Dan Abnett is a man with a mission.  In a recent interview he recalled how last year Eddie Berganza, the head of DC Entertainment’s Superman Office, which at that time was in charge of the Teen Titans, approached him about writing a comic featuring the Silver Age Titans.  The franchise was in ruins and Abnett was a logical choice for a writer to begin rebuilding.  His experience on Guardians of the Galaxy proved that he could handle large casts and complicated storylines, while his reputation showed that DC was serious about addressing the problems of a superhero team that had been devastated by the New 52 reboot.

Abnett chose to use a supernatural plot, which is certainly in keeping with Titans history.  He would tell the story of how the team had faced a demonic threat that had resulted in the Titans being erased from history as a team, if not as individuals.  His execution of this plotline has been workmanlike and occasionally inspired, with fascinating nods to such bits of Titan lore as Hatton Corners, Mr. Twister, and even Honeybun, the Mad Mod, and Ding Dong Daddy.

But it has always seemed that this exercise has never really been about the story at hand.  For all of the careful craftsmanship Abnett has displayed, the series has had the feel of backstory and the sense of foundation.  There always seemed to be another, larger story waiting to be told, the real story Abnett wanted to tell once the chore of re-establishing the Titans was finished.

In this issue, he finishes it.  The current Titans face their old foe Mr. Twister and defeat his plan to open the universe to a demonic entity.  In truth, the fight is rather lacklustre and serves mainly for more exposition for the real story to come.  If Abnett’s heart isn’t really in it, the art comes to the rescue.  Paul Pelletier’s complex, highly rendered lines combine with the deep shadows of Ray McCarthy and Wayne Faucher and the lush, somewhat over ripe colors of Hi-Fi and Carlos Mangual to suggest a world of decadence and danger, a steaming place of secrets and sorcery.

The greatest secret we learn is that there are still many memories to be recovered, and still one Titan, the tenth Titan, unaccounted for.  And here the actual tale commences as a storm breaks over Hatton Corners with yellow lightning strikes and peels of thunder. By now, the meaning of that lightning strike is well known to most.  I will not spoil it for the few who remain innocent, but suffice to say Titans Hunt and the Titans book to come tie very directly into DC’s upcoming Rebirth initiative.

 

Grade

B+

Conclusion

It has been a very long time since any iteration of the TITANS stood at the center of the DC Universe. If solicits and interviews are to be believed, this team will be more important to the DCU than any Titans team ever has. Yet, one still senses this is not really the story Abnett wanted to tell. Like FLASHPOINT before it, TITANS HUNT seems to have been repurposed at the last minute. From a carrier of meaning in its own right, it has become a primary instrument of the DC REBIRTH. But, should that rebirth result in a strong, vigorous new life, then TITANS HUNT will, for all its lacklustre moments, have been one of the most important versions of this team in publishing history.