Titans #15 review

It's the return of Tempest, and he's fighting his friends the Titans? How'd that happen?

It doesn't. Taking the idea of a symbolic cover to the extreme, Angel Unzueta and Wayne Faucher give us a moment representative of the insides only in so much as the interior features a) Tempest and b) the ocean.

Still, I'm keen to find out how Garth went from being a powerless, non-water-breathing old guy, in the last Aquaman series, to his magical, groovily be-gilled young self again, as seen in Final Crisis.

Oh, we don't get that either.

OK, but won't it be great to see him reunited with wife Dolphin and baby Cerdian?

What? Killed off panel and sleeping with the fishes?

Might I say that this isn't the most satisfactory Garth tale ever? In one fell swoop he's dialled back about a decade, to where he was before Peter David had him wed Dolphin - not some red shirt player, but a onetime star of her own strip. Hell, why not go the whole hog and give him back the blue shorts, permed hair and call him Aqualad?

At a guess, I'd say the steamrollering of Garth's recent past is to free him up to lock lips with the zombie corpse of Tula, Aquagirl. Perhaps Dolphin will turn up too, and we'll get an underwater zombie catfight - who doesn't love an underwater zombie catfight?

Whatever the case, this is a depressing episode, which acts as a useful Tempest primer, demonstrating the shabby treatment he's generally received (Phil Jimenez's mini series being a notable exception) and redoubling it. It's only a Titans tale in that Tempest is a sometime member, and he seeks out Dick Grayson for advice. Writer JT Krul produces a worthwhile scene here, showing their brotherhood and leading to an interesting change in Garth's status quo. A shame his family had to pay the price . . . it's not even as if something this tragic happening to a Titan is original - Donna Troy's family died off-panel years ago.

The art is tremendous, Jose Luis and JP Mayer rendering a suitably haunted Garth, and presenting a fine action sequence. They produce especially fine mermaids, and even remember that hair moves in the water; if Garth ever gets another mini I'd be delighted to have this pair aboard, along with colourist Edgar Delgado, who adds such subtle touches as light sources in the water, and tones to indicate magic weaving.

So yes, Tempest's back - anyone care to explain how?