Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day #1 (2003)

Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day #1 (July, 2003)
“Graduation Day, Part One: Invocation”
Writer – Judd Winick
Penciller – Ale Garza
Inker – Trevor Scott
Colorist – Jeromy Cox
Letters – Comicraft
Associate Editor – Lysa Hawkins
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.50

Welcome to a very special installment of whatever it is that I do here.  This is a rare piece that I have written a bit ahead of time, because if you’re reading this Graduation Day entry today (May 12) there’s a very good chance that I am on a plane headed from Arizona to Indiana to (finally) attend my own Graduation!

Figured it’s only appropriate to cover a story with a graduation theme… and so, for better or worse… here we go!

We open with Donna Troy locked in battle with some beasties during a thunderstorm… only to learn that this is a recurring nightmare Ms. Troy has been experiencing for quite some time.  She finds that the more times she experiences it, the less scary it becomes… and that scares her worst of all!  We jump forward about a month in time to see a female robot with blue-green skin emerging from a portal.  She appears to be from the future.

We meet up with the Titans the following day in San Francisco.  They are meeting with the CEO of Optitron Corp about a sorta kinda sponsorship deal.  Jean Walters is the suit, and he’s offering the team a whole lotta perks… causing the ears of several members of the team’s ears to also perk.  Nightwing isn’t so sure.  In fact, he turns Walters down cold.

He sics Lilith Clay on Walters to do some mind-reading.  She finds that Optitron is doing it primarily for the potential tax-breaks the arrangement would afford them, however… he really does appear to want to do some good in the world.  Despite the feelings of his teammates, Nightwing still declines the offer… and stomps out of the office.

In the waiting area sits… Young Justice!  They’re also waiting for a meeting with Mr. Walters.

We shift down to the Tucson base of the Metal Men, just as they are joined by our new friend, the little robot girl.  She “interfaces” with the Metal Men, however, learns that they have insufficient cybernetic technology to be of aid to her.

Back in San Francisco, the Titans are leaving the Optitron Building.  They’re all pretty annoyed at Nightwing for turning down what might have been a great opportunity.  They don’t get to squabble long, however… as the robot girl arrives on the scene!  She immediately latches on to Cyborg.

Young Justice members Empress and Impulse head in to help… but neither are successful.  Impulse has vibrated into the robot girl… and she explodes!  Well, she doesn’t explode… but she causes one helluva boom.

Superboy snags the robot, but is snapmared into next week.  Donna Troy delivers a rabbit punch to the back of the “baddie”… Tempest blasts her with his eye beams… then Roy shoots her right arm off!  It looks as though the ‘bot is about to deactivate… however, before she does… she summons another portal, and blinks out.

The issue ends with the Titans and Young Justice members laid out.  Cyborg tells Nightwing that he knows the robot girl was scared… and never meant to hurt anybody.  Nightwing… isn’t convinced.

I’m glad I’ve given myself another opportunity to read this story, as the first time around, I was just so bummed that the Peter David-penned Young Justice was being cancelled, that it kinda clouded my judgment.  First time around, I really disliked this one… this time, I only sorta disliked it.

I guess I ought to start with my immediate takeaway… Nightwing is written to be just so damned unlikable here.  I mean, I understand cynicism… but, it was ratcheted up to eleven here.  I always think of Nightwing as being a guy who, while being the “leader” in the field, he still acts like a member of the team.  He’s a guy who will listen to, and carefully consider, the opinions of his team members… here, he just shoots everyone down.  Didn’t like that at all.

That’s really the only part that stuck out.  The rest was pretty boilerplate superhero team-up stuff.  We have a situation that facilitates both sets of heroes being at the same place at the same time… and an introduction of our threat… who makes both teams look like a bunch of amateurs.  The Donna Troy nightmare bits seem a bit out of left field if you were following the Titans title… but are necessary for the ending… and appeasing a certain DC Comics executive… but we’ll get there.

The art is… I dunno… I kinda dig it, but at the same time… kinda don’t.  It feels sorta manga inspired… which was sort of the flavor of the day.  I think they wanted this book to look “young”… to show that this is going to be the look of the younger heroes from this point on.  This is very early in Dan Didio’s tenure as Vice President of DC Editorial… and I’d wager this is where we start seeing his vision for the DC Universe take shape.

Overall… In light of Teen Titans (vol.3) and Outsiders (vol.3) spinning out of this, it’s difficult for me to tell folks not to check this out.  It’s an important little bridging story… which, while weak, leads to some really fantastic stuff.

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0 thoughts on “Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day #1 (2003)

  • Chris ETC

    It's interesting revisiting this with you here as I know a lot more about the DC Universe now than I did 14(!) years ago. I think the asssociation in my mind with Johns's Teen Titans made me remember it more fondly .

    • I'm very much in the same boat. I was still (kind of) a new reader to DC at this point. Really got into the universe around the turn of the century… thanks to it being the first time I had disposable income, and being too stupid to do anything, ya know… actually productive with it!

      I really didn't like this when it came out… but it is sandwiched between two things I loved, Peter David's Young Justice and Geoff Johns Teen Titans… I guess it'll always be somewhat important to me for that reason alone… even if I find the story to be rather lacking, and the characterization to be a tad exaggerated


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