SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for "Titans" #1, on sale now.
In "Titans" #1, Dan Abnett, Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund have two entirely different goals to achieve. First, they need to introduce an in-continuity reason for how Wally West could have existed and then been forgotten for so many years. Second, they need to set up a plot to make the book involve all of the Titans, some sort of adversary beyond Wally's temporary erasure from the world. For eagle-eyed readers, there's a fair helping of both.
Do You Believe In Magic?
Wally West and his family have experienced their fair amount of disappearances over the years. Sometimes they've been displaced in time, other times they've been imprisoned and forgotten by the world. The Spectre itself even once erased everyone's knowledge of Wally West being the Flash. But of all of the different incidents, the one that's the most important is the vanishing of Linda Park. Back in 1998, Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn, Pop Mhan, and Chris Ivy gave us the long-awaited wedding of Wally West and Linda Park in "The Flash" #142, an event that had been built towards ever since Wally and Linda reconnected in the final pages of "The Flash" #61 some 6 years earlier.
More Classic Foes Are Back, Too
If that's not enough, the Titans spend most of the issue trying to track down Mammoth, and in the process learning that he's working for a fellow named Simon. Or rather, that's what they think they've been told, but it's really their old foe Psimon. Psimon and Mammoth are long-time members of the Fearsome Five, a group created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in "New Teen Titans" back in 1981. They're a group that's recurred as villains for the Titans over the years, sometimes connected to the demon Trigon, other times just being nasty and dangerous in their own right. And just like how the Titans back in the '80s were known for really feeling like teenagers, the Fearsome Five is probably best known for being bickering, fighting individuals whose real danger is their erratic behavior (just like most teenagers, when you think about it).
The Fearsome Five have actually already shown up in the New 52 continuity, back when "Forever Evil" kicked off. In addition to Mammoth and Psimon, this most recent line-up included mainstays Gizmo, Jinx, and Shimmer. But with neither Arsenal nor Donna Troy recognizing Psimon's name, it may put the Titans at a disadvantage; they still don't remember the Fearsome Five, but you can be all but certain that the Fearsome Five know the Titans and are ready for that next encounter.
With old foes coming out of the woodwork, some connected to Wally West's disappearance, others just being a part of Titans lore, Abnett, Booth, and Rapmund are doing a good job of giving readers a little something to latch onto all around. With a first issue that juggles big mysteries and new ongoing conflicts, "Titans" fans' biggest regret may end up being that the title is only monthly.