Subway Shorts – Race of the Year

People are dashing all over the place, as Superman pops in for a guest spot in Titans to go for run with Wally West, while Batgirl and the Birds of Prey chase more surprising family connections.


Titans 7
Written by Dan Abnett
Art by Lee Weeks

titans-7The DC Comics rebirth has certainly shown a commitment to bringing back a sense of levity and a sense of awe to its characters, and that was on display in spades with this issue. Abnett’s Titans so far as been the story of the original Wally West’s return to the DC Universe, and how he’s dealing with losing his sense of place on this Earth. In this issue, he encounters the OTHER hero going through the same thing, and it creates several magic moments throughout the book.

After getting the word “MANHATTAN” from Abra Kadabra’s mind last issue – a probably tease towards the Rebirth Watchmen connection – the Titans spend most of the issue adjusting to their new home in New York City. Wally, Donna Troy and Roy Harper take down a new Metahuman threat attacking the City and when they finally take him down, the pre-Flashpoint Superman shows up to see if he needs some help. When he tells Wally that it’s good to see him again, it sets off a playful race across the country between the two old friends and former teammates, who use the opportunity to catch up.


Abnett’s Superman is how he should always be portrayed: the man all the others look up to, respect and turn to for advice. While Kal-El has mostly been isolated in Superman and Action Comics, he’s started to make guest appearances in other books – like here and in Nightwing a couple of weeks back – and it really shows a return to greatness for the first superhero. The sequence with Wally, including the race and a chance to discuss what’s been happening, helps set the stage for the future showdown with whoever has been messing with the time stream.

The interactions between Superman and The Flash aren’t the only fun parts of the issue, though. We also get a great sequence where Roy Harper and Donna Troy discuss Donna’s jumbled history and play up Roy’s nervous tics. The rest of the Titans are helping to set up the new Manhattan headquarters, and as Nightwing tries to finesse the team’s new attorney through what the building needs, Aqualad continues to complain about all the paperwork that’s needed.We even get cameos from Bumblebee and her boyfriend Mal, two former and likely future Titans, and a hit towards where the book’s opening metahuman threat came from.  It’s a series of small moments that really work well and no panels are wasted, even what should be throw-away gags.

I wasn’t fully sold on Abnett’s first Titans story, because Abra Kadabra was just a weak villain to carry 6 issues. But I wasn’t going to pass up a  guest spot from Superman, and Abnett won me over again here, so I’m back on board for the next story arc.

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey 6
Written by Julie and Shawna Benson
Art by Roge Antonio

bop-6The opening arc for the Birds of Prey comes to an end, and we finally have the team as it will be going forward in place. We also have intrigue as to what could be coming next for the team. And while I’m intrigued at the mystery that’s set up here, the direction was unfortunately somewhat predictable. Thankfully, the interactions between the team, written by Julie and Shawna Benson, really do save the issue and keep the story entertaining, which has been the hallmark of the series so far.

To wrap up the first arc, Batgirl sends Huntress and Black Canary to take down the mysterious Fenice, who has been using snake-based villains to commit heinous crimes throughout Gotham. Fenice is also, as it turns out, the long-thought-dead mother of Huntress Helena Bertinelli. While we discovered that with the cliffhanger at the end of the book’s previous issue, not everyone was in the dark with it.


Yeah, that’s the new Oracle, who is trying to get the team to trust him. He… didn’t really do a great job of that, putting the team in danger. But he ends up helping them in the end and Batgirl gives her conditional permission for him to use her old moniker as long as he doesn’t screw up again. Unfortunately, the last page of the story pretty much guarantees that he will, since he’s conversing with someone online about getting the team to trust him.

We also get more of Huntress’ family history, as we learn how her mother survived her apparent death when Helena was a little girl. Instead of letting her rage take over and killing her mother and her lover – the man who killed Helena’s father and brother – Helena turns Fenice over to the police and affirms her place with Batgirl and Black Canary.

The final issue in the first arc may be the weakest of the series so far, but it’s still pretty enjoyable thanks to the writing of the Benson sisters and Roge Antonio’s art really meshes well with the way Julie and Shawna Benson write. I think that my lack of connection with this issue comes from my lack of interest in Huntress – I’m much more invested in Canary and Batgirl than I am the third member of the team, and there’s been a lot of focus on establishing Bertinelli back in her superhero persona. Even still, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey has a pretty set place in my pull list because the book’s positives far outweigh the negatives.