New Titans #72 (1991)

New Titans #72 (January, 1991)
“Death of a Hero!”
Writer – Marv Wolfman
Penciller – Tom Grummett
Inker – Al Vey
Letterer – John Costanza
Colorist – Tom McCraw
Editor – Jonathan Peterson
Cover Price: $1.75

Sticking with the Titans a bit longer… and following up on an issue I discussed… like 844 days ago!  Yep, we’re going wayyy back and taking a look at a “Titans Hunt” era issue from Marv and Tom.  At this rate we’ll be able to add this to the “Collected Editions” page by 2025!

We open with Golden Eagle swooping in somewhere over Long Island’s northern shore… he’s been called there by Deathstroke the Terminator, however has arrived early in order to rendezvous with Deathstroke’s other invitee, Aqualad.  Ya see, they’re not sure that Slade’s on the level… and, I gotta say, they might just have a reason not to trust him.  As they chat… we can see that the Wildebeest has got his eye on them.

The Beest then attacks, blasting Golden Eagle in the back with his pulse-laser thing.  As he flails, Aqualad unsuccessfully tries to get in a few shots of his own.  The Wildebeest then gets him with the ol’… er, joy-buzzer play… okay, not really… but it really looks like it here!  Anyhoo, Garth plummets into the drink… but not before smashing into the rocky shore.

Then… things get really hardcore.  The Wildebeest pins Golden Eagle down… and garrotes him to death!  Oddly, when the deed is done, the ‘beest looks… repentant???

We shift scenes and join Deathstroke… who is checking in at Dick Grayson’s apartment to see if he can find out anything about the Titan-ic abductions.  As he approaches, he hears a creaking.  Kicking in the door reveals… Wildebeest!  Boy, but he’s fast!  Even fixed his mask.  Well, no… it’s soon revealed that there is, in fact, more than one Wildebeest.  They’re actually an entire society!  Been so long since I read this era of Titans, I’m not sure if this was a reveal to the reader as well as to Deathstroke.  I think we already knew that it was a “Society”, but wouldn’t swear to it.

Anyhoo, the ‘Beests beat the holy hell out of Deathstroke for a little while… however, they do not kill him.  He is not their “assignment”… but, when he refuses to walk away, they do boot him from the fire escape.  He survives because, that’s sorta what Deathstroke does.

Then, the Wildebeests… leave.  It’s kinda charming… and kinda hilarious to watch these hulking ‘beests just walk out of an apartment building and hop into a van.  Anyhoo… as they leave, Slade overhears them discussing “two deaths” that have occurred.  He decides to call this in to Steve “Mento” Dayton, especially since they have some common interest in this case.  Slade’s son Joey and Dayton’s sorta-son Gar are among the Titans missing… and perhaps, dead.

Dayton suggests that they check in on Golden Eagle and Aqualad first… and so, they do.  What they find is… well, GE’s dead body, and some bloody water (I guess the tide hasn’t come in yet?).  Also, they find a chunk of Wildebeest mask that the Eagle managed to tear from his murderer’s face.

Slade ‘n Steve then head over to the Titans Party Place to get a little more information.  When that doesn’t work, they decide to just head over to Titans Tower… which would’ve been the smart play all along.  They boot up the computer and start scanning the files when… a distress call comes in from Donna Troy’s Photo Studio.  It’s great how nonchalantly Deathstroke just answers the Titans’ phone here.

The pair head off… and we can see that they were being watched by a Beest the whole time.  The baddie takes note of one of the names listed on the monitor… Arella, better known to us as Raven’s mother Angela.  So things might just be about to get real…ly boring!

We then rejoin Slade ‘n Steve at the Troy Photo Studio where… hey, a Wildebeest is terrorizing the staff!  Deathstroke swoops in and starts beatin’ that baddie… until it decides to self-destruct?!

Luckily, the Terminator was able to get himself and Donna’s staff into a… uh, bomb-proof dark room… and survive the blast.  Unfortunately, the ‘Beest was vaporized… leaving him quite unable to answer any of Slade’s questions.  A question we do get an answer to is… just where did Donna Troy get off to?  Turns out, she and the Red-Menace are off on a second Honeymoon.  Likely story… 

After hopping back into the Dayton-copter, Deathstroke is told that something had been found off the north shore of Long Island… and a short flight later reveals that something as… Aqualad.  A dead Aqualad!

A fun… and pretty intense issue!

Let’s get the “big” stuff outta the way… the deaths.  We have Golden Eagle and Aqualad… dead.  Or course, neither of these will wind up sticking, but we can play along for now.  I’m never keen on killing off characters from the Silver Age (in Garth’s case), however… if you wanna make a splash (ha!) and kill off one of the Titans founders… then, now, or whenever… it’s almost always gonna be Aqualad, right?

This all comes before the “big” changes in the DC Universe… Death of Superman, Knightfall, Emerald Twilight… stuff like that, so this isn’t really the Titans “answer” to that.  This is just a story… which somehow makes it feel more as though these changes will be permanent.  Of course, hindsight reveals something different… but, still.  I gotta imagine, if I were reading this back in the day… I’d for sure figure at least one of the dead guys would stay dead.

Onto the Wildebeests.  I suppose I could dig through my longboxes and confirm whether or not we (the readers) knew that they were “a Society”… but the boxes are allllll the way over there, and I’m really rather comfortable where I’m sitting.  I suppose it really doesn’t matter… it’s just that in this issue Deathstroke figures it out.  That’s probably all we really need to know.

The Deathstroke scenes were all really cool.  This was very much his story… even down to many of the narrative captions being in his “voice”.  His sense of honor is really played up here… and his need to save his son is noble.  Many of you know where this “Titans Hunt” is headed… but I won’t completely spoil it here.  Just saying that much of what Slade says here is kinda telegraphing what’s to come.

Overall… had a good time with this.  Is there a Titans Hunt trade paperback?  There really should be.  I’d say this is certainly worth a read.

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2 thoughts on “New Titans #72 (1991)

  • Aaron Moss

    Great article…. and listening to your podcast, I actually hear your voice when I read it…
    As I stated over on your Facebook post, I enjoyed this arc. It might have lingered a little longer than it needed and as one of the few Jericho fans, I hated what it did to Joey.

    But over all I thought Titans Hunt was great!

  • DC in the 80s

    I'm 100% in agreement on your comments — especially the feeling that this would be something permanent. IIRC, Aqualad was not actually pronounced dead in this issue, he had just 'stopped breathing', meanwhile there was no doubt that Golden Eagle was dead.

    Of all the Titans Hunt issues, this would had the most action and had the biggest 'holy crap, they went THERE' effect. Good times for sure.

    Great review.



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