Titans Beast World Tour: Metropolis #1 is a three story anthology one-shot that gives a more in depth look at the state of Metropolis during DC’s current comic event, Titans Beast World. Not to be merely dismissed as another tie-in book of no consequence, the first story sets up events that will play out in Action Comics #1060 while the last story acts as another teaser for Joshua Williamson’s upcoming Brainiac crossover next year. This issue is also well crafted enough to stand on its own without having to read the Titans Beast World event.
Mikel Janin gives us the main cover which gives us a first look at Power Girl turned into a literal Flamebird. The trio of Supergirl, Dreamer, and Jon Kent appear to be fighting off an electric eel like creature as well as Power Girl’s phoenix-esque transformation. Strangely enough Supergirl doesn’t actually make an appearance in this issue, but it’s a nice addition to this action fueled cover.
The variant by Clayton Henry and Marcelo Maiolo focuses solely on Power Girl, or rather a version of Flamebird. It’s definitely a fascinating take on the Kryptonian legend and a clever way to use that bit of comic’s history in a modern tale. The crisp, realistic feel of Metropolis in the background adds a certain kind of ambiance as the city itself seems unphased by what’s happening to its superhero inhabitants. For how terrible the situation is, this cover feels very inviting.
Cully Hamner’s variant reveals the electric eel creature to be an infected Livewire on their variant. Fashioned after a tourist postcard or advertisement poster, Livewire erupts in electrical energy atop the Daily Planet building. Hamner’s font work gives it a retro look which suggests the image may have been inspired by a certain giant ape that climbs another famous building.
The first story entitled, “Primal Pain” is drawn by Fico Ossio and colored by Luis Guerrero. Each page is full to the brim with fantastic colors and splash scenes. The art creates a fast pace which adds to the urgency in which Dreamer and Jon are facing. There’s no rest for these two as time is not their friend and a monstrous Livewire stands to be a very big obstacle.
Nicole Maines has had a distinct privilege of being involved with every creative direction Dreamer has had in the DCU. With added assistance from Steve Orlando, and letter Rob Leigh, the writing duo brings us up to speed as to what happened to Dreamer after the events of Lazarus Planet. Her powers can now activate while she’s awake making her day-to-day life somewhat hectic. When a vision during morning coffee with a friend shows her Metropolis aflame, she calls on the Superman she’s had the most dealing with for aid. Doing so catches us up to the end of the “Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent” miniseries, and the two attempt to evacuate the sections of Metropolis from her vision. All seems to go well until Liverwire appears to go berserk as she gets infected by a Garro spore turning her into an electric eel monster. Having successfully saved the part of Metropolis under fire, we discover Amanda Waller has plans for Dreamer that will begin to unfold in Action Comics #1060.
Next up in “Turtle Boy“, Dan Jurgens, with letters by Dave Sharpe, takes the opportunity to revisit the most infamous of Jimmy Olsen’s Silver Aged misadventures by having the Garro spores turn him into a kaiju sized turtle beast. Featuring the artistic talents of Anthony Marques, Joe Prado, Wade Von Grawbadger, and colorist Pete Pantazis, the story actually unfolds around Bibbo Bibbowski as he does his best to do what Superman would do and help distract the giant Turtle Boy so Emil Hamilton can find a way to help Olsen. This is where the transformed Power Girl comes into play as Professor Hamilton discovers the spores desire the strongest of hosts. Although she’s already been infected and isn’t able to save her, Emil’s plan works to bring Jimmy back to his normal self. The art and story really feels like it falls into a Superman’s Pal: Jimmy Olsen adventure and it’s always fun to see things from Bibbo’s perspective.
“Don’t Stop: A Tale from the Beast World” is the final installment written by Zipporah Smith and Joshua Williamson with letters by Dave Sharpe. Lois and Clark keep in constant communication as she helps coordinate emergency relief from The Fortress of Solitude. There’s some great visuals by Edwin Galmon that adds a hefty dose of emotional weight to the story. The two of them end up fighting off a swarm of spores attacking the fortress who attempt to infect Superman. An unexpected power surge drives the spores away and Superman gets back to work around the globe. All the while, Brainiac watches and was the cause of Superman’s rescue as the spores interfered with his plans acting as another teaser for Joshua Williamson’s Superman/Action Comics crossover event next year.
Titans Beast World Tour: Metropolis #1 is a nice line-up of stories that not only fall into the DCU event but also continues developments within the current world of Superman. Being able to read it with no real context of the goings on in Titans Beast World makes it especially easy to pick up this issue with no obligation to the story it’s tied too, but followers of the crossover will have a better appreciation of how dire a situation our heroes are truly in within these pages.