Future State: Teen Titans #1 (March 2021)

Ruins

Writer: Tim Sheridan, Pencils: Rafa Sandoval, Inks: Jordi Tarragona, Colours: Alejandro Sanchez

When the original New Teen Titans formed a school to mentor and train young heroes, they wanted to help save the world. Years later, Titans Tower is a monument to a graveyard of pupils lost in a terrible battle. Returning to the site of their greatest failure, Nightwing, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Cyborg join Raven to plot a course to face off against the evil that destroyed their team and school. Loyalties are questioned and motives are suspect as the former teen heroes must turn to the mysterious Red X-a former student-for help. Don’t miss the first comics appearance of this Red X, previously seen only in the hit animated TV series Teen Titans Go!

DCCOMICS.COM official solicitation

The more of Future State you read the more confusing this DC filler event gets.  Was this really a failed reboot that was cancelled at the last moment? If it was then it could have been a DC killer.  One of the main draws to DC (and Marvel) comics is the idea of a shared universe.  Something in one book affects another, characters know each other, anyone could turn up anywhere.  With ‘Future State’ some books connect, some don’t and nothing seems to matter, there are no stakes to this story.  The Nightwing here clearly isn’t the same Dick Grayson we are seeing in the Bat books but this ‘Teen Titans’ is connected to both ‘The Flash’ and ‘Shazam!’ but even then doesn’t seem fit.

Which is a shame because Tim Sheridan is handling this better than other writers.  He is giving enough details via flashbacks to make the future story interesting.  The reader isn’t just being given a story out of context.  Something has happened in the past that has killed the majority of the Titans and and ravaged and flood New York. 

Sheridan is telling a Nightwing centric story with a ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ structure. The ‘Then’ is Nightwing’s failure where, while leading the classic Titans team, he fails to stop the catalyst for the disaster. The ‘Now’ is set up to be all about his quest for redemption. The mystery is how is Red X involved in both. Up until now Red X has been animation only character and this is the comic book debut.

In the ‘Teen Titans’ animated series Red X was an alias used by Dick Grayson when he need to go undercover and the scenario appears to be the same here. It’s Nightwing’s birthday and Starfire gives him the Red X mask as a memento of their shared past. As the story plays out, a mystery character has assumed that identity and is there when the tragedy happens. In the future story Nightwing has that same person locked up in a shadowy prison in the Titan’s safehouse. The cliffhanger see Nightwing release this new Red X and give them the mask back while putting on a Deathstroke mask himself.

Oddly enough, the motivation for Nightwing here is identical to his solo book, with even some of the dialogue nearly the same, but the stories aren’t connected. He’s tired and he’s going to do whatever it takes to win. The question here is who is this new Red X and are they a true villain. Also, what is the meaning of the Deathstroke mask.

With this story Sheridan has managed to make the best of a bad situation. He is ably assisted by Rafa Sandoval’s art. The Nightwing design is great with modernised looked to his classic costume. There are also nice subtle touches like Red Arrow having a Flash tattoo to mourn Wallace West.

This team are moving onto the new Titans book, ‘Teen Titans Academy’, when this is over so that future looks promising.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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