I want to get this out of the way before I go any further: Jose Luis is NOT Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. Do not pick up “Titans” #15 expecting JLGL art. Jose Luis’s style runs a whole lot closer to that of Ed Benes, but a little more diverse — sometimes. The body types Luis uses here are more diverse, but then again, Krul’s story calls for four main characters: Tempest, Slizzath, Letifos, and Batman (the Dick Grayson version). Any readers familiar with Slizzath and Letifos know those characters are marginally human: Letifos is a shark-tailed mermaid while Slizzath is an undead amalgamation of things from the deep. Luis makes some odd paneling choices, with some diagonals for no apparent reason other than to have diagonals. Luis does have a great deal of potential to be a solid artist, but he needs to gain some confidence in his style and quit aping Benes’ style so closely. I look forward to his work on the Red Tornado mini.
Krul packs a lot of text into this issue, which is both good and bad. It limits the action of the story and the advancement of the characters, but it also allows anyone not familiar with Garth to catch up on the former Aqualad rather quickly. Floating a “Prelude to Blackest Night” banner across the cover is certain to draw in a new reader or two. Speaking of new readers, this title seems as though it is less “Titans” and more “Titans Spotlight,” which isn’t all bad, mind you, but it certainly is irrelevant to the cover, as none of the characters save Tempest appear inside this book save for flashback appearances.
This is far from a happy adventure, as Krul makes this issue an introspective downer for Tempest, who upon reflection, realizes his life has been mired in pain and agony. So what is character like that to do? Well, the end of the issue happens and leaves me surprised at Garth’s decision.
This book is far from the greatest comic of the week, but it does serve a purpose to re-introduce some forgotten heroes and foes back into the DC Universe, just in time for “Blackest Night,” an event seemingly custom-built for such a long-suffering character as Tempest.