titans #24
TITANS #24 by Dan Abnett and Brent Peeples
Dan Abnett and Brent Peeples have constructed a brilliant and fast-paced superhero adventure with TITANS #24. Above all else, this is a fun story, filled with plenty of personality and action, but the themes and the plot carry enough weight to make this read worthwhile.
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A Major Step Forward
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For a long while, the TITANS series from Dan Abnett has felt rather serious. While the beginning carried with it a sense of fun and wonder, the team started to fall apart from the inside. Secrets came out that put a darker twist on the series. This isn’t bad by any means, but it’s nice that TITANS #24 seems to be a return to form. After all, when a mystical world of orcs, elves, and unicorns starts to invade, you have to have a little fun, right?

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Responding to another spike of Emergent Event, the Titans arrive in San Francisco expecting to find a new metahuman in trouble. However, this activity is unlike any they have seen before. Monsters and warriors straight out of a fantasy book pour through a crack in the sky. Now, the Titans have to identify the cause as quickly as possible before the invading army gains ground. However, when an old writer claims to be the source, the Titans learn very quickly that not every problem can be solved with their fists.

Warning, potential spoilers are below!

Elves, Orcs, and Unicorns

Titans #24
TITANS #24 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

As I said, TITANS #24 is a lot of fun to read. More importantly, it’s an incredibly satisfying story as well. There is an odd beauty in the somewhat singular focus of this narrative. The ending cliffhanger does signal that this story begins an arc. However, it still feels like a one-shot. The team identifies a problem, attempts different solutions for said problem, and the immediate threat gets resolved. For writer Dan Abnett to do that in less than twenty pages is rather remarkable. I especially liked that this story had no truly slow moments. The motivations always feel clear because the threat is ever-present. That not only increases the stakes, but it gives this story a quick and crisp pace that feels like old school superhero cartoons.

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TITANS #24 really interested me because of the way Abnett balanced this enjoyable plot with serious themes. He tried to do this in the previous issue, posing a moral dilemma for the team that they never fully explored. In this issue, though, the entire story is based around said dilemma. The old writer fell in love with his work years prior. Even though he failed as a professional storyteller, his love for his world stayed with him. By taking away this man’s new powers, the Titans take something dear from him. That in itself gives this story a deep level of intrigue. Nevertheless, it’s the solutions that interest me. Yes, this is an action-packed story as the team defends themselves from the mystical army. However, the team doesn’t fix the problem with punching. That feels like a really beautiful change of pace for superhero comics.

A Balanced Team

TITANS #24 pages 2 & 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

TITANS #24’s characterization shouldn’t work. There’s no explicit character focus, and no single teammate takes the point of view. However, I felt myself drawn into the characters in a way I’m not used to. Abnett does a really fantastic job balancing this team’s diverse set of personalities. TITANS #24 feels like a team book above anything else. No individual stands out above the rest, and that showcases the brilliance of the characterization. These heroes are finally starting to work as a unit, but the gears still grind sometimes. They aren’t a perfect fighting force, and because of that, they always seem interesting. I really enjoy getting to know all of these characters at once. It feels like a really unique experience.

I will say, though, that the villains fall a little flat. I’m willing to forgive this simply because they are placeholders for the action sequences. Plus, the monsters themselves have some really cool moments. The way they recognize the old writer as their creator, their god, works really well. I didn’t feel as happy with the characterization, though, of the main antagonist.

Prince Travesty, the elf-like leader, has some cool dialogue, and he’s fairly funny. However, he feels rather flat as a character. He has a load of charisma driving him forward, but his motivations are slim and a bit archetypal. There really isn’t much to this bad guy but evil. Now, I can look past this problem. It does play into the in-joke that the old writer was never very good. However, I still feel like Travesty could have taken on a life of his own.

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Distorted Reality

TITANS #24 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Brent Peeples returns with pencils for TITANS #24, and many of my qualms from last issue have been remedied. In fact, his work here is some of the best in the medium. The way he constructs scenes and the main characters looks incredibly dynamic. You can really tell how much fun this artist had simply from the brilliance of the monstrous designs. Much of that cartoony feel I mentioned earlier comes from Peeples’ brilliant style. This is strange to say, considering he works fairly realistically. However, the energy on the page and the highly detailed world carry those elements that I loved about superhero shows as a kid. Peeples simply captures that sense of wonder.

TITANS #24: Final Thoughts

TITANS #24 truly shows the potential of this creative team. Despite its lackluster main villain, the characterization in this issue is some of the best in the entire series. The intense focus on team dynamics, of the Titans as a single entity, felt entirely satisfying. Meanwhile, the fun plot elements surprisingly fit rather well with the more serious themes. Dan Abnett has consistently made TITANS a strong, character-driven series. Now, with a new team and perspective, this series is only getting better.

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