DC ComicsTeen TitansTitans Hunt

New Titans #71 (1990)

New Titans #71 (November 1990)
“Beginnings… Endings… and (we promise) New Beginnings?”
Marv Wolfman – Writer
Tom Grummett – Pencils
Al Vey – Inker
John Costanza – Letterer
Adrienne Roy – Colorist
Jon Peterson – Editor
Cover Price: $1.75

The Titans turnaround of 1990 can be summed up in two words… Titans Hunt.  Interestingly, here I sit over a quarter of a century later… reading a monthly title, which by all accounts is looking to reinvigorate the Titans, called Titans Hunt.  Apparently, the current title is shedding a few of its issues, dropping from a twelve-issue limited series to a mere eight, though it appears to be leading into the Rebirth event, and will bring us a new ongoing (New) Titans title.  I figure it is as good a time as any to revisit this old favorite for a reread.

The Titans were considered somewhat stale as we entered the 1990’s.  I was a Marvel kid, and felt that most of DC’s output looked and felt rather dated.  They were the books that older fans read.  They were the books that I would never find interesting no matter how much praise they get.  How times change, eh?  The feeling at this time, from letters columns to various ancient Usenet posts I have been able to scrounge up is that the Titans were a bit stagnant.  This is usually attributed to creative team burnout, which is more than understandable.  Writing the same characters for a decade can definitely lead to a bit of fatigue.

A taste of how people felt toward The New Titans at this time.
From this issues’ “Titans Tower” letters column.

Fresh off their latest adventure, the Titans are gearing up for their big (ten-year in “real world time”, not sure how long in “comics time”) anniversary party.  This gives Wolfman the opportunity to let the characters reflect… see how far they’d come, and analyze their relationships with one another.

Of the team, Speedy (Roy Harper) and Troia (Donna Troy) announce they will, regretfully, not be able to make it to the party.  Roy is heading back to California, while Donna (and… Terry Long) are off to the Grecian island of Dianata in attempt to both find the source of Donna’s current nightmares and so that Terry can do research for a book he is planning to write.


The team splits out, with the intention of seeing each other later on at the anniversary soiree.  Our main focus, and point of view character here is Nightwing.  We watch him reflect on how he came to meet each of his current teammates, giving the reader insight to the various origins of the main roster (even briefly thinking of his own).  These bits are interspersed with seemingly random violent outbursts around town, which an individual Titan attends to.

This is really nothing new to introducing a reader to an ensemble team, however, the twist here is that each of these occurrences were a meticulously planned trap by Titans’ foe, the Wildebeest.  One by one, the Titans, Starfire, Cyborg, Jericho, and Changeling are abducted by the ‘beest.  As we draw toward the end, Nightwing arrives at, much to his surprise, an empty restaurant where the party was to be taking place.  He waits several hours for his dinner-mates to arrive, only to be attacked and nabbed by the Wildebeest.

We close on Changeling’s guardian, Steve Dayton having to call on the definitive Titans foe for assistance in finding and rescuing the team, Deathstroke the Terminator.  Going as far as offering him money, though Deathstroke agrees to help without pay, as his son Jericho was also taken… this time, it’s personal… and we are [to be continued…]

All in all a fun issue, and a great start to the Titans Hunt story line, which unfortunately in my opinion grows gradually weaker by the chapter.  This issue, however, offered not only a fantastic narrative, it also provided a perfect jumping-on point for new and lapsed readers.  If this book was published today, I have zero doubts that a #1 would be plastered on it, and it would have at least a dozen variant covers.

I may be completely biased here as I’m discussing an all-time favorite, but Marv Wolfman is a master of storytelling and characterization.  His voice for the Titans characters is, as always, wonderful.  He makes these extraordinary characters relatively easy to relate to, and gives them a tremendous amount of heart.  When discussing superhero teams, it is cliché to refer to any given team as a “family”.  The Fantastic Four are literally a family, yet this team of Titans appear to be one even more so.  Gar and Vic bicker like brothers, but you know they also love each other like brothers and will always have each others backs.  Dick, while the same age as his teammates is very much the patriarch of this group.  You can see how he feels a measure of responsibility for his teammates, and feels their safety and comfort is as important (even more so) than his own.

