“Titans of Tomorrow Part One: Big Brothers and Sisters”
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: McKone (p) and Alquiza (i)
Our heroes return to the Titans Tower from their time traveling trial, but something about the world they return to is off. Way off.
This is a by the numbers “dark future” scenario, reminiscent of any number of Star Trek plots, or perhaps an Exiles story. The clear conceit here is the difference between the actions of people who look familiar, and the mistake in trusting them not to have darker motives.
What sells it, however, is how each character choice reflects on the state of our current heroes, and the pervasive mood of tension and suspense. Johns and McKone make an excellent team on slowly revealing this creepiness to the reader, if not the young Titans. McKone does it by posture, by serious expressions and an altogether gloomy mood. Jeremy Cox’s colors also emphasize the bleakness. McKone’s updated costumes for the future Titans are subtly encoded references to the larger DC-verse.
Johns does it by artfully positioning those future versions as a team. Tim as Batman is, if anything, darker and more ruthless than the regular one, and willing to deadly force. The future Wonder Woman and Superman make a horrifyingly imperial couple, and Flash and Aquawoman seem ruthlessly efficient as well.
The telling absence of counterparts for Vic and Starfire are among the clues leading to a shocking (and, typically violent) revelation on the final page.
Not as interesting:
The feral Beast Boy is a cliché. Unlike the re-imagined Duela Dent, he’s just a stock character in an otherwise creative dystopia.
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