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“Titans” #2 Reveals Secrets of “Rebirth” as a Hero Falls

by  in Comic News Comment
“Titans” #2 Reveals Secrets of “Rebirth” as a Hero Falls

With Wally West’s return providing the emotional and narrative core of DC’s entire “Rebirth” initiative, “Titans” is primed to play a central role in unveiling the mystery of what exactly has been done to the timeline and what this means for the future of the DCU. In the second issue, written by Dan Abnett with art by Brett Booth, Kadabra unleashes (mostly) Wolfman/Perez-era doppelgängers on the modern Titans squad, revealing he knows a great deal about the fractured timeline, or thinks he does. In the end, a Titan falls to Kadabra’s crusade against the Flash.

Wally and Linda vs. Kadabra

Wally West and Linda Park’s romance was at the heart (pun intended) of most of writer Mark Waid’s acclaimed run on “The Flash,” with Linda often serving the anchor that would keep Wally from disappearing into the Speed Force forever. But when the couple finally tied the knot in issue #142, Kadabra kidnapped Linda and erased all memory of her from the timeline, with only Bart Allen, aka Impulse, remembering she ever existed. Eventually, Wally and a “dark” alternate reality version of himself came to the rescue.

Though this story arc isn’t brought up directly in “Titans” #2, there are several echoes of it. Early in the issue, Linda — who, following “Flashpoint,” still doesn’t remember her life with Wally but now recognizes him as someone who knows something about her — confronts Kadabra’s ersatz Kid Flash, only for the speedster to say he doesn’t have any idea who she is.

Later, Lilith recognizes the woman she’s just pulled out of the rubble as “Wally’s Linda,” which Evil Teen Lilith relays to Kadabra. The time-traveling villain is surprised by this news, saying “Park and West only meet years from now. I’ve read the chronicles.” That’s two revelations in one: somewhere, there is a chronicle of the Rebirth history, and, in-universe, the new timeline has already changed. This is reinforced when the villain rants, “Time is wrong. He must have broken history already.” Is “he” Doctor Manhattan, or is there another force at work, pulling the strings of Rebirth?

Love Rekindled, and the “Death” of a Titan?

The possible reunion of Wally and Linda isn’t the only romantic twist this issue. While under the influence of Faux Wonder Girl’s lasso, Arsenal confesses his love for Donna Troy. This succeeds in throwing the doppelgänger off her game, but also distracts the real, adult Donna. Roy and Donna had a brief romance early in the “Teen Titans” era, and their first date was explored in “Teen Titans: Year One,” but this revelation marks a significant shift in their present-day relationship.

Ultimately, Roy defeats Teen Donna and uses her lasso against her to reveal the identity of their adversary.

Kadabra has not been seen since “Flashpoint,” and like Wally, memories of him have been excised from reality. So even after Arsenal extracts the villain’s name, the Titans are not familiar with his powers. Nightwing warns them against attacking without knowing what they’re up against, but it arrives too late for Tempest, however, who is already confronting their foe. Kadabra announces his intention to “hurt Wally West dearly” by murdering his friends, and he strikes Garth with a blast of his M-Metal wand, with Wally arriving just a moment too late.

Is the blast fatal? Kadabra thinks so, and it doesn’t look good. But as the wand’s lightning strikes Garth, Wally’s Speed Force lightning crackles behind, intercepting them as the Flash attempts to tackle his friend out of harm’s way. There’s the possibility this energy saved Tempest, of course, and the truth will likely be revealed next issue.

On the other hand, early days of “Rebirth” are doing away with a lot of duplicates, from the New 52 Superman just before the relaunch, to New 52 Lois Lane in last week’s “Superwoman” #1, and so forth. Killing Tempest would make way for the New 52 Aqualad to more firmly take his place in Rebirth’s pantheon, if not in the actual “Titans” series, then at least in the role of next-gen water-based hero. Of course, there are still two Wally Wests…

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