Overview: The Titans face off against fictional creatures who have invaded San Francisco.
Synopsis (spoilers ahead): The issue begins with a goblin and demon-like figures appearing through a portal into San Francisco. The Titans respond to the ensuing chaos, with Miss Martian still benched on Nightwing’s orders. Raven and Steel run across an elderly man named Ernest Hinton in the park as Miss Martian speaks with Martian Manhunter about her frustrations with Nightwing not accepting her on the team yet.
A pack of demon creatures attacks the Titans, with the old man looking on in disbelief as he recognizes the demons as “Urkesh” from “UnEarth”. Beast-Boy takes on a dark unicorn. The goblin-creature from the beginning of the issue appears as Seneschal Prince Travesty of UnEarth to Nightwing and Raven, and Raven warns that he is not what he seems. As Steel takes on the unicorn, Donna Troy and Miss Martian speak with Hinton and it is revealed that the creatures are characters he created years ago in a series of fantasy novels. Donna and Miss Martian figure out that the creatures are being created by a meta-change in Ernest’s mind and that have brought his imagined world to life.
While Ernest shakes hands with one of his creations, Miss Martian offers to telekinetically remove the energy causing Ernest’s powers from his mind. Nightwing orders Miss Martian to go through with her plan and with Raven’s assistance, Miss Martian purges the energy and the creatures disappear. Raven explains that the world Ernest created now may exist somewhere else but that it is cut off from their world. The story then cuts to Ernest’s apartment where Seneschal appears, explaining that someone has taken his place, and the issue ends with Raven trapped in UnEarth.
Analysis: The idea of a superpowered imagination unleashed on the world isn’t really a new one, but there are some interesting ideas put forth in this issue that I’m curious to see play out in the next issue. I like the idea of the Titans, who tend to face more science fiction-based threats, dealing with the world of swords and sorcery. I hope that we get to spend some time in UnEarth as the story goes on. I also liked that the Ernest character was against the idea of his creations being unmade and I wouldn’t mind seeing him turn into a more of an active villain as this story goes along as that would be a fun contrast to how harmless he seems in the issue.
I do hope that the Nightwing/Miss Martian conflict doesn’t last much longer. It feels forced and just doesn’t need to be there and I think there are more interesting ways to bring conflict into the team then the “I don’t trust the new girl” storyline we have here. I feel that it would have worked better for Nightwing, a consummate team player, and leader, to be the one advocating for Miss Martian while the rest of the team was having issues trusting her.
The art team of Brent Peeples on pencils, Matt Santorelli inking, and colorist Ivan Plascencia do a great job with the large cast of characters and render the fantasy-based characters of the story very well, but I did keep noticing a lack of background in the story.
This was an enjoyable issue, but I did find that it lacked a sense of urgency and without seeing what the script called for, it is hard for me to put the blame on the artist. I think if you’re going to delve into the world of swords and dragons, you have to make the scope of the story feel more epic then what is presented here. There are a lot of panels of Seneschal standing around, not really doing anything and there’s a curious lack of showing the threat that the Titan’s are facing. A few splash pages of creatures surrounding and attacking the team would have added to the stakes of the issue and would have made Nightwing being forced to rely on Miss Martian.
Final Thoughts: While I feel that this story should have larger in scope, there are some interesting ideas and I’m curious to see where the story is going.