives in prior issues, one of the supervillains implanted Nightwing with ocular and auditory nanobots, to monitor his every move. For weeks, Nightwing has been an unwitting spy for the shadowy group, but Grayson has devised a way to use this to their advantage. Tracing the nanotech’s signal to their source, Nightwing has discovered the location of H.I.V.E.’s main base!

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Meanwhile, Gnaark and Mal Duncan have infiltrated a H.I.V.E. splinter facility. As they attempt to glean more information on the location of the H.I.V.E. main base, a familiar voice calls to them. As white light envelopes the heroes, they disappear, leaving behind nothing but two feathers. The same happens to Psimon, a H.I.V.E. operative, from within a federal holding facility. As the Titans team arrives at the H.I.V.E. base, they find all three waiting for them. Before the Titans can ask any questions, their former friends and the psychic villain attack them!

Duplicitousness

Titans #15
TITANS #15 page 7. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

TITANS #15 offers a ton of payoff for long-time fans. The H.I.V.E. storyline has been hinted at since Rebirth began, and the start of this final battle feels worth the wait. Writer Dan Abnett nailed the flow of this issue, ramping up the tension from page one. The stand-off between allies in Titans Tower felt weighty, and Abnett managed to draw it out to the breaking point. For a moment based on a simple mix-up, every second counted. Had Flash not taken Arsenal’s bow, Nightwing would be dead. Mind you, fans would have been outraged, but that underlying tension still leaked off the page and only grew from there. By the time we reached the climactic moments, all of the anticipation of months began to boil over. Sadly, the issue ended without a resolution, but the stepping stones are in place.

I have to credit Abnett for the amount of ground he covers TITANS #15. Though the story is rather dialogue-heavy, it never felt bogged down by these slow points. Long conversations filled single pages, leaving a lot of room for story and action. In this issue alone, five separate storylines, including Omen’s prophetic meetings with Psimon as well as Gnaark and Mal’s descent into H.I.V.E.’s lairs, reached their fruition, and none felt lacking. In previous issues, some of the subplots felt like afterthoughts, but here, Abnett gave them their proper due.

The Life of Wally West

Titans #15
TITANS #15 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

TITANS #14 was the best issue in the series to date. The spotlight on Tempest that we received helped flesh out a team member that desperately needed more characterization. Yet, there wasn’t much intricacy to Tempest’s internal narration. It was very expositional and in-the-moment and, while it gave Tempest a unique voice, it still acted as a play-by-play.

READ: For more on TITANS #14, here’s ComicsVerses’ review on the Tempest-focused issue!

In that regard, TITANS #15 easily trumps its predecessor as the best in the series. This time, the spotlight falls on Wally West. Namely, the story runs alongside a letter Wally wrote to Nightwing. While I won’t go into spoilery details on the contents of the letter, I will say that it perfectly ties into the overarching plot. Abnett writes it as an abstracted retelling of Wally’s journey into this altered world, exploring his own fears and the events that have led to this moment. More importantly, it highlights the thematic issues surrounding the in-fighting amongst the Titans. Being that the letter is written to Dick Grayson, it’s wholly personal and lighthearted, while exploring the depths of their long friendship.

While the other characters didn’t receive the same attention, they each still had moments to add their voices to the mix. I would say that the only characters that felt stock, or a little underdeveloped, were Gnaark and Mal Duncan. Mal has had some stellar characterization since his appearance in TITANS HUNT, but Gnaark has only appeared in three total Rebirth issues. Although, now that they have moved out of the subplot, I firmly believe that they will soon have their opportunity to receive Abnett’s stellar characterization.

Final Thoughts — TITANS #15

TITANS #15 was an enthralling issue. The art by Brett Booth, while always fantastic, reached a new level in this piece. Booth fills the entire issue with extreme perspective angles and grandiose expressions, granting an action movie grandeur to even dialogue-heavy scenes. The lighting implemented by Booth’s pencils and Andrew Dalhouse’s colors created an atmosphere that perfectly matched each scene. I’ve always admired the level of detail and focus on the characters in Booth’s work. They always stand out to the reader as deeply important, with bold, bright colors to differentiate them from the muted backgrounds.

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As things begin to run to a close for this story arc, Abnett has begun to pull out all the stops for long-time fans. As tensions boil over, the characterization and relationships that have defined this series still stayed at the forefront of TITANS #15. This issue helped remind me why I love this team. It doesn’t matter who falls along the way. Their shared friendship pulls them all through. Over the years, these young heroes have grown into a large family. As things grow out of control, this team talks it out and moves on. While TITANS #15 has some issues, long-time superhero fans need to experience the brilliance within its pages!

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