It’s a Beast World, and we’re all just living in it. DC’s latest crossover event launches this week with Titans: Beast World #1, an epic new storyline written by Tom Taylor and penciled by Ivan Reis—so you know you’re in for a good time. When a creature known as the Necrostar sets its sights on Earth, it’s up to the Titans to protect the planet (don’t forget, the DC Universe is still without a Justice League). Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned and the encounter has serious repercussions for Beast Boy, to say nothing about the planet as a whole.
If you’re a DC fan, or even just a fan of the Teen Titans, you’re not going to want to miss this one. But before you grab the first issue, let’s bring you up to speed. If you’ve been away from DC’s titles for a while, or you just need a refresher, here’s a breakdown of all the events that brought us here.
Beast Boy Has Seen Better Days
Things haven’t been easy for Garfield Logan. During a recent confrontation in Dark Crisis #1, the Teen Titans’ longtime foe Deathstroke shot Beast Boy in the face. Thanks to his unique biology and some quick work from his teammates, Gar was able to survive the encounter. However, the injury has taken its toll on him. The physical and psychological damage from the gunshot has caused Gar to have difficulty controlling his powers. Beast Boy is unable to hold his animal transformations during critical moments, and other times he finds himself stuck in animal form, unable to change back.
Recommended reading: Tales of the Titans #4
Titans Leading the Way
For years the Justice League has led the charge during DC’s various crossover events. This time, it’s the Titans’ turn. The Justice League was killed in action during 2022’s Justice League #75 and returned to life during the Dark Crisis crossover event. However, the group has decided to temporarily disband so they can reassess their mission. With the Justice League gone, it’s up to the Titans to protect the world. Led by Nightwing, the group is currently operating out of Bludhaven. Beast World isn’t the first crossover event that the Titans have participated in, but it’s their first one where they are leading the charge.
Recommended reading: 2023’s Nightwing #100
A Problematic Eruption
Do you remember the Lazarus Pits? Those rare pools full of a mystical resin that resurrects anybody who bathes in it? Well, it turns out that the Lazarus resin can do so much more—like grant powers or transform artifacts. This wouldn’t be a problem as long as the Lazarus resin was contained to the pits.
In Batman vs. Robin #4 Lazarus Island was destroyed, resulting in a volcanic eruption. As a result, the Lazarus resin landed in various spots around the planet, causing a series of disturbing transformations. While the DC heroes were able to contain a lot of the damage, the repercussions from the eruption are still a major issue.
Recommended reading: Lazarus Planet
Trapped in Waller’s Web
Amanda Waller wouldn’t be Amanda Waller if she wasn’t up to something. Waller is taking advantage of the League’s absence to begin covertly hunting metahumans. She’s working with a mysterious group known as the Light, who viewers of Young Justice might recognize. While the DC heroes have been playing cleanup from the Lazarus Island eruption, Waller has been gathering resources. She’s put together a team of super-villains, promising them complete government pardons for any superheroes they kill. If there’s one thing we know about Waller, it’s that she’s used to getting what she wants.
Recommended reading: Dawn of DC Primer
A Hateful Helmet
This is where two of our threads come together. Remember when I said that the Lazarus Island eruption enchanted some artifacts? A piece of the Helmet of Fate was bathed in the Lazarus resin, transforming it into a dark Helmet of Hate. Amanda Waller was able to retrieve the helmet, which is anything but good news. Waller gave the Helmet of Hate to a mysterious, as-yet-unknown operative. Powered by the Helmet of Hate and Insomnia’s Nightmare Stone (from this summer’s Knight Terrors event), the operative takes on the identity of Doctor Hate. His first target is the Titans, and if his helmet is half as powerful as Doctor Fate’s, they’re in for a world of trouble.
Recommended reading: Knight Terrors: Night’s End #1
As you can see, things have been a bit crazy in the DC Universe. The Titans are being hunted by Doctor Hate, Beast Boy is losing control, and this is just the beginning. How do these plot points converge in Beast World? You’ll have to read the crossover event to find out for yourself. DC has been building to this for some time and the results are sure to be wild.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DC.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.