Subway Shorts – July 31, 2016

Three more comics read on the subway ride home yesterday, with two featuring guys who run really fast.

Titans 1 
Written by Dan Abnett
Pencils by Brett Booth
Inks by Norm Rapmund 

The DC Rebirth one-shot that kicked off this new initiative for DC Comics focused on the original Wally West, who hadn’t been seen in comics since the new 52, and how he managed to make it back to reality. Wally, a popular character whose absence was noticeable the last five years, claims that something or someone altered things, taking years away from everyone’s life and making them forget what things were like. We were led to believe that someone was Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan from the end of Rebirth. But from the ending of this issue, things may not be so cut and dry.

The first issue sees the rest of the older Titans trying to help Wally figure out what happened. Omen probes his mind – and possibly creates the story arc’s antagonist – to get more information while Arsenal and Donna Troy beat people up for information. Meanwhile, Nightwing orders everyone around and Aqualad suggests they rename the threat after a dolphin that was mean to him… Not exactly the most useful suggestion.

Titans is supposedly going to be the book that follows the threads of Rebirth, but I’m not sure I see that amounting to much, especially this early. The pages used to recap DC Rebirth could have been better used to flesh out the story instead. No one reading this issue is unfamiliar with what’s been happening in DC Comics over the last few months. I may lay off the Titans book for a little bit and come back to it once the “Return of Wally West” story has finished.

The Flash 3 
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenica 

While Wally West is back with the Titans trying to figure out what happened to him, his mentor, Barry Allen, is dealing with his own problems. Seems as though a science terrorist group has unleashed the Speed Force on Central City, and now dozens of people are running around the city at superspeed.

The action is ramping up this issue, even though a good chunk of the story deals with Barry figuring out what to do with all these people running around. He stops a superspeed robbery and then discusses training with a new researcher at STAR Labs. I remember when Flash dealt with threats that had something other than superspeed, but maybe The Flash TV show has ruined that for everybody. Now, there’s another speedy big bad, and I’m sure we’ll get to know more about him and his groan-inducing name next issue.

This issue felt like it was paced a lot better than the Titans issue, stuffing a lot more into the usual page count, which makes for a much more enjoyable reading experience.

Future Quest 3
Written by Jeff Parker 
Pencils by Aaron Lopresti and Steve Rude 
Inks by Karl Kesel and Steve Rude 

Future Quest is part of the new modernized Hanna Barbera line of comics that also includes a new Scooby Doo concept, an updated Flintstones and a modernized Wacky Raceland. While the other books focus on one property, Future Quest takes several adventure and sci-fi concepts and puts them together in a shared universe. The first two issues have introduced us to Johnny Quest, Birdman, Space Ghost and the Herculoids, and fleshed out the threat the future team is dealing with.

The third issue is usually a bit early for something that feels like a fill-in issue the way this one does. We take a break from the action for two origin stories about the Herculoids and Birdman. I assume, though, that Jeff Parker is working towards building a new universe here and, without the benefit of a Zero issue or a Rebirth prequel, you need to work your background in whenever you get the chance.

The new Hanna Barbera comics have shockingly been a lot of fun, and Future Quest is probably the best of the bunch. The mythology Parker quickly created is new and familiar at the same time, playing to each characters’ strenghts without resultng to grmdark stuff. Future Quest is absolutely worth the $3.99.