Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Blackest Night: Titans #1 (2009)

Blackest Night: Titans #1 (October, 2009)
"When Death Comics Knocking"
Writer - J.T. Krul
Penciller - Ed Benes
Inkers - Rob Hunter, Jon Sibal & JP Mayer
Colors - Hi-Fi Design
Letterer - Rob Clark Jr.
Associate Editor - Adam Schlagman
Assistant Editor - Rex Ogle
Editors - Eddie Berganza & Brian Cunningham
Cover Price: $2.99

Heyyy... welcome to the next chapter of The Life... er, The Death and Times of Tara Markov!  Nah, this is just the next part of Boo, Haunted Blog... which for the next few days will be taking a look into the 2009-2010 mega-event Blackest Night.  Zombie superheroes are scary, right?


It's Heroes Day at Titans Tower, the day in which the Titans past and present gather to honor those who have fallen.  There is a hall in the Tower with statues commemorating the dead.  This year in particular necessitated the removal of two statues... for Kid Flash and Superboy returned from the dead!  Bart Allen is standing uncomfortably in the hall, muttering about how his statue didn't even look like him.  Wonder Girl and Donna Troy are nearby, and Donna mentions how all Titan-family losses didn't come via supervillain shenanigans... her ex-husband Terry Long and their son Robert died in a car wreck.

We move down the hall and join Beast Boy, Starfire and Cyborg as they stand in front of the statue of one Terra.  We see Brion Markov Geo-Force walking away as they approach.  Kory thinks it's improper for Terra to even have a statue... Gar disagrees, and reminds her that Terra was a Titan, and if she'd been given the chance would have been a great Titan!  Vic agrees, but in like a "whatever you say" kinda way.

We move a bit further down the hall, in front of the Hawk and Dove statues, stand... Hawk and Dove.  The new Hawk, Holly Granger is talking about what a jerk the Hank Hall version was.  Dawn "Dove" Granger is a bit defensive, and gives the whole "you didn't know him like I did" type of reply as she looks at her predecessor's statue.

Suddenly, the Black Lantern voice of doom calls for Don (Dove) Hall to RISE... but, and this is a really cool moment... he, being the living embodiment of peace... is resting in peace.  He chooses not to rise and join the Black Lantern Army.  The "camera" zooms back from Don's grave-site... revealing his brother Hank's... which has been dug out!

We shift to later that night where the Granger sisters are leaving a nightclub outside Georgetown University.  Holly's being... difficult, as she's wont to do, and complaining about having had to hang out at a "College Hangout".  As the ladies walk off, they come across a pair of dead birds on the ground... any guesses as to the types of birds?

The gals Hawk and Dove up, and follow the trail of dead birds... all the way to one of the University's buildings.  They are fully aware they are likely walking into a trap, but that doesn't deter them.  This new Hawk is as hard-headed as her predecessor.  Speaking of which, we learn the trail of birds was left by... Black Lantern, Hank Hall!

Back at the Tower, Bart and Cassie finally leave the hall... Donna is gazing into a family photo... and Starfire and Cyborg are on monitor duty, where they happen to see Gar (who they were just chatting about) somberly walking the grounds... until...

Gar and Tara pick up where they left off... if the Judas Contract never happened, that is.  She claims that she cheated death, however remained "dead" because she was ashamed of what she'd done.  The two get all huggy and ultimately kissy... which is gross for reasons that will soon become apparent.  Cyborg and Starfire spring into action, revealing that this alive and well version of Terra is the result of mind-manipulation by Black Lantern, Lilith Clay!  Now that the gig is up, we meet Black Lantern, Tara Markov.  Hey Gar, need a toothbrush?

Meanwhile, Donna Troy is awakened by the sound of a baby calling for her.  She sits up and sees a baby stroller at the edge of her bed.  Uh oh, I fear that where there's baby... there's Terry.  We'll have to stay tuned for, ugh... Black Lantern, Terry Long!

Back with Hawk, Hawk, and Dove a battle rages.  Hank is ruthlessly taking the new crew apart... relentlessly beating them down.  His attack seems to be particularly focused on the new Hawk, and he just wrecks her... it looks like he breaks her back, then he lifts her by the throat... and, well... tears her heart out.  Obviously, we are... [to be continued...]


Not bad, not bad at all.  This was one of those miniseries events that I kinda kept buying, but just set aside for "future reading".  2009 was a rather awful time for the Titans (Teen and otherwise)... seemed like not an issue would go by without (at least) one team member being brutally and horrifically killed.  Sad to say, but looking back, even those issues were so much better than anything the New-52 gave us, Titans-wise.

The late-2000's Titans book, that is... not the Teen Titans book, was... interesting for fans of the Wolfman/Perez era.  Here we were reading about, for lack of a better way to explain it... grown-up Titans.  They are at a different stage in their lives, however, still have ties that bind them.  This was around the time where some of them were being "promoted" into the Justice League.  The tail-end of the pre-Flashpoint JLA was like a who's who of the New Teen Titans.  Donna Troy, Cyborg, Starfire, and Dick Grayson as Batman loomed large in the League.  I loved that there was a feeling of progression... and not just "Let's throw Cyborg into the League because... well, ya know..."  Back in 2009, Cyborg earned his way onto the team... he graduated from the varsity team into the majors.

I suppose I said all of that, so that I could say this... this is a more mature version of the Titans.  Mature as in "showing maturity"... These characters have such a rich history by this point, and the Blackest Night storyline was a great way to showcase that.  The very existence of "Heroes Day" is a testament to that.  The Titans, past and present, gather once a year to commemorate their fallen.  This allows us, the readers, to observe their thoughts on past members... like Terra... like Hawk... like Wendy and Marvin, even.

The story is kind of split up between Hawk and Dove's night out and Garfield Logan's unrequited feelings for his first major crush.  Both storylines are handled quite well.  Gar has never really let go of Tara.  Even to her dying breath, he believed there would still be a way to reform her... to make her see the light.  It's heartbreaking that, although he is several years older, he is still very much in the same place.

The Hawk v Hawk scene was something that actually surprised me.  Not for the result, that was telegraphed from the start... but for just how gory the scene was.  Then I remembered how ultra-violent and "bloody" DC Comics had gotten in the years since Dan Didio took over.  This is a totally different world... and 2008-2010 was perhaps, if I'm not conveniently forgetting anything, the peak of DC's uber-violent streak.  I feel that nowadays it's been toned down a fair bit from 5-10 years back.  Though, I must admit... I'm about 50 issues behind on my Rebirth reading... there can be some heinous gore somewhere in there for all I know!

I'd be remiss not to mention the other story that was running throughout this issue... though not really the centerpiece that was Gar's or Hawk and Dove's... Donna Troy was awakened by the sound of a baby crying.  Earlier in the issue, she was lamenting the loss of her son, Robert... and... her ex-husband... ugh, Terry Long.  I've a sneaking suspicion we're about to meet the most terrifying Black Lantern of all... T-Long of Sector 666!

Overall, really enjoyed this issue.  This looks like it's going to be a great little miniseries, and in reading Krul's take on the Titans here, it's no surprise how he got the (criminally short-lived) gig on the pre-Flashpoint Teen Titans title.


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1 comment:

  1. I like the artwork in this one. Blackest Night is one of my favorite all-time DC events.


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