There was perhaps no DC Comics franchise more heavily altered by the 2011 New 52 reboot than the Teen Titans. While their history was initially still recognized in a few early comics, DC quickly did an about-face and wiped nearly fifty years of Titans continuity from canon. Furthermore, several well-known Titans including founding members Wally West and Donna Troy were nowhere to be seen in the New 52. Five years of fan outrage later, DC began reintegrating the Titans history into continuity in the TITANS HUNT mini-series, which explained that a villain had wiped their childhood memories of each other. That revelation, plus Wally West’s return in DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH #1 paved the way for TITANS REBIRTH #1.

READ: Check out our review of TITANS HUNT #1 here!

The issue begins with some catch-up narration from Wally West detailing how he was stuck outside time and all memories of him were erased. Next, we see that Wally has just been confronted by Nightwing. Remembering how his encounter with Barry Allen went in is the Rebirth special, Wally is able to return Dick’s memories of him through the physical contact with him.

titans rebirth panel 3

Thinking that he’s injured Nightwing, the rest of the team (Donna Troy, Roy Harper AKA Arsenal, Lilith, and Garth aka the original Aqualad) attack Wally. However, he’s able to make physical contact with them as he did with Nightwing. As he does so, they each remember a story from their youth about Wally that jogs their memory of him. Once they’re reunited, Wally explains where he’s been and how time has been altered, and the group vows to get to the bottom of who altered the universe and why.

Before moving into specifics, I should first confess that I am a major Teen Titans fan. The franchise is my favorite at DC, and I did not like anything about the New 52 incarnations. Due to this fandom, I was greatly looking forward to TITANS REBIRTH #1 and hopeful that it could finish the job of fixing the franchise that TITANS HUNT began. I’m happy to report that the issue, while not perfect, comes close to doing just that. The plot itself is a bit predictable once the setting is established, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, in this case, thanks to the character work.

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READ: Want to get into the Titans? Our list of essential TEEN TITANS graphic novels is the place to start!

The best Titans comics have always been more about the team’s family dynamic than super-heroics, and smartly, the overall plot from writer Dan Abnett (who also penned TITANS HUNT) plays to those strengths. Having the issue focus exclusively on Wally returning memories of himself to his teammates works beautifully in this regard. Not only does it reestablish Wally’s prominence in the wider DC Universe but the specific memory vignettes (such as teaching Donna to play pranks, or stealing the Batmobile with a young Dick Grayson) also further flesh out those characters beyond their costumed identities. Of particular interest to me was Lilith’s memory of she and Wally kissing. As a super-fan, I enjoyed the reworking of obscure continuity. Beyond that, the concept of a relationship between the two is intriguing to me as it may mean that DC truly never intends to have Wally reunite with his wife Linda Park, who currently has no memories of him. The issue becomes particularly heartwarming once everyone has their memories back and all the characters fall into their traditional roles with the last page, in particular, being a real treat for longtime fans.

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When I first read the solicit for TITANS REBIRTH #1 I was a bit dismayed that Brett Booth would be handling the art. I’ve never been the biggest fan of his style, especially on Titans related work. However, I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. While I still have some issues with how he and inker Norm Rapmund handle anatomy, overall, I liked their work here. All of the characters looked like themselves, especially Nightwing who’s back in his traditional blue costume. Speaking of costumes, this issue presents our first long-form look at Wally West’s new Flash/Kid Flash hybrid suit first seen in THE FLASH REBIRTH #1. Personally, I’m a fan, at least of Booth and Rapmund’s version. I could still do without the exposed hair, but I understand the desire to differentiate Wally from Barry, and in the end, it’s a small concession to make in order to have the former back.

TITANS REBIRTH #1 is not a perfect book, but in a lot of ways, it is the book die hard fans have been asking for since 2011. It picks up where TITANS HUNT left off and reestablishes the original team as a major part of the DC Universe.

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