There are a lot of different teams in the DC Universe—some of them even tend to overlap on occasion. You know how it goes, different versions of the Justice League operating with different missions, rosters getting shuffled around, various organizations with various interests pushing into various cities and planets. But the connection between the Justice League and the Titans is something special, even amongst all the competition. After all, no other team can boast that it was literally raised by the Justice League, right? Though with that status comes some—let's just call it baggage.
And baggage is exactly what we see the team dealing with in the brand new Titans #1 by Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott. After the very nearly apocalyptic events of Dark Crisis, we're faced with a world without a Justice League and a potentially dangerous lack of protection. Of course the Titans are the obvious choice to fill the void, but that transition is looking like it's going to be anything but easy, even if the team getting back together is full of a welcome and warm sense of nostalgia.
This lineup is bound to look extremely familiar to anyone who's ever picked up a Titans-related book before, or sat down and watched a Titans-related cartoon (and if you haven't what's stopping you? Teen Titans Go! is hilarious!) but there are a few faces missing. Garth, AKA Tempest (formerly known as Aqualad), is a fixture of this Titans generation, but when Donna and Nightwing swing by to recruit him back for another go-round, he all but blows them off. It's a pretty far cry from the Garth of 1999, during Devin Grayson and Mark Buckingham's spin on the title, who happily financed the reformation of the group with some recovered sunken treasure.
But Garth's odd behavior is nothing compared to the mystery that bookends Titans #1, which concerns the team's other mysteriously missing core member, Wally West, who is…well…
Let's just say he's not doing all that great, even as one of the fastest men alive. Dick points out that he's already agreed to join the team (though he won't be living at the newly reestablished Titans Tower, since he's got a wife and kids at home). But we, the readers, already know from the opening pages of the book that Wally has gotten himself into a spot of trouble and has been shot. No amount of super speed can save him, apparently, which is strange in and of itself—and it's stranger still that whoever "killed" him was able to, apparently, sneak up on him like that.
I put "killed" in scare quotes because I don't want to cause a panic. Wally's murder is a mystery, and the Titans happen to specialize in solving mysteries. After all, with someone like Dick Grayson as their leader, how could they not?
But there aren't many clues to work with just yet, so I'll keep my wild hypothesizing to a minimum and put my faith in Dick's skills as the World's Greatest Detective's protege to somehow save his best friend. It certainly won't be the first time (and probably won't be the last) that the Titans have had to pull one of their own back from a seemingly impossible brink! In fact, if that's the sort of story you're excited about, consider this an official recommendation for the JLA/Titans miniseries, The Technis Imperative, which features a similar scenario involving the one-and-only Vic Stone.
But that's where the Titans have always excelled—they’re more than a team. They've been a family since they were kids. They've literally and figuratively grown up together in real time. That's what makes them so special—and so different. But the other side of that coin is a level of vulnerability that other teams might not have. Problems with one Titan often means problems for all of them, and things get personal very, very quickly. It's hard to imagine a world where the team doesn't take Wally's apparent murder hard, and sometimes that sort of impact can make people sloppy. This may not be the ideal state of mind to solve a mystery in, which is even more risky when you consider Peacemaker and Amanda Waller seem to be on the Titans' trail for unknown reasons.
There's a whole lot of moving parts to uncover even in this first issue, and the possible fallout is already shaping up to be catastrophic. But what else could you expect from a team of legacy heroes finally getting the band back together?
Titans #1 by Tom Taylor, Nicola Scott and Annette Kwok is now available in print and as a digital comic book.
Mason Downey writes about comics, movies and superhero history for DC.com. Look for more of his work on GameSpot, IGN and Polygon and follow him on Twitter at @rustypolished.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Mason Downey and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros., nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.