Review: Titans Vol. 1- The Return of Wally West

Quick Summary

Pros: The book does a great job in bringing Wally West back into the fold. The team has great chemistry in general. Everything looks great in terms of art.

Cons: The villain isn’t that great. There are some odd inconsistencies between this and other titles.

Overall: This is a good comic book that sees the return of characters and relationships in a big way. It is a fun and entertaining read that isn’t afraid to get emotional either. Plus it starts all of its cast members on a developmental journey that is sure to prove fruitful. Anyone should be able to appreciate this book, but fans of Wally West, in particular, need to read it.

Story

Titan Vol. 1: The Return of Wally West, by Dan Abnett, is exactly what fans of these characters would want. It is a book about a group of friends finding each other once again and saving the world while doing so. In this way, it can be funny and relaxed but also serious and heartwarming. Though the story focuses a lot on Wally West rather than the rest of the team, it is something that works well with the book’s message and can allow the series to develop into something even better in Vol. 2.

(spoilers start here)

As the title suggests, this book is a story about Wally West’s return to the DC Universe. He starts out by reconnecting with the Titans, as pieces of his past return to everyone. However, this also brings back an old enemy, Abra Kadabra. This leads to a fight between the Titans and Kadabra, with Wally eventually saving the day.

Part of why this story works so well is its intense focus on Wally West. Honestly, this Titans comic ends up being more of a Flash story featuring the Titans, which I enjoyed but could see some people having trouble with. It lets Wally return in a way that doesn’t force him into the fold, but allows him to return organically. He starts the book unsure of where he belongs in this new world, but by the end realizes that he always has a place to belong alongside his friends. It’s touching and is something both new and old Wally fans can appreciate.

Besides this, the book’s other highlight is the way this new group of older Titans interacts. Chemistry between everyone is well done and makes these characters really feel like a group of friends, rather than just heroes who work together. Just the way they laugh at each other and tell jokes allows everything about them to feel more real and is something Abnett should be praised for. Plus, hints of romantic entanglement could provide for some interesting stories in the series’ future.

One of the only complaints I had with this book overall was with Abra Kadabra himself. Kadabra ends up being an obstacle Wally must overcome rather than an interesting villain in his own right. His powers, and the powers of his puppets, seem near infinite and yet are never fully explained. It makes him generic rather than interesting. Keep in mind though, this is a small problem in what is otherwise a great comic.

Another small flaw in the book is how it seems to go back on some aspects of Wally that were only recently introduced. Throughout the book, characters state that Wally has no “lightning rod” anymore because Linda does not remember him. However, in DC Universe: Rebirth (Review), Barry was his “lightning rod.” It seems odd for the story to go back on this so quickly. However it does help to solidify his relationship with his friends so I can at least understand why it was done.

(spoilers end here)

Art

Brett Booth’s artwork does not disappoint in any portion of this collection. The Titans look good and have all the detail one could ask for. In particular, Booth does a great job in detailing the use of each Titan’s powers. Wally’s lighting and Lilith’s mind powers streak across pages in a way that makes them feel alive. Overall, whether it’s a thrilling fight scene or a touching confession, this book looks great.

Continuity

Titans Vol. 1: The Return of Wally West is the first volume of the Titans Rebirth series. Rebirth is not a continuity reset at all; it is more of just a good jumping on point for readers. This means that, although there are stories that come before this, an in depth knowledge of the Titans’ past is not really required to enjoy this series.

However, a good portion of the story here flows out of the events of both DC Universe: Rebirth (Review) and Titans Hunt (Review). These two stories are not completely necessary to understand The Return of Wally West but they do explain how Wally and the Titans are in their current situation.

The story also references previous stories so we will still be listing them below:

  • Throughout this book, a few small references are made to Watchmen. The biggest of these is Abra Kadabra’s watch.
  • Kadabra’s use of puppets is most likely a reference to The Flash #133, a classic story involving Kadabra’s command of puppets. This issue is collected in The Flash: The Silver Age Vol. 3.

The story here is continued in Titans Vol. 2: Made in Manhattan.

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