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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.
I read 12 comics last week: Darth Vader #11, Invincible Iron Man #2, Superman/Wonder Woman #22, Amazing Spider-Man #2, Star Trek #50, Back to the Future #1, Titans Hunt #1, Star Wars: Shattered Empire #4, Justice League #45 and Batman and Robin Eternal #3.
The best comic I read last week was Titans Hunt #1.
Perhaps I should consider renaming “The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week” to “The Sequential Art I Read Last Week That Made Me Most Nostalgic” because I am selecting a comic book that, while it was very solid, very tightly written, well-illustrated and compelling, resonated most with me because it appealed to a need in me: the need to see the Titans, teen or otherwise, back in the DC Universe.
I know that I’ve established in many previous posts my love of the Marv Wolfman/George Perez New Teen Titans. As a kid, I very much responded to the idea of kids with power striking out from their mentors, forming a team and doing good on their own. Even before NTT, I liked the Titans. DC has tried to recapture the Wolman/Perez glory days on many occasions – perhaps coming closest with Geoff Johns’ run on Teen Titans over 10 years ago. When the New 52 dawned, DC’s truncated timeline seemed to jettison altogether the idea of a Dick Grayson led Teen Titans team. Though DC said a team like that somehow existed in the new continuity, it was difficult to figure out how that could be possible.
Titans Hunt (a great title that, in-and-of-itself illustrates that DC is serious about honoring the long Titans tradition) is a very compelling start for bringing the old Titans into the new universe. Dan Abnett has written the opening chapter of what promises to be a great mystery and his story is energetic and exciting. He continues the welcome and full-on reintroduction of Dick Grayson, super spy, to the DC Universe and handles the Grayson pages very well. He also has given Roy Harper a great voice and an interesting twist. If the character had been this engaging in Red Hood and the Outlaws, I wouldn’t have dropped that title so quickly. But, beyond all this, Abnett reaches into DC’s past and pulls a time honored concept into the present in a way that hooks the audience immediately. Abnett has seemed to be “just-this-close” to breaking out as a superstar writer for a long time now. He’s not new to the field and has written terrific books for DC and Marvel. He deserves a wider spotlight than Titans Hunt is likely to shine on him.
The story has simple framework that, itself, is tried-and-true and reaches back to early NTT stories: a mysterious woman needs to pull together a disparate group of individuals for unexplained reasons. Sounds likes Raven getting the Titans together to fight Trigon. No doubt that’s intentional. It took great creativity to determine how to weave the threads of the Titans into the new universe and I am hopeful that Abnett will not turn his readers over to some deus ex machina at the end of the series but rather will tie up the threads he’s woven in the first issue very well.
Pablo Siqueria is a perfect choice for the book. His pencils are a cross between Ivan Reis and vintage Neal Adams. The script calls on him to capture some strong character moments and he does a great job with them. He particularly shines in his scenes with Roy Harper. I look forward to seeing his Titans in costume in issues to come.
This is an impressive debut issue and is very much the comic I wanted it to be. Give Titans Hunt a chance. It’s a good, good book.