Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day #2 (2003)

Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day #2 (July, 2003)
“Graduation Day, Part Two: Commencement”
Writer – Judd Winick
Penciller – Ale Garza
Inker – Larry Stucker
Colorist – Jeromy Cox
Letters – Comicraft
Associate Editor – Lysa Hawkins
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.50

If you’re reading this piece on the morning it comes out (Saturday, May 13) there’s a pretty good chance that I’m sitting uncomfortably in my cap and gown waiting to hear my name called.

That, of course, is assuming the flight there went smoothly.  Speaking of things “going smoothly”, our pals the Titans and Young Justice sure have had a bad time of it, no?  Let’s see how they pick up the pieces.

We open up at San Francisco General Hospital… which is evidently, like the greatest hospital on the west coast.  The Titans and Young Justice-ers are being treated.  Nightwing is directing traffic, imploring that no masks are removed unless it’s absolutely necessary.  Dr. Sarah Charles from S.T.A.R. Labs arrives to tend to her on-again-off-again, Cyborg.

Meanwhile, at S.T.A.R. Labs’ Silicon Valley facility, the mysterious robot girl arrives to raise hell!  The security team proves to be enough to take her down… at least initially, likely due to the damage she has already taken.  As she sits… seemingly prone, she lets off an energy surge that fries the guards.

The robot girl slumps to the ground.  As the smoke clears, she is joined by… Superman!

Back at the hospital, Robin is chewing Superboy out for the recklessness their team showed in battle.  Kon tries to reason with him, suggesting that the Titans had rough patches during their early days (not to mention, ya know… today).  Robin shrugs him off.

Nearby, we see that Dick and Donna are within earshot of Tim and Kon’s conversation.  Donna suggests they head over and let them know that no team is perfect.  Dick declines.  She suggests he offer to lead Young Justice.  Dick… declines, and changes the subject to discuss her recurring nightmares.

They head into a stairwell, where they run into Wonder Girl.  Dick gives the (wonder) girls some space so they can chat.  Cassie is really upset… and questions how much better her life might be if she was just a normal teenager.

We shift to a scene between Roy and Vic.  Victor is trying to convince Roy that the robot girl didn’t mean any harm.  Roy ain’t buying it, but Victor is steadfast.

On a waiting room television, news of the Silicon Valley facility attack is shown.  Nightwing calls for all able-bodied heroes to join him to check it out.

Upon arrival, they find Superman standing among the wreckage.  They all realize that there’s something very wrong with this picture.  Lilith walks over to Superman in attempt to use her psychic powers on him… and he grabs her by the throat… and, well… snaps her neck, killing her.

Her corpse drops to the floor… and Superman turns his attention to our crew of young heroes… and his eyes are glowing red!

That cover kinda spoils things, don’t it?  I guess it might make you buy it if you wanted to know why Superman is wrecking the Titans… so, whatayagonnado?  Spoiler alert… next issue’s cover spoils the ending of the entire miniseries!

Well, here we mostly see the Titans and Young Justice licking their wounds.  It’s written at an uneven pace, which actually serves the tone rather well.  It’s an uncomfortable and frantic time for both teams… and I appreciated how the scenes rapidly changed to illustrate that.

Nightwing continues to be rather unpleasant… though, this time, I guess I can understand it, he’s worried about his team.  What I didn’t necessarily dig is when he wouldn’t take Donna’s suggestion to attempt to comfort Robin and Superboy.  I mean, Robin may as well be his little brother, and he won’t head over to check in on him?  To use some crass DCYou era promotional copy, seems like Mr. Winick might not know Dick.

The scene between Vic and Roy was decent.  It helped to frame our little robot girl lost as perhaps more a victim than a villain… which, solicitations for Outsiders (vol.3) #1 might have already spoiled… but whattayagonnado?

The ending?  Well… I think Lilith deserved a better exit.  I mean, I get it… they needed to put an exclamation point on this, and show that this Superman wasn’t the real one… but, still.  What’s worse is we don’t even get a chance to mourn… the Next Issue Blurb promises yet another death… and it’s one that will overshadow the loss of poor Ms. Clay.  And remember folks, this is just the start of the Titans characters transforming into the “meat factory” they would eventually become.

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