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‘Titans #33’ (review)

Written by Dan Abnett
Illustrated by Bruno Redondo
Published by DC Comics


“Hey! I’m a big gun!”


Yes, you are, Natasha. Yes, you are.

Well, things are really coming together now.

After months of building out plotlines, and navigating tangles of character pathos, team building, and the occasional out-of-left-field head shot, the Titans are driving towards a resolution of a story more complex and intriguing than they ever could have guessed at – literally wading through armies of fantastical imaginary creatures and defenders to get there.

Last we saw of Unearth, the Titans had sealed it away in a pocket of reality along with what we, by now, ought to be correct in assuming is the split-off embodiment of Raven’s soul-self, despite a variety of confusions along the way to this point, including what appeared to be the remaining presence of Lord Prince Travesty on earth, enjoying himself in the bodyform of Rachel’s doppelganger.

Whatever the actual details of that story, it turns out Travesty didn’t remain on earth at all. Instead, it appears he has managed to return to Unearth somehow. And along with him, Travesty’s – and Unearth’s – living Creator, one-time author and current Supreme Imaginator of Unearth, Ernest Hinton.

Since then, Travesty’s been quite busy it seems, securing a power lock on the warring courts and factions of his unbound imaginary fantasy-world. And you’ll never guess who’s been helping him: Mother Blood, who it seems has been making the trip to Unearth along with her transmogrified vassal Blood Vessels for some time now herself, already.

How that’s happened exactly, and why she now needs the Titans in order to fully realize the scope of her plan does not become fully clear in this issue, but need them she does. Mother Blood knows exactly what she wants, and it’s a good bet it has to do with that dimensional portal and the Rubel-Irons capacitor that Mr. Ben Rubel has been left to watch over back on earth in the Hall of Justice.

The arc of Ben Rubel’s role with the Titans is still not fully clear. I continue to hold out hope that he’ll be upgraded in some errant bask of Source energy to join our team in more active fashion, rather than simply continue to hang around as some sort of off-hand de facto mascot (or, potentially something even worse). But in this issue at least, Ben finds himself stepping up to fulfill the rather satisfying task of helping the Titans navigating the perils of their current situation, by speed-reading the Chronicles of Unearth across the comms.

Which is a nifty device, and serves to emphasize the very intriguing premise of our current post-break-in-the Source wall adventure.

The whole concept of Source wall energy imbuing a common mortal with the power to create a completely new reality whole-cloth from the imaginative process of his storytelling, was a fascinating turn when it was first introduced way back in issue # 24. As much because it suddenly bumped up the scale of what our heroes were potentially dealing with, from anything we’d seen before.

But increasingly I’m beginning to wonder if it wasn’t the first signal of a much greater theme at play in the DCU right now. One that possibly ties into the apparently dynamic creative flux of Dr. Manhattan’s machinations on earth and in the lives of our heroes, and perhaps has something to say about the nature of creation, storytelling, and those of us who partake in them from beyond the bounds of what is created – and how the walls between all these may be beginning to break down, just as the Source wall itself has begun to.

If so, then kudos to Mr. Abnett for planting a first flag in that mix of narrative play, with the creation of Unearth and what is playing out now across the Bleed of the DCU as a consequence. At a meta-level it doesn’t get more well-conceived, and it’s a treat to see it charging ahead to its inevitable climax and conclusion.

How appropriate to have Raven at the center of it all, a girl whose magics tie her directly into the emotional fields of her reality. We’ll have to see just what’s in store for our empathic half-blood sorceress, but one thing is pretty clear by the end of this issue –

Whatever’s going on with Raven, is far more interesting than anything we’ve guessed at so far.

Next Issue: Raven, daughter of the Demon, Tri-going-going-gon.


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