“When Doves Cry” is an absolutely fitting title for this issue of the most exciting “Blackest Night” spin-off story. Doves learns of her role in this battle with the Black Lanterns, and I must say, I didn’t expect it. I also didn’t expect what was waiting for me as I turned the page. A master stroke in this story, delivered outside the main action.
With Halloween just days away, what could be better than a zombie story in the DCU? Yes, I know these aren’t truly zombies, I’m simplifying. At any rate, the images conjured by these former Titans — friends, teammates, lovers — are not going to fade from the minds of the characters any time too soon, as Donna Troy herself declares in this issue. Panel for panel, this story feels like an extra issue — a second feature to use the contemporary lingo of the publisher — of the main story. A lot is revealed here, and a lot of the “Blackest Night” story comes across here, as we see the Black Lanterns’ “reads” of the Titans in battle. Hi-Fi’s application of the emotional spectrum is appreciable here, giving the story an added depth. Occasionally, however, the extreme coloring does tend to drop out some detail, as evidenced with Holly Hawk trying to reach into Dove. I’m not sure what part of Dove Holly was attempting to breach, but the story surrounding this moment made it clear that the “where” didn’t matter quite as much as the result.
Benes’ art is just about as good as it has ever been in this issue. While Benes still manages to find ways to play up the sexuality of the females, he also manages to tone it down in some areas, choosing to focus on Titans and action rather than the other “T&A”. The end result is a book that looks like it was drawn by a studiomate of Ivan Reis, with the two artists collaborating between “Blackest Night: Titans” and “Blackest Night.”
Krul has been the best thing to hit the Titans franchise in a long, long time, maybe since the franchise had new life imbued in it via Cartoon Network. He “gets” the characters, especially in the situations “Blackest Night” drops on them. Donna Troy reacts as a warrior would, but manages to maintain the emotions that made her a fan favorite character for decades. Unfortunately, Krul only has so many pages to work with and isn’t able to devote pages to every character, but he does make a valiant attempt to let each character shine, adhering to advice Len Wein once gave about writing team books. DC would do themselves a great favor if they made Krul an offer and gave him a chance to write a regular Titans title. It’d be enough for me to check it out. Of course, if it featured some of these characters and/or art by Benes, then it’d be a lock.