By J.T. Krul (writer), Jose Luis (artist), J.P. Mayer (inker)
The Stories: The Titans are in a bit of a strange place right now. They finished the appallingly bad Deathstrike storyline too early to jump into Blackest Night right away, so they’re doing a bunch of 1-issue solo stories. In this issue, we see Tempest (formerly Aqualad), dealing with the fallout of the destruction of Atlantic and of the death of Aquaman and the power vacuum that has left in the undersea world. We see his past, watch him visit with Dick Grayson and ultimately, bring himself to a crossroads. There is also a very suspicious encounter with the villain, Slizzath, that I’m guessing ties this to the broader Blackest Night arc.
What’s Good: First of all, if you wanted to get into the Titans, now is the time to do it. These 1-issue stories are perfectly self-contained, giving you all the background you need to hop on board as a new reader. Also, this issue was a relatively satisfying arc fit between two covers, but it also left some tantalizing hints of doom and what is to come with Blackest Night. The parallel talk that Dick and Garth get into, both having lost their mentors and father figures, serve an interesting character studies. They have both reacted to their loses in different ways, but they themselves spot some parallels.
As for the art, it was also solid throughout the book. Luis and Mayer evoked the undersea world with the fall of Atlantis, giant fish on most pages, kelp and seagrass and the hint of currents in the aquatic world… I thought the art really hit its stride with the arrival of Slizzath. This villain was pretty revolting and had to be depicted well to get the full effect. The art team clearly succeeded in delivering the goods.
What’s Not So Good: Unfortunately, the plot was a bit of a straight line. I was able to guess the ending seven pages before the last page. That’s never good. Even the battle with Slizzath was a bit of a one-note affair. More could have been done with this plot. And as a nod to a small pet peeve, this is another one of those books where the cover has absolutely nothing to do with the story.
Conclusion: A pretty good offering by DC. Not a home run, but a respectable base hit, and maybe a double for Titans fans.