This didn't really feel like a good point to jump on if you're not familiar with Wally West. Although the name suggests this is a team book, this first volume is really all about Wally with the other Titans as supporting characters. Wally has reappeared after being stuck outside of time and everyone in his life forgetting about his existence. He is able to get his former team to remember him, but is unable to do the same for his former wife, Linda Park. Most of the book has the Titans trying to discover what exactly happened to Wally.
Wally's my favorite Flash (thanks in large part to the Justice League show), so I was happy to have him back in action, but I haven't really read much that featured Linda, so all the scenes about how much he missed her fell flat for me because I just didn't have any emotional connection to the two of them as a couple. His scenes with his friends worked much better for me because I'd read plenty of stories of them as a team. I'm not just how everything would work for someone new coming in because a good chunk of the story relied on nostalgia. However, the ending gives me hope that the story will be moving away from looking wistfully back at the past and instead focus on moving everyone forward.
It was great seeing the Titans back together, but I need more than nostalgia to keep me interested in the story. I'll definitely be checking out the next volume to see if we'll be getting a true Titans series that spreads the focus across the entire team.
Teen Titans Vol 1: The Return of Wally West
(Collects: Titans Rebirth #1 and Titans #1 – 6)
Disclaimer: This is my first Rebirth title so I did some background reading beforehand. All you really need to know if that this version of Wally West didn’t appear as a New 52 character and this storyline partially explains his reintroduction back into this timeline.
Turns out Wally had been cast into the speed force and wiped from the memories of everybody in this timeline, including his friends and former teammates, the Teen Titans. (They’re all grown up now so they simply go by the name Titans.)
Wally appears in Dick Grayson’s apartment. Dick, as Nightwing, doesn’t recognise him but a touch from Wally creates a spark which restores Dick’s memories of Wally. The rest of the team appear, with the intention of fighting the intruder, and one by one Wally’s touch reignites the memories of him with the rest of the team. This takes up most of the first issue, but it is an excellent introduction to the team, their bond, and their level of trust. The initial few pages show the solidarity of the team as they defend Nightwing from a perceived intruder. The rest of the issue is a great way of introducing the team and their previous incarnations through some very entertaining memories that also give an indication of the previous type of relationship each character had with Wally. My favourite is probably Dick’s, where Wally and Dick (as Robin) attempt to take the Batmobile for a joyride. The memory with Tempest/Aqualad is far more angsty, implying a different type of relationship between them.
One of my favourite issues of this collection is where he villain of the piece, a techno-mage from the future, recreates the old Teen Titans team to fight the Titans, so you get Nightwing fighting Robin, Arsenal fighting Speedy, etc.
One thing I must say, they eat pizza all the time! Really, those suits are tight and only Wally has a super-metabolism. Cut out the carbs, guys.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first dip into the Rebirth series. The villain is nutty as a fruitcake. Each member of the team are distinct and easily recognisable. The action moves quickly and seamlessly along and despite having little or no knowledge of their backstory I wasn’t lost at any point, which is kudos to Dan Abnett’s writing. Brett Booth’s artwork is bold and bright, and the characters are recognisable to other versions of them I’ve read. (A couple of times in the first issue Wally had a strange expression on an elongated face but I didn’t notice this in the later issues.) The use of unconventional shapes and placement of the panels kept the artwork fresh and interesting and helped with the flow of the story.
Ultimately this story is about the value of friends and family. It reminds us that love is more than just romance. For the Titans, it is a bond between friends and teammates that is more powerful than anything.