Titans #13 (2000)

Titans #13 (March, 2000)
Story – Jay Faerber & Devin Grayson
Penciller – Patrick Zircher
Inkers – Andrew Robinson & Mark Propst
Colorist – Pam Rambo
Letters – Comicraft
Associate Editor – Maureen McTigue
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.50

Sticking with the Titans for another day… and, wouldja lookit that… it’s one’a those covers.  What’s that thing I was saying yesterday about Titans books “running in place”?

Times like this I feel like we need a “greatest hits” line of comics, so the ongoing books can actually… ya know, go-on.

We open in the Titans rarely-used conference room, wherein Nightwing is raking the team over the coals for their poor showing against the H.I.V.E. and… Tartarus.  Tartarus, if you’re unaware, is like the anti-Titans.  Every member has a correlating baddie.  Starfire takes exception to Dick’s outburst… and has one of her own.  The rest of the Titans just sit and wait for it all to be over.  Well, Roy has somewhere he’d rather be… and that’s at the bedside of his… not gonna say “baby-mama”… Cheshire.  To which, Tempest mutters about having his own wife to return to.

At this point, Dick… really acts his name, and goes off on “marriages of convenience”… which, as you might imagine, triggers Starfire something good.  Can’t really argue though, it seems like every time the Titans go “off planet” Starfire winds up with another husband.

The rest of the Titans kinda clutch their pearls… as if they’d never seen teammates fight before.  Vic, for no other reason than to remind us what happened nearly twenty-years earlier, mentions Terra… then, he quits the team.  Not so fact, kemosabe… it’s not just that you shouldn’t quit… it’s that you’re not allowed to!

Ya see, the whole mishagoss that started this volume of Titans was the JLA/Titans: Technis Imperative miniseries… in which, Vic was the main antagonist!  When the dust settled, the JLA wanted to send Vic to S.T.A.R. Labs… however, Nightwing was able to convince him them (okay okay, it was Batman) to release Cyborg to the Titans.

Amid the tension, Flash runs off to attend a JLA meeting.  This Flash… may or may not be Wally West… or, maybe it’s just not “our” Wally West.  Either way, he jets.  Dick asks Jesse Quick to drag his speedster-ass back right away… so he can fire him from the team.

Nightwing then turns his attention to the rest of the group… and suggests they do a little soul-searching.  All of the “established” members walk out.

We pop over to S.T.A.R. Labs where Vic is looking for some answers… hell, at this point, he might be looking for the questions as well!  Either way, he’s here to chat up his old friend Sarah (not from the Special School).  Unbeknownst to him, Gar tagged along for the trip… and to try and talk his golden pal off the precipice.

Back at the Tower… Donna Troy’s room is bombarded with advice-seeking Titans… which causes her to lash out.  Remember, over the past few years, Donna’s lost her fair share of things too.  Her son, her identity… her memories… and now, perhaps her boyfriend Roy.  She boots her teammates out, and suggests they find another listening ear to talk into.

Over at Manhattan General, Roy attempts to sneak in to have a look at Cheshire.  He gets the ol’ heavy-ho.  His tagger-alonger is Damage, who witnesses the whole thing.

Then, over to the Titans Island docks… where Tempest sulks.  He is approached by his tagger-alonger, Argent… who tells him there’s more than one brunette on the island he can talk to.

Inside the Tower, Nightwing works out his aggression on a heavy bag.  His tagger-alonger is Jesse Quick who… quits the team!  She ain’t buyin’ all the “we’re a family” shim-sham, especially since she doesn’t even know Nightwing’s civilian identity… nor has she ever seen his face without the mask.

Back in the city, Roy fires an arrow into Cheshire’s hospital room… with a note proclaiming his love for her.  That’s kinda weird… I didn’t think they were ever “in love”.  Oh well.

Next stop, the Dockside Diner… where putting the team back together kinda went down.  Argent and Tempest are having some coffee… and are soon joined by Starfire and Donna.  Starfire insists that she brought Donna out to listen to her troubles, but I’m not buyin’ it.

They are then joined by Roy and Damage… and they awkwardly sit in silence… until Donna asks where the rest of the team might be.

We close out by finding out where the rest of the team are… and a cry for help from our old friend Lilith Clay!

Now, I give this book a hard time every now and again… but, I gotta admit… I’m a sucker for this inter-titans drama.  Of course, much of this will be blamed on the freaking Gargoyle… but, at least for this issue, I think we can just try and enjoy it for what it is.

There’s definitely a feeling of “been there, done that” to this book… which, by the second year into a run, should be over with.  I get “playing the hits” when a new volume is starting out… that’s the honeymoon period… we want to see “the hits”.  But, a riff on New Teen Titans #39… with barely a year’s worth of stories under your belt?  I’m sorry… I just don’t think this book “earned” that.

The more I revisit some of the post-Marv Titans, the more I see that… while a lotta folks love this property… and a lot of creators want to work on this property… once they’ve got it, they don’t seem to know what to do with it.  And so, we get the “greatest hits”.  Don’t know what to do?  Break ’em up!  What next?  Throw a “traitor” on the team!

It feels like another property I love, the Fantastic Four.  The past several volumes of that series has been… break ’em up, spend a year bringing them back together… then, cancel the book and start all over again!  I’m not looking for anyone to reinvent the wheel… I mean, we saw whatever the hell the New-52! volume was… but, instead of just rehashing and reheating the past, maybe use the past to build the future.  That’s not what we get here.

That said though… I didn’t dislike this book one bit.  I felt that the characterization, while extreme in places, really worked.  There is a real feeling of frustration bubbling up here… and it makes your mind wander with all of the possibilities… that is, if you don’t know about the Gargoyle.

And, while I still don’t feel like this volume “earned” the Perez homage… this team definitely did need a “culling” of sorts.  There were definitely too many Titans… a cast this unwieldy lends to having half the team only appear in the background.  Trimming the fat is a good thing for this book.

I think my only real “ehh” bits here is Roy’s devotion to Cheshire.  That doesn’t quite sit right with me… also, Vic losing his cool.  I always see Vic as being hot-but-level headed.  I’d figure he’d understand what Dick had done for him… and appreciated it, at least on the level that he’s not living the rest of his life hooked up to machines at S.T.A.R. Labs.

The art here is from another of my favorite guys, Patrick Zircher.  While I’m a big fan of Mark Buckingham (whose art opened this volume), I feel like Zircher is a much better fit.  There’s really not a bad looking page in this book.

Overall… if you’re a sucker for Titanic drama (like I am), you’re probably going to dig this.  If you’re tired of all’a that… you might wanna give this a pass with the knowledge that “the Gargoyle did it”.

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Next Planet Over would only last about another year… news of their shutdown was reported in April, 2001 


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