Titans #16 Review: The End Of (Older) Wally West?

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Kid Flash, aka the younger Wally West, feels a calling and runs to join the Titans in their time of crisis.

Unfortunately, the Flash, aka the older Wally West—appears to be dead. His heart gave out as he saved Nightwing's life from the possessed Psimon, Herald, and Gnarrk. Their plan is to cause the Titans as much pain as possible in order to summon their master. The young heroes are somehow conduits for this unknown force.

The Titans fight back in their grief for their dead friend, but will it be enough to stop the plan of this unknown entity?

Titans #16 cover by Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, and Andrew Dalhouse
Titans #16 cover by Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, and Andrew Dalhouse

Elephant in the room first: no, I don't think the Flash is dead. I don't think this book, which is mostly centered around his return, would go through the trouble of doing that. This is of course couples with DC Universe: Rebirth, written by Geoff Johns and functioning as the flagship book for the Rebirth initiative, centered around the return of the older Wally West.

So, that does make this an unconvincing red herring, but I don't hate how it functions in this book. It's difficult to be sad about a death you don't buy, but it is possible to be engaged by the characters' reactions to the alleged death if you feel a connection to the character.

As such, the grieving lashings out of Donna Troy, Nightwing, Arsenal, Bumblebee, and Tempest do allow for an emotional connection to the possible demise of the Flash.

That's important because, otherwise, I would be simply annoyed by this pantomime of a hero's death.

While the plot is largely engaging thanks to the raging and grieving heroes and the building mystery of who Psimon is attempting to summon, it does stall out about midway through. It turns into Psimon, Herald, and Gnarrk repeatedly talking about how the Titans are the conduit, their pain is how they'll summon their master, rinse, wash, repeat.

It gets to be tiring, and that's not a good thing when your book is reaching a dramatic climax.

The Key and Mister Twister show up too, and they just repeat the same schtick.

If I were cynical, I would say this is likely done because of unexpected pacing issues and attempting to save the big reveal for the end of the issue. Unfortunately, I am cynical, and I am saying that. It's painfully obvious, and it's a rookie mistake.

Titans #16 was good outside of that, and I do not mean to disparage Dan Abnett as a writer. He's a phenomenal comics' scribe, and both this title and Aquaman are among the best of DC's output at this moment in time. Everyone makes mistakes and has a bad day every once in a while.

This issue isn't even bad with that flaw. Like I said, it's hard to not get absorbed by the pain and fury of the Titans as they morn the Flash. This story has been set up well outside of the stalling out, and I was really excited and impatient to find out who the mystery villain was.

Titans #16 art by Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, and Andrew Dalhouse
Titans #16 art by Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, and Andrew Dalhouse

Brett Booth continues his streak of solid work on Titans with another great-looking comic with the style and personality worthy of a comic about the Titans. There are a couple of really solid two-page spreads here that make use of every square-inch. Admittedly, there are a couple of moments where Nightwing and Donna Troy's bodies are making some odd poses, but those points are few and don't overshadow the good art in the rest of the comic.

Andrew Dalhouse puts in good work on the color end of things too, using a darker palette for the ominous proceedings.

Despite pacing issues that end with villains sounding like tapes stuck on repeat, Titans #16 is still a solid comic. The stakes are high, the tension is mostly there, and the art is still good. I can recommend this one still, even if it's not as strong as previous issues of the series. Give it a read.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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