Titans No. 32 review: Discover the origins of Mother Blood


The Blood Cult have been background players in the Titans series, but in the latest issue they come to the fore with the origin story of the enigmatic Mother. What are her plans for the Titans?

Titans No. 32

Writer: Dan Abnett

Artist: Clayton Henry

Covers by: Clayton Henry, Dean White, Philip Tan, Elmer Santos

TITANS #32 cover by Clayton Henry (Credit: DC Comics)

The Titans finally got a lead on the possible whereabouts of the Blood Cult in the previous issue of the series. A mysterious phenomenon took over Beast Boy and proceeded to tell them that the Cult were planning an attack on the new-found dimension of Unearth.

In Titans No. 32, readers are introduced to the figure known so far only as Mother, and an inkling into her overall plan for the titular team. This issue is almost completely devoid of the Titans – the focus is on the Blood Cult’s inner workings, as well as what their connection to the Source Wall Energy is. How does Unearth figure into all this? The seeds for an epic showdown are sowed in this installment.

Who is Mother Blood?

The Titans series has been unwavering in its focus on the main team thus far, which make Titans No. 32 an unusual entry in the series. We follow the path of a young woman who is able to take over the notorious Blood cult on her own.

Popular media has been leveraging real-world issues like the global refugee crisis and the plight of asylum seekers in the United States of America, and Titans writer Dan Abnett is no different. While the ill-treatment of migrants across borders is touched upon in this issue of the series, the author doesn’t follow-through with the sentiment. Instead, the reader is swiftly pulled into the madness that takes place inside the Blood Cult with Brother Blood holding forth.

The Blood Cult is a fairly old DC Comics organizationn, but it’s still disappointing that Abnett and the editor didn’t think it necessary to freshen up its representation. The Cult’s ‘eccentricities’, as Mother Blood calls it, are subdued due to the target audience of the series, yet, there is nothing memorable about this sect. Had the series dealt with the insidious ways that cult leaders influence impressionable young people, Titans No. 32 would have added a great deal of credibility to the series. Instead, the Cult is little more than a plot device, as is Mother Blood.

Does DC Comics Realise This is 2019?

It’s the first week of the new year, and DC Comics seems to have regressed in its sensibilities. The scary new villain in Titans is actually a nubile young woman who happened to be in the right place, at the right time, to absorb unknown powers – that is such a trope! For a change, the woman in question has some agency and the series creators pointedly veer away from painting a lurid picture of a lust-filled cult, yet they could have pushed the boundaries further. Couldn’t Mother Blood be a 40-year-old woman?

Becoming Mother Blood (Credit: DC Comics)

As if that isn’t bad enough, the character art is ridiculously derivative. As a regular human being, Mother Blood looks exactly like Donna Troy. It’s almost as if artist Clayton Henry couldn’t muster up different features for this character. Mother Blood is supposed to be a refugee from another country, but reading Titans No. 32 one would not understand that because she looks so generic. All of Henry’s female characters have exactly the same face shape and expression, which is inexcusable for an artist working with one of the Big Two comic publishers. Even if his style wouldn’t be amiss in other comic series, it’s blatantly obvious in Titans because there are so many women on the team. Each character has a distinct personality – surely, they deserve unique features as well.

There’s no arguing that the series has picked up the pace now that the team are working together and have a personal mission to complete. With Raven’s soul-self within their reach and the possibility to take down the Blood Cult becoming very real, the Titans are a cohesive group of heroes once again.

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However exciting this latest arc has been, the final execution continues to be uneven. Would it have hurt the creators to dwell on the impact of cultism in America? The topic has been in the news lately with the geek community being hit hard by the revelations about Smallville actor Allison Mack, and a title like Titans should have taken time out of its plot-heavy run to deal with a more emotional storyline. For now, readers can look forward to a grandiose battle between the Titans, the Blood Cult and the sinister creatures of Unearth in upcoming issues.