Titans: Beast War World Tour – Central City #1 is an anthology comic published by DC Comics, featuring stories by several creators. The main story is written by Si Spurrier, art by Scott Koblish, and colors by Hi-Fi. “Gimmie The Volts” is written by Jarrett Williams, art by George Kambadais, and colors by Matt Herms. The third story is written by Alex Paknadel, art by Serg Acuña, and colors by Herms. “Invitation to the Speedster Ball” is written, illustrated, and colored by A.L. Kaplan. Letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. The speedsters of Central City are brought together to face Godspeed, and Iron Heights has become a zoo full of escaped animals.
This iteration of the World Tour tie-ins to Titans: Beast War has an entirely separate structure from the rest. It uses that format as a skeleton to break, utilising the multiple story concept but rearranging the order and the connection they have to each other. The main story, led by Barry Allen, Irey West, and Iris, serves as the sine of the comic. It launches the situation and sets a place where the characters are all aiming to be. Then, periodically, the book will split off to another set of characters, showing how they get involved and pitting them against the beasts. Between each offshoot, the comic returns to the main story, progressing it further before moving to the next segment. So, instead of being small individual tales from the Beast World, it all works towards one big one.
Those stories have their own writer, leading to unique qualities within each of them. As they play out, the transformed, extremely dangerous Godspeed or another threat enters and escalates the situation, drawing the hero towards the common goal. Once this structure is figured out, it is surprisingly simple to follow. Having Spurrier as the lead grants the book the ability to fit tonally with the main Flash comic, and the same can be said for the creators in some of the other tales. The ending carries the shared energy of all of the characters and is also very satisfying, with all of the elaborate storytelling being used at its highest potential.
The character development is fascinating within this anthology. Spurrier uses this tie-in as an opportunity to address some of the sub-plots within the main series, notably Barry. He seems incredibly insecure and lost within himself. Wally is now faster and has the mantle of the Flash, causing conflict within the man who raised and trained him. He wants to stay still, stay with Iris, but the danger will force him to run. Enter Irey, Wally’s daughter, a youngster with nothing but tenacity and an untameable desire to help. This is a duo that has never worked together, and Barry learning about one of the youngest members of the Flash Family is adorable. The book does not carry all of the haunting creepiness of the main book and demonstrates Spurrier’s ability to also have fun.
That is boosted with the help of the other writers. Williams carries the chaotic connection that Kid Flash and Avery Ho are building in Speed Force. Paknadel explores a first date between two of the most pivotal characters, Irey’s brother Jai and Animal Man’s daughter Maxine. Finally, Kaplan includes the Pied Piper and Circuit Breaker. They may not fit the speed and the energy as the others, but that is largely why they are featured. The tie-in grabs an interesting group of characters, largely the younger members of the family and outsiders. It’s a brilliant demonstration of the new generation, not just the old guard that has been around for decades.
The art is a brilliant combination of styles. The art also attempts to use the same interlocking concept the writing does. The artists in their own stories are given the freedom to express themselves, with Koblish then taking over to bridge them all together. While the art has similar themes, they don’t all look the same. All of them prioritise energy, crucial in a comic filled with speedsters, and it generates immeasurable chaos. In addition, many of the artists make the younger group as expressive as possible, with larger eyes and mouths. How they differ might be even more fascinating as it is often an equivalent fight to the others, just interpreted in new and inventive ways by the artists. Some incredible set pieces highlight just how much these younger characters are starting to come into their own.
The colors also fluctuate due to the separate creators involved, but never to the point where one story overthrows the connecting portions. In the main story, the intensity of the red and yellow that accompany the Flash is instantly recognisable, and the tone keeps us aware as to when the stories have switched. But all the colorists are terrific, embracing the abundance of bright lightning that is necessary. The lettering has some inventive moments, especially when it comes to how the SFX is used in the fight scenes.
Titans: Beast War World Tour – Central City #1 reinvents the anthology format. The idea of threading and interlocking the stories requires a remarkable team effort that is achieved spectacularly. The whole book is a collaborative project, demanding communication from the creators. The individual stories that could be found in the two previous World Tour comics were more generous to creators wanting to tell their unique tales. However, this is perhaps more experimental, which was also a remit of the series. Spurrier is the conductor for this masterful composition, and the editing team deserves enormous credit, too. Featuring connections to ongoing series also makes the book feel like an extension of the event and the ongoing titles, whereas the smaller, standalone chapters lack association and consequence.
Titans: Beast War World Tour – Central City #1 is available where comics are sold.
Titans: Beast War World Tour - Central City #1
Titans: Beast War World Tour – Central City #1 reinvents the anthology format. The idea of threading and interlocking the stories requires a remarkable team effort that is achieved spectacularly. Featuring connections to ongoing series also makes the book feel like an extension of the event and the ongoing titles.