The addition of Tom Grummett as penciller was a great way to maintain the caliber of art on this title, while making it feel more contemporary.  I hate attributing things to their decade of origin, though there is something of a line separating art of the 1980’s and art of the 1990’s.  Tom Grummett has all of the technical brilliance of any number of great comics artists, and breathes new 1990’s flavored life into these wonderful characters.

Definitely recommended.  If you have any interest in the Titans, this is most definitely one of the highlights of their publication.

Interesting Ads:

Justice League America/International is one of my “comfort food” reads.
I usually read it in its entirety at least once a year.
It is around this point that it start to feel kind of like a chore…
House Ad for the first Robin mini-series.
There was ONE kid in my junior high school that had a Lynx.
He would bring it to school, and play it at lunch…
He seemed like he changed the batteries out daily.
Is this the first mention of The New Titans: Games graphic novel?
This comic featured a fold-out Predator 2 poster, that really taxes the strength of the issues’ staples.

0 thoughts on “New Titans #71 (1990)

  • Grant Kitchen

    You didn't include the most interesting ad of all the Titans Hunt subscription ad which showed the covers for the next three issues. Pretty sure it was in this issue but it might have been the next.

    Deathstroke's "and this time it's personal" line was kinda cliche but it worked.

    As for Dayton not being sure the Justice League would be willing to help why wouldn't they? I'm pretty sure this was before "Breakdowns" plus I'm willing to bet he and Lord knew each other plus let's not forget Wally was in the League by this point (Justice League Europe but still) I'm sure he'd want to help his friends but that just begs the question why did the Wildebeests not go after Wally? They could have at least given them a cameo in his book like they did in the last issue of Hawk & Dove (they actually tried to recruit Hank).

    And what does Dayton mean by "forget about trying to contact Batman"? Just go to Gotham City and ask Jim Gordon to turn on the signal. I'm pretty sure with his money and influence that would be a non issue. Hell, he may even know Batman's identity since he knows Dick is Nightwing and I'm pretty sure even as strained as Dick and Bruce's relationship still was at this point I've no doubt when he heard his "son" was missing he'd drop what he was doing to come help. Way too much suspension of disbelief.

    • This is actually one of my earliest posts ever… didn't really have a "format" down.

      I never understand how, in a shared universe (hell, in a single-city of a shared universe) how the heroes don't come to each other's aid. Then again, the slipshod way "team-ups" and cameos happen nowadays, I should be careful what I'm asking for! I swear I've read recent issues of X-MEN where the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. take up 2/3 of the book!

    • Grant Kitchen

      Just looked at the date you posted this. For whatever reason I just assumed you posted it the same time as the rest of this story.

      Did you also notice Nightwing was back with the Titans even though he had been on a leave of a sense? No explanation as to how/when/why he came back. Not a huge deal I guess.

      Definitely check out some Bronze Age WW issues those are nowhere near as mythology focused as the post-Crisis series. Issue's 265-266 include a 2 part Wonder Girl (Donna Troy not teenaged Diana) backup story. Mr. Jupiter (the original Titans' financier in the early 70s) also appears in it. I think "The Twelve Labors" is available in a trade. That was a good story which is weird because it featured multiple writers.

  • Grant Kitchen

    And I assume you know this issue also leads into Donna and WW's first post-Crisis meeting in issues 47&48 of her series. I may have enjoyed that meeting if not for all the mythology crap they focused so much on. Donna also stops by the Tower in that storyline. She must have just missed all the stuff happening in this series.

    • I think "all the mythology crap" is what keeps me from EVER really investing in/following Wonder Woman. I find that stuff so unbearably dull. It's the same reason why I don't think I've EVER actually read "Who is Wonder Girl?" (circa New Titans #50) to completion! Hate that stuff!


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