TITANS #25 by Dan Abnett, Brandon Peterson, Guillem March, and Denis Medri
TITANS #25 is a great success for this creative team. With three of comics' best artists and one of the greatest standalone plots from writer Dan Abnett, this series only gets better with each issue. While the characterization doesn't receive the focus it's due, what we do get is incredibly deep and intriguing.
95 %
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Modern comic book writers have somewhat lost the art of single-issue storytelling. With the focus falling squarely on larger arcs and events, the standalone stories of the Gold and Silver Age have largely been forgotten. Writer Dan Abnett, though, has returned to this narrative style in the TITANS series. TITANS #25 takes this idea to the extreme, however. Three separate emergent events plague the team in this issue, meaning they must split up to save Washington DC. But with Raven’s powers on the fritz and Nightwing in constant argument with Miss Martian, can the team hope to succeed?

The Battle of DC

TITANS #25 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

TITANS #25 is an incredibly successful issue. When I first picked it up, I worried that the three separate stories would clash and lead to confusion. However, Abnett somehow succeeds. Sure, I wanted him to explore each individual arc a little more thoroughly, but he managed to tell all three incredibly efficiently. The stakes were presented immediately, the conflicts felt well-described, and the tension continued to increase throughout. In other words, TITANS #25 is a textbook example of good narrative progression.

Most importantly of all, though, this story is just fun. I loved the Nightwing and Miss Martian section. Their journey through an old woman’s television channels felt like a brilliant way to explore these characters’ flaws without needing to focus on their power sets. On the other end of the spectrum, the battle between Beast Boy, Raven, Steel, and the giant robot was incredibly flashy and cool. There’s no other way to describe it. I did feel that the Donna Troy section felt the least powerful, but it still had its great moments. Seeing this Amazon warrior interacting with a super-genius felt really funny and interesting. Also, her section does a fantastic job tying together the entire issue’s plot points.

Superheroic Therapy

TITANS #25 page 2 & 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

I think my biggest complaint about TITANS #25 stems from the characterization. The major character moments fly by far too fast for my taste. Raven realizes her powers are gone, but she barely has any time to grieve in the midst of the battle. Nightwing and Miss Martian spend the entire issue working through their problems, yes. However, despite the fact that they come to a place of understanding, I felt that we got to the resolution too fast. Also, Donna’s section felt so plot-heavy that we barely got to explore her character at all.

With that said, though, I don’t mean to imply that the characterization isn’t good. In fact, compared to most mass market comics out today, it does a really good job handling its many disparate parts. While the plot benefits from the three-way storytelling, the characterization suffers a slight bit. Nevertheless, Abnett still does a fine job with the dialogue and the actual character moments themselves. Raven’s reaction is incredibly believable when she learns about her powers. Abnett doesn’t explore it fully, but the reaction itself deserves some major credit.

I also felt like the conversation between Nightwing and Miss Martian is one of the best I’ve ever seen. It may resolve too fast, but the words said and the way the story focuses on Nightwing’s lack of powers felt very poignant. I really felt like their entire section deserved a comic of its own. Abnett’s talent for dialogue really shines here.

A Trio

TITANS #25 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

TITANS #25 really shines in the art. The series’ last few issues have been drawn by artist Brandon Peterson, who brings his special brand of artistic realism back for this issue. However, unlike installments past, two other artists join him. Peterson largely covers the action-packed battle sequence in this issue, and does a masterful job with the effects. Artist Guillem March tackles the Nightwing section with a similar realism, though one less mired in heavy rendering. This fits perfectly with the subject matter, with Nightwing and Miss Martian looking like March ripped them straight from an old movie. Meanwhile, Denis Medri illustrates Donna’s solo adventure with a more cartoony feel. This is meant as a major compliment, especially considering that her story ties directly into the TEEN TITANS series.

TITANS #25: Final Thoughts

Writer Dan Abnett does something really impressive with TITANS #25. He takes the standalone adventure comic and challenges its tropes. He splits his fan-favorite team into three separate units. Abnett even has to rely on the balancing powers of his trio of star artists. Even with all of this standing against him, he still manages to make this issue a roaring success. Sure, its characterization has its problems, but I can look past them. All-in-all, TITANS #25 felt like a deeply satisfying read, and one that you should be clamoring to put on your shelf!

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