Titans United: Bloodpact #3 review

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Oh boy do I have thoughts for this one! This review is gonna be longer than usual because I have to address some problems here and, sadly, be critical of something that I still see great promise in! To recap a bit on the story, Titans United: Bloodpact takes place in a parallel world where Raven has basically become a God among mortals thanks to the Church of Blood. Tim Drake tries to return to his world by slowly getting his team back together, flooding their heads with memories of the timeline they all used to share.

Cavan Scott absolutely loves to throw us straight into the action and I’m here for it. The opening of this comic picks up in the middle of a fight and perfectly transitions from the previous issue. We get quippy lines and insane displays of their powers which is exactly what I’m looking for in a Teen Titans comic. So while I will be spending a “bit” of time talking about how this issue has dipped in the quality of its overall execution I do want to emphasize just how well-executed the action is. If you’re here to have fun and read about powerful characters in a dark and dominating world then by all means please keep your eyes on Titans United Bloodpact!

What I have a problem with is that this comic has started to tap into its story in ways that are both complex and shallow. When we’re not getting lost in the action the story proposes some really awesome concepts. I especially love the idea that because characters are existing in a different timeline their ability to remember what life was like before doesn’t magically erase the awful reality they currently live in. There’s so much you could do with that idea and there are already some character interactions that reflect the impact of “waking up” to the change in timelines. However the conversations around this idea are still shallow and only just point to the fact that this creates or aggravates conflicts which is such a shame because the amount of loss that characters have had to experience is omnipresent in the second issue. So why would this loss not consume their every thought like it did in the second issue? Why is it that there can be moments of silence when the fighting is put on pause instead of a deluge of questions where they unpack this incredible concept?

Spoiler

As for the way that Raven gets put to heel by Brother Blood. It’s a great scene where the art plays into the twist that Raven isn’t actually pulling the strings by having Raven dominate her introduction page and then the very next page she’s actually the one being dominated. However her warning to Brother Blood also lets us know that Raven was unaware that she was being manipulated which really complicated things. I’m gonna wait to see how they unpack this but for now it feels really unclear exactly how much control Raven has over her situation and how much she actually wanted to rule over everyone. Especially since she immediately takes control of Jinx to relay a message without the Brother Blood knowing.

While we’re here, why Jinx? Raven channeling herself through Jinx makes it feel like Raven knew where they were at all times and ruins the idea that the resistance was secluded and sneaky. They could’ve made it Starfire and say that the spell that was controlling Raven and Starfire also connected them enough for Raven to talk through her. This would’ve maintained the rogue elements of the resistance and established the powers of Brother Blood even more.


These criticisms also cross over to the world building of Lucas Meyer. Where I love the way that the action is presented in such a grandiose and tightly constructed manner but the actual world that surrounds it feels really generic. At first I thought that this was an intentional decision to isolate the world from the characters, accentuate the claustrophobia they feel, but this has not been maintained and therefore you’d expect to see more details in the background that point to the changes made by the Church of Raven. The only times we see these changes happen are when they’re “most important” for us to see but I would really appreciate some religious imagery depicting Raven or some propaganda here or there, some resistance graffiti, anything to chew on and make this worth a close read. So while there are standout moments that happen constantly throughout the comic there isn’t as much love and care put into the finer details.

The coloring doesn’t really have these problems in my opinion though because the art itself is incredibly intuitive and grandiose so Tony Avina seems to be having a field day making these dark action scenes shine, illuminated by the flashy colors of each hero’s superpowers. The colors make the details pop out and feel underlined by the shadow work which can be very rewarding during the big moments and a bit of an eye sore during the more restrained ones. While this is more the exception than the rule I do get this sort of plastic feeling from the art almost like I was looking at action figures but for the most part it is quite smooth with thick lines accentuating their bodies and powers. One tiny nitpick is that there is a small panel where Starfire’s hand is clenched and glowing green but the green color is so overpowering that it makes the panel really hard to decode.

The lettering by Carlos M. Mangual remains intact throughout this series with great placement making the art and action easy to follow while the sound effects created by the characters fit the pacing perfectly. I also am really happy to see that there are more instances where specific characters are given their own lettering and each time it looks really great, like a nebulous cloud containing ominous thoughts.

Recommended if:

  • Awesome looking action riles you up
  • The ideas behind timeline traveling sounds really cool
  • You are already enjoying the show and want to see these characters go on another really cool adventure

Overall

I was always hesitant about the story. The action has never been the problem and if you want to shut your brain a little and see some cool stuff then this comic is here for you. But this comic also invites you to think about so much more! The problem I’m really having is that from the writing to the art, it seems like your imagination is gonna have to do most of the heavy lifting if you care about these characters rather than just enjoying them when they’re flexing.

Score: 6.5/10


Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.  

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