Warning: we're about to spoil parts of Titans: Beast World #1 if you keep reading.
Even for those who had seen advance press for DC’s new superhero event storyline, it’s likely that they’ll come away from the first issue of Titans: Beast World surprised about what the story is actually about — and who the real villain of the whole thing actually is.
Announced back during San Diego Comic-Con this past summer, Titans: Beast World was initially described as the Titans — now DC’s premiere super-team as part of the 'Dawn of DC' era at the company — leading the fight against the Necrostar, an alien threat that was described “far more frightening” than long-standing cosmic threat Starro the Conqueror. But, that initial announcement teased, Garfield Logan (AKA Beast Boy) might be “doomed to become the greatest threat to the DC Universe” as a result of the struggle.
So far, so misdirect. If nothing else, the idea that Gar Logan — a beloved character for decades thanks to multiple incarnations in the mainstream comic line, DC’s popular YA books centering around Beast Boy and Raven’s romance, and the Teen Titans Go! animated series — might turn out to be the villain of the story was a potent one filled with potential angst both on behalf of the characters ('How can I fight my friend?!' is a concept that rarely disappoints, let’s be honest) and the readers, who might have to say goodbye to one of their favorites for the foreseeable future, if not for good. (It is, after all, superhero comics; no-one goes away forever.)
Here’s the thing, though: neither the Necrostar nor Garfield Logan are the villain of Titans: Beast World.
It’s not the promised onslaught of familiar DC characters transformed into animals, either; while the sight of Black Adam as half-man, half-lion is both entertaining and somewhat fitting considering the Marvel Family of old also includes Tawny Tawny, and doubtlessly a novel hook for the event as a whole, the animalized DCU has always been a thrilling diversion away from what the story is all about… and what the story is all about, judging from the first issue, is something that DC has been teasing for awhile: the rise of the Trinity of Evil.
The missing ingredient from the pre-release promotion about Titans: Beast World is that Garfield Logan’s fall from grace isn’t an accident — and it’s also not the result of any effort from the Necrostar, either. Instead, it’s the fallout from an attack directed by none other than Amanda Waller, for reasons as yet unknown. (It is, after all, only the first issue.) That one fact means that Beast World isn’t exactly the story that it was advertised by, but part of something far larger… and arguably a more complex political story than it first seemed, as well. After all, why is Amanda Waller seemingly working against humanity’s best interests? And if she’s behind what happened to Beast Boy, does that mean that she’s got a larger plan for everything that follows, as well…?
Moreover, the 'how' of Waller's attack on Beast Boy is, in itself, a sign that something bigger is happening - Waller doesn't attack Beast Boy directly, but uses Doctor Hate to do so. 'Doctor Hate?' you might be asking yourself, if you didn't read the end of DC's summer 2023 event, Knight Terrors. The climax of that event introduced the new villain, who just might be an old DC character with a score to settle, using literal dream magic to do so. So, Titans: Beast World indirectly becomes a sequel to Knight Terrors... and perhaps a middle chapter in a trilogy of events...? We do know that Waller and the Trinity of Evil are destined for bigger and worse things, after all...
The fun part about this reveal is that it deepens the story, but still allows for everything that we thought we were getting to still happen. After all, Garfield Logan has still broken bad, no matter the reason — and his friends (and fans) have to deal with the fallout of that. It’s just that we as readers know that there’s more going on than met the eye, and we get to anticipate part of the story that all the heroes have no idea even exists just yet: the discovery of what’s actually going on, behind the scenes.
Think of it as the ultimate event storyline experience: if you want mindless carnage, you’ve got it — but for those who feel a need for some order behind the chaos, there’s there as well. It’s just that not everyone knows that just yet, is all. Again… it’s only the first issue. Let’s wait and see who knows what when the dust settles in January 2024.
Titans: Beast World #1 is available now. We’ve got a rundown of all of the remaining issues in the storyline right here.
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