Warning: Spoilers for Titans: Beast World #5 ahead!
DC’s Beast World event is a battle between two conflicting visions for DC’s future: one espoused by the Titans and the other better befitting filmmaker Zack Snyder’s vision of the Justice League. While the Titans represent the modern, compassionate vision of heroism, Amanda Waller lays out her intent for the Beast World cataclysm in a speech that sees her advocating the cynical values of the “Snyderverse” series of DC films.
Nightwing finally confronts Waller in Titans: Beast World #5 by Tom Taylor, Ivan Reis, and Eduardo Pansica as he tries to dissuade her from slaughtering millions of Garro-infected civilians across the globe. To his horror, Waller reveals that she doesn’t care if the infected can be saved or not, laying out her goals in a chilling speech: “Humanity doesn’t want heroes. Perhaps we did once, but not anymore. People don’t want saving. They want to see punishment.”
Before Waller can continue crowing over the success of her plans and the murder of Beast Boy, Raven arrives in a fury to cut her off. Despite the brevity of her speech, her intentions are clear — and clearly opposed to the Titans’ core ethos.
As they assert themselves at the front lines of the DC Universe, Nightwing and the Titans have officially surpassed Batman and his Justice League.
DC’s Beast World Event Boils Down to Cynicism vs. Compassion
Synder has become infamous for his take on the superhero film genre, populating his Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021) with grim, reluctant takes on DC’s classic characters. Snyder’s cynicism is embedded in his take on superheroes, and that cynicism is made clear not only in the narrative choices of the film, but its bleak aesthetics as well.In an article for GQ, Snyder explains how his vision for the Justice League would see them growing even more corrupt, with Superman falling to Darkseid in a moment of hopelessness and them taking over the world.
The Titans took the place of the Justice League — with Superman’s blessing — after the events of Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths by Joshua Williamson and Daniel Sampere.
Waller’s words to Nightwing in Beast World feel appropriate to someone taking up the mantle of Synder’s “heroic” ethos: she believes that society doesn’t want heroes, only to see the punishment of those deemed guilty. This vision of justice without compassion, seeing great evil matched only by an equally great display of force, is particularly embodied by Snyder’s lethal Superman. Nightwing and the Titans, on the other hand, are attempting to solve great injustices without falling prey to their own personal corruptions. This has been the core thesis of the ongoing Titans series, also written by Taylor.
Nightwing and the Titans Represent DC’s Hopeful Dawn
Popular opinion seems to be veering away from a grim vision for the DC Universe: for example, Taylor’s recent runs on Nightwing and Superman: Son of Kal-El have been lauded for bringing heart and compassion back to the protagonists of each series. A number of other series from 2023’s Dawn of DC initiative also have a brighter, more hopeful tone. The Titans’ ethos is not one of punishment of the guilty, but one of help and compassion for those who are struggling. In this way, they have become the direct opposite of Snyder’s dark Justice League.
Titans: Beast World #5 is available now from DC Comics.
TITANS: BEAST WORLD #5 (2023)
Writer: Tom Taylor Artists: Ivan Reis, Eduardo Pansica Inkers: Danny Miki, Júlio Ferreira Colorist: Brad Anderson Letterer: Wes Abbott Cover Artists: Ivan Reis, Danny Miki, Brad Anderson
“}]] Amanda Waller would be at home in the Snyderverse. Read More