New Titans #90 (September, 1992)
“Total Chaos, Part 2: That Which Lurks Within a Star!”
Writer – Marv Wolfman
Penciller – Tom Grummett
Inker – Al Vey
Letterer – John Costanza
Colorist – Adrienne Roy
Editor – Jon Peterson
Cover Price: $1.75
Okay… more Total Chaos. If you need… or want to catch up, check out part one!
We open with the Titans rushing into action… like, literally… they just burst outta Dayton’s place and off to their helicopter. They’re all rather confused about the sudden appearance of a second Starfire… but know they gotta get to S.T.A.R. Labs before Donna’s life is (further) endangered. Dayton is none too pleased that they decided to leave Baby Wildebeest (who just bursts through a wall… which will become a theme today) in his care, but, whattayagonnado?
Aboard the chopper, Pantha really starts stirring the crap between Starfire and Nightwing… even going so far as to inform Kory that Dick… slept with the other one! Starfire, naturally, isn’t pleased… though she seems more bothered by Dick’s new mullet. Not sure I can blame her there!
As they approach S.T.A.R. Labs, they find themselves attacked by a… glowing blue man?! Well, we already know him to be Team Titans, Killowat. Also worth noting, New York Mayoral hopeful (and Titan-thorn-in-the-side) Elizabeth Alderman is watching from her high-rise office.
Killowat shocks the hell out of the chopper… and it begins to plummet, right down into Times Square. Killowat is pleased because, get this, he doesn’t intend to kill anybody… just slow the Titans down. Yeah, buddy… tell that to the thousand New Yorkers on the street below.
We shift scenes into the sewer, where Deathstroke collapsed last issue. He is awakened by some rats crawling on him… and he blasts them with his shock-stick. Then, from behind, he’s kayoed by some Morlock-looking fella wielding a pry-bar of sorts. Thinking he’s dead, they’re looking to basically sell Deathstroke for parts… not that they even realize just who this masked fella is.
Slade gets up, and takes the fight to the pry-bar-guy. It doesn’t take much to overwhelm the baddie… and when he does, the other Morlock-looking fella (named Frog) appoints Deathstroke as the salvagers’ new leader. Wow, that same thing happened to Storm back in the long ago. Deathstroke decides to trade his leadership status for help getting to S.T.A.R. Labs…
… where, at this very moment, Donna Troy is about to give birth! Feeling what is about to occur, Lord Chaos springs into action… he must ensure that he is born… however, vows to kill his mother immediately after, for whatever reason.
Back in Time Square… or above it, Starfire fires some star-blasts into the ground to clear the area of pedestrians. Gotta repeat that Mayoral-hopeful Alderman has been a thorn-in-the-side for the Titans of late, and is really trying to hurt their reputation with the average folk… sooo, of course, seeing Starfire fire star-blasts in their direction ain’t gonna help. All that really matters, I suppose, is that Kory was able to clear the area, and there were no casualties.
Worth noting that Mayoral-hopeful Alderman and her weaselly assistant Twine are johnnies on the spot here, and have photos of the entire debacle for their next Titans smear-story.
Deathstroke is escorted to the S.T.A.R. Labs sewer opening, and he tells his new follower to go back to his Morlock-lookin’ people. Once inside, he sees… Starfire stomping in. Immediately, he can tell that this isn’t the real Starfire. For only having one peeper, this Deathstroke has some superb vision.
“Starfire” then heads over to Redwing’s cell… and after revealing herself to actually be Mirage, frees her Teamer teammate….s. Gotta mention that Redwing’s invisible brother Jonathan “Prester John” Levine is also there. Whether or not he’s in the cell, however… I couldn’t say… because, ya know… he’s invisible.
Deathstroke, naturally, is watching this entire thing go down… and upon hearing that they’re looking to kill Donna Troy, attempts to stop them. All’s well, until he gets belted in the belly with a chunk’a earth. Deathstroke… meet Terra.
The Teamers then burst into the room where Donna’s getting ready to pop. Before they can kill the mother-to-be, the New Titans (and yeah, they call them the “New Titans”) also burst into the room to put a stop to it. Between all these walls, and Donna’s womb… there’s a whole lotta burstin’ goin’ on!
There’s a skirmish… naturally, and Killowat makes a beeline toward Donna… and, get this… gets socked in the mush by Terry freaking Long for his troubles!
Then… if you can believe it, another wall bursts! This must be the walliest room in all of S.T.A.R. Labs! We close out with the arrival of… Lord Chaos!
Wow, but there was a lotta wall burstings going on here! I’d hate to be a wall in Marv Wolfman’s house!
Now… he say, somewhat nervously… two issues in, annnnnnd… so far, so good?! This isn’t bad at all! I think the only “bad” thing so far is the fact that Total Chaos is crossing over into three different books, and would require a bit of legwork to track down (before the trade collection, of course… but, that sucker’s thirty bucks!)
So, where to begin?
I think the high-point of this issue has got to be Deathstroke’s reaction to seeing Terra. It’s one of those things that, we’re so far removed from at this point, that it takes a moment for the actual profundity of the scene to sink in. Of course, Deathstroke introduced Terra into the Titans’ world back in the long ago, but even rereading this today, I’d almost forgotten how big a deal this meeting would (and, in theory, should) be.
Another high-point… Terry Long socking Killowat in the face. Now, anyone whose followed this blog knows that the Red Menace is one’a my biggest bugbears in comics, but… gotta say, seeing him throw fists to protect Donna and his unborn child was a good look for him. If he were a real dude, I’d give him a thumbs up.
Let’s talk the Times Square scene for a bit. I guess we can look at it in one of two ways. Either Killowat was confident that the Titans would be able to get out of it without a single loss of life… or, he just didn’t care. Both ways… I dunno, kinda work.
Let’s look at the confidence angle. The Teamers did take their inspiration from the original Teen Titans… so, it might stand to reason that Killowat would think the Titans would save the day no matter what. On the other hand, the Teamers are trying to stop the “Chaos-future” from unfolding… so, perhaps a few civilian casualties are just the “cost of doing business”, ya know?
On the way to Times Square, we get sorta filled in on what went on (or might’ve went on) between Dick and fake-Starfire… with Pantha stoking those flames pretty well. It’s alluded to that Dick and Mirage slept together here… but, not outright stated. I mean, Pantha outright says it, but she’s an a-hole looking for a reaction… should probably take whatever she says with a grain of salt. Not saying she won’t eventually be proven right though!
Deathstroke’s “solo” scenes certainly shine here (there’s a lotta “ess” words in a row!). Him beating up the Morlock leader… and finding himself becoming their new leader was pretty neat… but, the best was his noticing the difference in gait between the real and fake Starfires. So simple… but, something that Dick Grayson didn’t even notice! This one bit made Deathstroke look more like a badass than beating up the mafia last issue.
Overall… can’t believe I’m saying this, but… really digging it! Of course, I’m still waiting for that other show to drop. I know there has to be a reason why I disliked this so much the first couple of times… and why I haven’t been able to get through it in its entirety in so many years. Have I softened that much? Was this just never as bad as I thought? Have I been affected by the hive-mind? I guess we’re just going to have to wait and see!