When DC Comics relaunched its entire line in 2011, some titles came through more or less untouched (“Batman,” “Green Lantern”), while others were changed wholesale. The latter made the previous incarnations of “Teen Titans” almost impossible to carry forward; half of the characters no longer existed, and many of the others had brand-new, incompatible origins. Fast-forward four years and DC has tweaked some characters, launched titles set in alternate universes and — on the whole — made much more possible within the confines of its fictional setup. It’s with all of that in mind that “Titans Hunt” #1 launches this week. For the moment, though, this opening chapter of Dan Abnett, Paulo Siqueira and Geraldo Borges’ twelve-issue miniseries feels like its only hook is nostalgia for long-time fans.
“Titans Hunt” is named after Marv Wolfman, Tom Grummett and Al Vey’s infamous fourteen-part “New Titans” storyline from the early ’90s, which is the first hint this book is angling itself towards long-time readers. Those particular fans will almost certainly find it exciting as past Titans begin to surface — some of them exactly as we know them, some not quite as we last saw them and still others surfacing for the first time in the new continuity. It’s a strange combination of characters meeting for the “first” time and having their old codenames crowbarred into the dialogue. It’s not terribly exciting for new readers and, even for existing readers, it feels little more than a prolonged tease. Once you understand the basic structure of this issue, seeing the same type of scene play out four or five times gets a bit old. With “Titans Hunt” scheduled to run for twelve issues, it’s hard to keep from wondering if Abnett’s outline really has enough plot to sustain it for a full year if this first issue mines the same idea repeatedly.
Siqueira and Borges handle the art, and the shifting from one artist to another isn’t entirely graceful. There’s something odd about the best-drawn character being Gnarrk running a cash register; Siqueira gives us a body that is clearly hulking inside of its apron and sweatshirt, but doesn’t look ridiculously huge. On the other hand, the fight involving Dick Grayson and Garth is incredibly erratic and a little hard to follow. Not only does Garth look more like Nightwing than Aqualad, but Dick himself looks radically different as the fight progresses, which makes it that much more confusing. Hopefully, future issues will have just one artist, which should help with consistency. For the moment, there’s nothing bad in the visuals, but there’s little to stand out in an exciting way, aside from a caveman wearing a convenience store clerk outfit.
“Titans Hunt” #1 is a complete middle-of-the-road comic, but that’s not a good thing. If it was extremely good or extremely bad, it would at least be memorable, but right now it’s failing to make an impression, though die-hard “Teen Titans” fans will almost certainly come back for a second issue. Hopefully, things will shift for something a little more exciting next issue; a second issue at this level could scare off even more purchasers, because — right now –this isn’t standing out in a crowded marketplace.