New Titans #75 (April, 1991)
“Countdown to Doomsday!”
Writer – Marv Wolfman
Pencils – Tom Grummett
Inks – Al Vey
Letters – John Costanza
Colors – Adrienne Roy
Editor – Jonathan Peterson
Cover Price: $1.75
Okay friends… today the hood comes off! We learn who has been behind the Titans Hunt and the Wildebeest Society… and, more importantly… I finally get to spill the beans on who the “big bad” really is!
If you’ve followed this blog (or at least the Titans-centric entries of it) for any amount of time, you’ll know that I’ve kept this reveal under wraps (as best I could for a nearly thirty year old story), because I knew that… eventually… we’d discuss it.
Well, eventually… is today!
Alrighty, today’s issue is basically going to be the same scene over and over again from different points of view… it’s much easier to follow than that “number of the beests” mishegas yesterday, but I want to clarify the structure up front, just in case I make it difficult to keep up with in my synopsizing. Anyhoo, we open with Nightwing laid before the lead Wildebeest. He claims that, despite Dick having no superpowers, he was the Titans the ‘beests feared the most (I wonder if he ever gets tired of hearing that?). Dick gets lippy, and is socked in the mush. He is then shown just what happened to his teammates (current and former)… they’ve been cryogenically frozen!
Nightwing lashes out and attempts, once again, to fight off the Wildebeests. This doesn’t go all that well, as you might imagine. He does manage to tear the mask off of the leader though… and he is rather shocked to see who it really is! We don’t get the reveal yet… but, it’s comin’!
We jump back a few minutes and head back outside. This bit comes from Deathstroke’s point of view. He, Dayton, and Arella have a “but my kid’s in there”-athon, before Slade rushes back into the Dayton-copter to try and follow up with Pantha and Phantasm. He winds up being jumped by a bunch’a Beests…
… and the chopper goes down! Under the cover of smoke and flame, Deathstroke narrowly manages to escape.
After hitting the drink, he is dragged under by a nearby intake duct, which actually brings him right where he wanted to be… inside the compound! He uses his enhanced reflexes to finagle himself through a fan-duct to avoid being pursued by a pair of persistent Beests.
Slade presses on and manages to escape the ducts. Unfortunately for him, he is immediately taken out by the big Beest in charge, the unmasked… Joe Wilson?!
Jumping back a few minutes, from the point of view of Arella… Slade’s helicopter blows up over the water… and neither she nor Dayton can see whether or not he was able to bail out in time. Dayton damns him for damning their children to whatever the Beests have in mind.
She and Dayton split up to do a little reconnaissance… only, she actually just decides to head inside and take care of business herself. She watches as Pantha charges in, and decides to follow her path. Inside, she is spotted by a Wildebeest… but uses her empathic powers to control him… even convincing him to protect her along the way… until they happen across, Dick, Slade… and Joe! She seems more shocked that Joey is able to speak than anything. He blah-blahs about killing them all.
Dick lashes out… again. This doesn’t work out so well… again. The Beests overwhelm their guests and drag them along the corridors. Arella says the only thing that can help them is a miracle… and, I don’t know about you… but that sounds to me like a perfect segue to…
… Pantha? Sure, why not? Anyhoo, we jump back a few minutes and join her being chatted up by Phantasm. That’s kinda where we ended things last issue. He wants to team up… she ain’t playin’. She swipes at him, and is shocked that the floating limbless sheet-man doesn’t actually have a body.
The pair then fight off some attacking Wildebeests before she breaks away in order to head inside. Of course, along the way, she sees Deathstroke’s helicopter go down.
She manages to find her way inside… which we already saw through Arella’s eyes, and makes her way to where all the action is happening, just as Jericho is getting ready to explain what he plans to do with the hunted-Titans.
A few minutes earlier… and from the perspective of Phantasm. He, uh… enters the compound and catches up to Pantha. That’s really about it. At this point, Jericho explains that the Titans are strapped inside rockets… which kinda comes outta nowhere. Anyhoo… he pushes a big… shiny… candy-like red button, which launches ’em! I ask you, who could resist a button like that?
At this point, Pantha launches herself… into an attack. Say it with me… it doesn’t go all that well. Jericho, despite being suddenly evil, still has his powers of -CONTACT-! He takes over her body. Thankfully, Phantasm is also there… and his salvo is enough to cause a bit of a distraction.
We wrap up with the sight of one of the Titan-carrying-rockets… bursting in air! Nightwing is certain… that a Titan just died!
Ya know what really sucks? Titans Hunt was one of the first Titans stories I read (in full)… which made the reveal fall completely flat for me. I just didn’t have the proper context to understand why this was so important… why it was so shocking. To me, it was just this curly-haired blonde guy was now the “big bad”. I just didn’t get it. I knew it was supposed to be important, which I guess is something… but, unfortunately, since I wasn’t a tenured Titan at that point, it lacked “oomph”.
Also… Jericho wearing that ridiculous Wildebeest outfit… eesh. I don’t know how he managed to hide that bowl of buttered popcorn he calls a head under a Beest hood!
Of course, none of that is the book’s fault. Well, maybe the silly Wildebeest costume is, but by this point that ship had already sailed.
I dug the way this issue was structured… each snippet was not only focused on one character… it was also narrated by them. It really allowed us to get into their heads and learn a bit more about our newcomers.
Phantasm was shocked by the Joey reveal… even more so that he could now speak. That tells us for certain that he’s
Dann… er, that he’s familiar with the Titans.
We learn more about Pantha having been experimented on at the Wildebeest Compound. Jericho even goes so far as to refer to her as their first (and only) successful test subject to date.
The bit with the hunted-Titans being strapped into rockets? Ehh, that was a bit out of nowhere. Kinda resulted in a “Wait… what?” reaction, followed by an “I guess we’re doing this now?”. I dunno… it seemed so “out there” that it almost took me out of the story. I mean, we get this big reveal and betrayal… then suddenly, we’re back in a comic book? Does that make any sense? Ehh, probably not.
Overall… an important issue (and arc), that is well worth your time. Tomorrow… believe it or not, things are going to get even worse for the team!