New Titans #80 (November, 1991)
“The Once and Future…”
Writer – Marv Wolfman
Pencils – Kerry Gammil & Paris Cullins
Inks – Willie Blyberg & Al Vey
Colorist – Adrienne Roy
Letterer – John Costanza
Editor – Jonathan Peterson
This wasn’t the book I was planning to cover today.
Today, if you’re following along, was supposed to be TOTAL CHAOS Part 3, which took place in Team Titans #1. Well, you know I like to be as thorough as possible here on the humble blog… and when I went to fetch my copies of Team Titans #1, I learned that I only had three out of the five “variants”. I wanna do this book right, especially since the “variant gimmick” is such a big part of why folks hold such resentment to the book to begin with!
Sooo, last night I hopped into the car and headed to a few late-nite used bookstores and used record stores in search of the Nightrider and Mirage variants… and only came back with the Nightrider one. Which means… today, my happy ass will be hitting the road in search of that final, elusive Mirage book. A whole lotta effort (and fuel consumption) for a blog post that maybe a couple dozen folks are gonna read… but, that’s what I do.
Hell, Team Titans #1… along with the “extra” bits might make for a pretty good NINE HUNDREDTH DAILY DISCUSSION POST tomorrow, right? Right? right?
So, what do we have for today? Well… since this is kinduva “fill-in”, may as well use an issue that filled-in a gap in the previous New Titans “event”, Titans Hunt… what’s more, the book we’re going to read is going to introduce us to the very Team Titans this blog is so hung up on at the moment!
Sound good? Well… it ain’t like I’m doing this live… so, it kinda is what it is, right?
Anyhoo, let’s meet these geeks!
After an brief intro featuring, of all people, Waverider… this is coming off the Titans’ Armageddon 2001 tie-in, so I suppose the “of all people” line might not be warranted. We hop into the actual story… where it’s still 2001… by meeting a fella by the name of Ankon Willister. He’s an agent of Lord Chaos, and is seeking out the treasonous, traitorous, treacherous… Teen Titans?
Speaking of the Teen Titans… they sure don’t look familiar to me. Well, one of ’em does… but it… couldn’t be… her, could it? We shift to meet those Titans, who are receiving orders from a shadowy man on a screen, who they all just refer to as “leader”.
These Titans are the vampiric Nightrider, the electrical Killowat, the winged Redwing, the… uh, invisible Prestor Jon, annnnd Mirage and Terra. The Leader (with whom Redwing appears to be smitten) gives them the quick and dirty on the secret origin of Lord Chaos. If you’ve been following along with the blog, you already know… he is the Son of Donna Troy and Terry Long. The Leader tells the gang that, in order for their future not to come to pass… Donna’s gonna have to die before giving birth!
The Titans are kinda taken aback… after all, Donna’s one of the original Teen Titans… their very namesake! The Leader quickly brings them around to the idea… only one problem, though. Time-travel is an option, buuuut, it’s gonna be a one-way trip! The Leader is going to have to choose wisely from his Teams of Titans… and yeah, this is but one of his Titanic Teams!
We shift scenes over to Lord Chaos, who is… at this moment, burying his fist deep in the chest of a member of the resistance, while that Ankon Willister looks on. Chaos then creates a hologram of his mother Donna… and we learn that in this future, he actually killed her… because, well… he “had to”. Oh, he also destroyed all of the Titans for good measure.
Back at the resistance base, the Leader addresses his skatey-eight hundred Titans Teams… it’s time to start sending them back in time. The Leader fears that the original Titans will try and stop his Teamers from their appointed mission of… well, killing one of the original Titans. Chances are pretty good, pal. We learn here that this “Leader” has ties to the original team.
While our “main” Team of Titans waits for the “word go”, it’s reported that Lord Chaos has found their totally top secret location. The Leader gives the order for all remaining Titans to head toward the time-travel core. When they do… they find themselves walking into a war zone!
The gang fights their way through the baddies… and hops into the core. Moments later, popping out right in front of the Statue of Liberty, circa ye old 1991.
The Teamers admire the Statue… which they claim had been torn down in their 1997. Then… they, uh… start living as civilians (like… Terra takes a job!) while they try and find out all they can on Donna Troy and the Titans? I think? I guess Titans Tower was destroyed a couple issues back, so just knocking on the door is kinda out of the question… but still, this seems weird. I mean, with all that 2001-tech, tracking down Donna Troy shouldn’t be this complicated!
Some time later, Prestor Jon gathers the gang back together at the foot of Lady Liberty… he’s found some information about their target. And so, the Teamers head to what’s gotta be Donna and Terry’s digs? Maybe? The Teamers look at a photo of the happy couple, and restate their intentions… just in case we’d forgotten.
Back in the future, Lord Chaos realizes that some of the Titans have successfully made it back in time… and know that his in-utero form is their tiny target. He hops into the time-travellin’ core himself… to save… himself!
That dude Ankon Willister questions the wisdom of such a move… and is blasted for his troubles. Heckuva point-of-view character, this Ankon. The Leader, realizing the pooch has been sufficiently screwed, ‘splodes the entire place.
Lord Chaos lands in 1991… and engages in some hardcore gentrification in a seedy back-alley. The pieces… are now in place.
Yeah, this sure was something. Not really bad or anything, but in reading it today, it reinforces my decision to always skip this one (and the War of the Gods tie-in before it) any time I reread Titans Hunt. There are some interesting concepts here… but also, a very “crammed” feeling that makes it far less enjoyable than it might’ve been.
We meet these “new” Titans… they get their mission, badda-bing badda-boom, back to the past. It almost feels like we’re missing pages… though, damned if I could suggest what might fill ’em. Maybe I’m just becoming too accustomed to decompressed storytelling… and the fact that we didn’t get two-pages of Dagon spreading blood-flavored cream cheese on his morning bagel kinda tripped me up.
We get this point of view character in Ankon Whatshisface. I get what they were going for here, but it doesn’t really “land” for me. It doesn’t add any poignancy… it really, doesn’t add anything! I felt nothing for him when he was killed. Hell, I wasn’t even mad at him during the open when he blasted that one dude. He was a non-factor. I even considered not mentioning him at all during this discussion… because, really… he adds nothing.
The idea of a Titans-based resistance is pretty neat. A centralized “Leader” having a whole bunch of Titans Teams makes for an interesting story… not one I’d wanna read every month, but it’s pretty cool for a one-off.
The art… is uneven. Starts off quite strong, but gets really wonky on the other side of the staples. Also, we get a bunch of full-page spreads during the second half… which tells me they might’ve been facing dreaded deadline doom. I’m completely postulating… but, all the signs are there!
That’s really about it. I’m glad we took a look at this one, as it gives our TOTAL CHAOS coverage a bit more context… and we get a proper introduction to this gaggle of geeks.
Tomorrow… for our NINE-HUNDREDTH DAILY DISCUSSION… back to our regularly scheduled Chaos-most-Total? I’m going to head out to track down that Mirage variant today. Wish me luck…………. or, uh, don’t.