Doesn’t sound too bad does it? But this introductory issue shows only this and nothing else. Aside from Hekate we’re given little impression of the rest of the crew and the fight against the enemy titan, an ork Gargant, isn’t shown. It’s like the writers were set a series of targets to hit while writing this and given the space for nothing else.
In all honesty it was only during the second storyline that things began to get interesting – which is the book almost all fans seem to have joined on. Titan II: Vivaporius really felt like a new start for the series once it began, while it didn’t spend time reintroducing events it felt more coherent and planned out. It depicted everything from the Dictatio’s deployment onto the planet to the crew standing in the aftermath of the conflict, and everything followed on from one another. Unlike the first storyline you felt at best the writers were skipping ahead a few days or a week at best in order to get to the meat of the action rather than bypassing almost the entire conflict. Much like you’d see in any comic following a prolonged war, balancing out the need to skip periods of time with keeping a continuous pace and truly building on past events.
It’s about this time that the characters began to stand out in their own right. Aside from Hekate, the Dictatio’s crew never had time dedicated to properly establishing their personalities. The story was still focused squarely upon the princeps but gives some impression of how they worked together, such as the ever professionally antagonistic relationship between Moderati Voss and Engineer Dorn. A few moments even allow them to step into the limelight such as an Alien style cat and mouse hunt between Dorn and a tyranid drone, allowing them to seem less like simple extensions of the Dictatio.
Things would continue to improve in the final two books Cold Steel and Omnissiah, which while starting afresh from Vivaporius sometime after that campaign did display the impact of those events. This was shown in part through a much more battle hardened and experienced Hekate. Who re-introduced himself in one of the series’ best engagements, utterly trouncing an enemy machine that ambushes the Dictatio and wins through innovative tactics. The fight also introduced some of the biggest changes– such as a more realistic art style, the presence of new characters and text boxes being used to show greater descriptions of environments and damage as much as Hekate’s thoughts. It seemed that those involved with the previous book were looking and what did and didn’t work, changing things again to see what worked best for the series’ future.
The most obvious change in the last two books is the aforementioned new artistic look, embracing a much more realistic depiction of characters and machines. This likely had something to do with Andy Lanning giving up inking duties he had held in the last two books and it’s all the stronger for it – probably some of the best art Inferno! ever produced. Rather than relying almost entirely upon inking to show depth and substance, the style in these final two books appears far more solid with more varied shades in its environments. This made the characters look much more human and was a real bonus to this book especially considering its villains were the allies of Chaos - mutated semi-human abominations and reality warping daemonic juggernauts. All of which contrast very well with the human protagonists, the more realistic elements heightening how unnatural their outwards appearances are.
The big problem in trying to review the final two books is they’re very closely connected and one cannot be described without spoiling some of the events to the other. What is worth saying is that they books were the high point of the series, when it started to have storylines directly lead on from one another to create an actual saga. Unfortunately they also ended up being the series’ swansong as not long after Omnissiah was completed Inferno! was cancelled.
There was time for one final one shot story but it added little to the actual series and didn’t follow on from Omnissiah’s ending, simply confirming that they escaped their predicament at its end. It also felt like it had fallen back on the problems of its early stories, disconnected from everything else and only focusing squarely upon Hekate rather than the crew as a whole. As such Titan ended as weakly as it began, but as a whole it was a well written comic. Once it found its footing the comics seriously picked up and had some strong moments. While it wasn’t as detailed or was as well refined as you’d find in major Marvel or DC releases it had good action, fairly strong writing and well-rounded characters.