The Titans are faced with the daunting task of saving over a million people from the effects of their Beast World transformations. The revelation that Doctor Hate is Raven’s dark other half adds a new level of danger and complexity to the already menacing threat. Dark Raven now possesses the Nightmare Stone and the powers of the Helmet of Hate, making her a formidable force.

The following contains major spoilers for Titans: Beast World #5, on sale now from DC Comics.

Over the past few months, readers have followed along as the world of DC Comics has been overrun by bestial versions of their favorite heroes and villains. Of course, all of this astonishing action has come at the behest of far more ominous figures than those who have taken to the spotlight. Now, the Titans have finally uncovered the threat lurking at the dark heart of this global catastrophe, and the truth makes both Amanda Waller and her Doctor Hate more dangerous than anyone could have possibly imagined.

Despite all the eponymous heroes’ best efforts, Titans: Beast World #5 (by Tom Taylor, Ivan Reis, Eduardo Pansica, Danny Miki, Júlio Ferreira, Brad Anderson, and Wes Abbott) finds over a million people still suffering from the effects of their transformations. When Amanda Waller prepares to unleash an army of drones to wipe out those affected, the Titans are forced to take over and avert the impending disaster by force. Though this does save more than a million lives, it also gives Waller every reason she needs to declare open war on the Titans. It is also the perfect opportunity for Waller’s most ominous creation to step out of the shadows, and no matter how bad Doctor Hate was already, the revelation that it is Raven’s dark other half beneath that inky black helm makes things infinitely worse.

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Much like the Rachel Roth or Raven of today, the original, Pre-Crisis version of the character was the daughter of Trigon, a powerful demon lord hailing from the interdimensional realm of Azarath. When this Raven made her first appearance in “Where the Nightmares Begin!” (by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, from the pages of 1980’s DC Comics Presents #26), she did so as an overtly ominous figure. Soon enough, the truth of her lineage was revealed, although the then-desperate Raven would find no help from the Justice League. Instead, she was forced to seek out and reform the Teen Titans to help fight against her father in what has become one of the team’s most iconic storylines.

The Teen Titans’ battle against Trigon certainly wasn’t an easy one for the young heroes, it was one they ultimately emerged victorious from in spectacular form. In the years that followed, Raven proved to be one of if not the most powerful members of the Teen Titans, not to mention someone whom the others could find a preternatural albeit occasionally unsettling sense of calmness. This helped to endear Raven to both her teammates and readers, yet her character was always more complex than she appeared on the surface, even at the best of times. As it turned out, this was largely because defeating Trigon was never going to be the end of the threat he and his influence posed, even if indirectly. Before long, the demonic nature and abjectly evil conscience buried deep within Raven took hold of her, bringing about the rise of her Dark Raven persona.

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While the current iteration of the Dark Raven saga has arguably had less importance than the Pre-Crisis era’s, there is no denying how Raven’s demonic lineage and the inherently evil influence she was born with have shaped her. Apart from the inner turmoil and personal dilemmas Raven has faced because of this deeply ingrained dichotomy, she has also fought literal battles against her villainous self. As of now, Raven’s dark other half is trapped within the enchanted Soul Gem she wears on her forehead. Or rather, that was the case up until sometime close to or slightly before the events of 2023’s Knight Terrors. As the living manifestation of all of Raven’s worst impulses, there is no telling how much damage the recently unleashed Dark Raven could do to the DC Universe. There is also the question of how exactly she managed to be freed.

As obvious as it is that she hasn’t been imprisoned within Raven’s Soul Gem for quite some time, there is no indication as to whether she accomplished that escape on her own or was helped by some outside force. Considering the effort that Raven went through to capture her demonic persona in the first place, let alone to keep her there for as long as she did, it is hard to imagine that Dark Raven freed herself from the Soul Gem without at least some amount of help. That being said, it is similarly hard to imagine how Amanda Waller or anyone else could have pulled off such a brazen jailbreak without Raven ever noticing that something had gone awry.

It is certainly possible that the Helmet of Hate that Waller acquired during the events of 2023’s Dawn of DC Primer Special Edition #1 (by Joshua Williamson, Leandro Fernandez, Daniela Miwa, and Troy Peteri) played some role in setting Dark Raven free, yet that doesn’t seem particularly likely given that she is the only character readers have seen utilize the Helmet so far. Then again, the question of how Dark Raven escaped her imprisonment or whether the Helmet of Hate played a part in that doesn’t matter nearly as much as the question of what she plans to do with her newfound freedom and the tools she has been given in the time since.

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The powers afforded by the Helmet of Hate might not be well defined, but it won’t be long before Dark Raven begins showing off exactly what they are. If that weren’t bad enough, Amanda Waller has also left the Nightmare Stone within Dark Raven’s possession. Unlike the Helmet of Hate, the powers of the Nightmare Stone have been put on full display for audiences to see during the events of Knight Terrors. It was then that the villainous Insomnia, himself an unwitting creation of the fallout of Lazarus Planet, thrust nearly the entire world into a horrifying slumber in which he could scour their dreams for the location of the Nightmare Stone. With the Nightmare Stone’s power, Insomnia sought to turn the world’s worst nightmares into living entities in the waking realm.

In the wake of Insomnia’s defeat, it seemed that the heroes had secured their future’s safety as far as the Nightmare Stone was concerned, though once it was made clear that Amanda Waller had acquired it, those hopes were dashed entirely. Now that the Nightmare Stone is in the hands of Dark Raven, any hopes of a future free from terror have been all but obliterated. It isn’t just that one of the most vengeful demonic forces to ever grace the DC Universe has laid claim to two of its most powerful evil artifacts that make things so scary, nor that she has the support of one of the world’s most untouchable figures.

Instead, it is the fact that Dark Raven has her sights set squarely on the Titans who, at this point, are the world’s foremost superhero team. If Dark Raven dismantles the Titans as Doctor Hate, she will have struck down what may as well be the last superhero team that matters. This isn’t to say that other heroes won’t join in the fight against her, but rather that the loss of the Titans would also be the loss of the DC Universe’s best chance at escaping both the wrath of Doctor Hate and whatever Amanda Waller plans on following it up with.

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“}]] DC Comics has finally revealed the identity of Amanda Waller’s Doctor Hate, who is more dangerous than anyone could have guessed.  Read More