New Titans #91 (October, 1992)
“Total Chaos, Part 5: Growing Pains”
Writer – Marv Wolfman
Penciller – Tom Grummett
Inker – Al Vey
Letterer – John Costanza
Colorist – Adrienne Roy
Assistant Editor – Frank Pittarese
Editor – Jon Peterson
Cover Price: $1.75
Welcome to the “hump issue” of Total Chaos… we’re smack-dab in the middle, and so far? Not the worst thing ever. There’s actually rather a bit to like here.
Make sure that one shoe you’re wearing is tied… just in case it decides it wantsta go for a fall!
We open with Donna and the Lords Chaos. If you recall, we closed out Team Titans #1 with the birth of the newest member of the Long family. Here, just as he prophesied, Lord Chaos delivers (what he believes to be) the killing blow to his mother. It’s also revealed that Donna gave birth on the Moon. Not sure how she’s going to handle the immigration paperwork when this all shakes out.
On Earth, the former Titans Island to be specific, that pyramid is nearing completion. Seems whoever is funding this project has six entire construction teams working on the place 24-hours a day… so, what should take a year to build, has only taken a matter of weeks.
We briefly shift to a back alley… where, a portal opens… and a shadowy, possibly bemulleted fellow steps out. I won’t spoil this yet… but, if his silhouette strikes you as being somewhat familiar… there’s a reason for that.
Back at Dayton’s… it’s a Titanic squabble. This is where the book begins feeling like we’re running in place. There’s a lot of Titans infighting… and not a whole lot of it is all that interesting. The arguing is interrupted by the arrival of… Phantasm. The ol’ Sheet is searching for Donna Troy… and spends three. entire. pages. soliloquizing about it!
Back at Dayton’s… again… the Titans try to wrap their head around the possibility that Lord Chaos and the Donna-Terry spawn might exist at the same time. This train of thought is interrupted by the arrival of… Baby Wildebeest, who has been on-the-grow at a clip of one foot per day.
While the gang admires the “cuteness” of this horrid little critter, the news report detailing Deathstroke’s arrest plays over the television. Terra seems especially pleased…
She then gets extra snarky and suggests that New York City Mayoral Hopeful (and all-around “tough babe”) Elizabeth Alderman perhaps “get ridda” Donna Troy for them as well. Well, our man T-Long ain’t hearin’ that… and, of course… this leads to a fight. I toldja… lots of Titan-Fitan today… it’s almost as though they realized they still have half a crossover to fill.
We get several pages of fighting… all the while, a terrified Baby Wildebeest looks on (and attends to his “Mama” Pantha). Finally, the terrible tot’s seen enough, and morphs into his “final form”! I’m not sure there’s an artist on the planet who can make this look cool.
So… Baby starts wrecking Teamers. Killowat responds with an electrical blast… that misses, and winds up starting a fire that threatens not only Steve Dayton’s penthouse… but everybody in it. The Titans load onto Baby’s back… and leap to safety. The Teamers (all but Miri), it’s worth noting, leave first… and don’t seem to care that the real Titans might perish in the blaze.
Lucky for everyone (except maybe the reader), Phantasm arrives in the nick of time to contain the fire… in some sort of fwooshhhhing portal.
Back on the Moon, Lord Chaos thinks about stuff. Things aren’t quite adding up in his mind. Ya see, he recalls killing his mother several years after his birth… where now, he did it just moments after he was “birthed”. He thinks on it s’more, and decides… “Hey, mebbe I should kill my dad too!”
We end this chapter with a wild storm brewing on Earth… there’s tidal waves, tornados, volcanic eruptions (which isn’t really weather, but might mess with your morning commute just the same). Phantasm cries out that “Troy is everywhere”… and it’s soon made clear why. Donna’s back… and looks goofier than ever (and that’s saying something!)
Well, this one was a bit silly.
Feels a lot like a time-waster… which was par for the course during early-to-mid 1990’s crossevents. Snag a copy of just about any multi-team crossover, and you’re bound to get an issue or two where the teams square off over some philosophical difference or another. Keep in mind that this comes from a time where “hero vs hero” would just be a chapter of a crossover… and not the entire premise. So, I guess things could be (marvelously) worse.
At the heart of it, this really does feel like wheel-spinning. If I were reading this “week-to-week”, I gotta figure that I’d feel pretty ripped off. Well, maybe not “ripped off” necessarily, but… disappointed. The first “act” of Total Chaos was… unironically, pretty damn good! I suppose we’ve come to expect “second acts” to be a bit underwhelming… with a lot of “putting pieces into place”, and that’s exactly what we’re getting. Guess I can’t be too mad at it for being “what it is”. Though, those Phantasm pages of “nothing”… yeesh.
But… we’ve also got goofiness, and uneven characterization. Let’s look at Terra. In the last chapter, it seemed as though she was coming around… she wanted to make nice with Changeling (and I’d assume, the rest of his team)… here, she’s an ass! Snickering at Deathstroke’s arrest (though, I’ll allow that… she does have those residual memory implants after all)… but, then… suggesting Alderman “get ridda” Donna? Seems an odd “about face”, doesn’t it? Maybe I’m just thinking on it too hard.
The Wildebeest bit? Ehhh… never liked the ‘Beest… nor do I like the design. Just looks overly busy without style… some of that “already been chewed” George Perez. I think just the overall ugliness/goofiness of the character makes it so I can’t go “all in”. Also… Troia. Yikes! That was horrid. Makes the post-Who is Wonder Girl? look seem awesome by comparison.
Overall… this is probably the weakest chapter of Total Chaos to this point. In fairness, it is Act II-Chapter II, so, you don’t necessarily go into this expecting to be “wowed” by all-out action. So, as of now, I’m still thinking… Total Chaos: Not nearly as bad as you might’ve heard. I’m struggling to remember how I “received” this the first time around… all I know is that I didn’t like it, and I don’t know why. That was before I was on the internet… so, I hadn’t yet been entered into the “hive mind”. Really not sure. Maybe I am just softening!