This article contains major spoilers for “Titans” #6, on sale now.
Dan Abnett and Brett Booth’s “Titans” continues to be one of the central series for new revelations and developments concerning DC Comics‘ “Rebirth” timeline. In the latest issue, a fateful encounter in the Speed Force establishes a new status quo for Wally West, while a glimpse inside Kadabra’s mind ups the stakes for the new universe’s connections to “Watchmen.”
Friendship is Magic
“Titans” has been a de facto Wally West Flash series since its “Rebirth” relaunch, as the time-tossed hero has been re-establishing himself in the new DC Universe after having been erased during “Flashpoint.” Nightwing, Arsenal, Donna Troy, Tempest and Omen have played largely supporting roles to the drama between Wally, a Linda Park who does not remember their life together, and Kadabra, the villain claiming responsibility for these events.
Issue #6 doesn’t go against this formula.
After the events of last issue, this Flash has once again found himself one with the Speed Force, and without the “anchor” of Linda’s love to draw him back to the mortal realm, it appears he’s gone for good. But the manifestation of Linda in Wally’s heaven convinces him that, while their romance may not be “real” to the Linda back on Earth, there are other, equally important ties that can serve as the Flash’s anchor: his deep friendship with the Titans.
Speed Force Linda has some other advice, as well, which, depending on how literally Wally (and we the readers) take her, could simplify his post-“Rebirth” status quo. She tells him to let go of his memories of a life that will never be, and work towards a fresh start with the Linda of this brave new world. If this does indeed represent a clean break with previous continuity, it would streamline the concept for a character that at this point is almost necessarily complicated — he’s the Flash, but not the one starring in “The Flash,” nor is he the Wally West currently acting as Kid Flash, and so on. If Wally is truly moving on, this would cut out the “he’s in love with Linda Park, whom he shared a life with pre-‘Flashpoint’ and had superpowered children, but now none of that happened and he’s trying to woo her all over again” — or, at least, it would cut out him having to explain this every issue.
This would also fall in line with efforts to re-simplify elsewhere in the DCU, with an upcoming crossover in “Superman” and “Action Comics” likely sorting out the quagmire created by having the Man of Steel, DC’s foundational hero, a refugee from a universe that no longer exists.
After escaping the Speed Force, Wally makes a tentative pass at “real” Linda, and she seems amenable to maybe getting to know him — just so long as she doesn’t have to put up with superpowered craziness.
As for fans hoping to see more of the remaining Titans, the next arc brings in Deathstroke, who has a history as a core villain of the team from their teen days.
As the Flash claws his way back to reality, the Titans fight desperately against Kadabra. But as Omen reads the villain’s mind, her glimpse of Kadabra’s native future is as chilling as the one he hopes to create.
Omen sees that Kadabra is trying to build “a world that worships you because it is terrified of you,” but more interesting than that is that he’s doing this “to avoid a future that… that’s cold and joyless. Like a laboratory experiment. Like Clockwork.” Later, Omen says the prevailing thought in Kadabra’s mind is one word: “Manhattan.”
Kadabra strongly suggested in “Titans” #3 that he is a direct descendent of Dr. Manhattan of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ “Watchmen,” and he’s indicated several times that he’s no ally to whoever has been messing with the timeline.
So, sure, it’s bad that Kadabra wants to create a dystopian timeline in which he rules like a god, but it’s perhaps understandable that he would want to avert a future crafted by an emotionless, clockwork deity. Now the question becomes, if Kadabra cannot prevent this future, who will?
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