New Titans #79 (1991)

New Titans #79 (September, 1991)
Writer – Marv Wolfman
Pencils – Tom Grummett, Paris Cullins & Curt Swan
Inks – Al Vey
Colors – Adrienne Roy
Letters – John Costanza
Editor – Jonathan Peterson
Cover Price: $1.75

Ready for another exciting chapter of Titans Hunt?

Well, I’m very sorry… because today is just an exercise in treading water.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read through this post!

We open just as Donna Troy is being whisked away into War of the GodzZzzZzz.  Our main man Terry is freaking out, naturally… but the rest are distracted by the fact that the invading Wildebeests simply vanished into thin air… and they took Nightwing with them!  Suddenly a beam falls from the ceiling.  Reacting quickly (perhaps a little too quickly, considering) Deathstroke tackles Terry Long, saving his life.

After the dust settles, Phantasm starts whisking the debris away.  At this point, Arella finally decides to saunter on in.  She’s upset that Donna has been taken… though, not as upset as Terry.  The poor dude is a wreck, saying they should have never come back from Greece… ya know what?  He’s right!  That’s what we in the biz call a “win-win”, we never have to see Terry again… but, he’s alive and safe somewhere.

We shift scenes back to Jericho’s art studio.  He is painting the city… something he feels is very important to do before the “transformation” begins (I thought it was the transference?).  Anyhoo, another Wildebeest dares to question him… and is reduced to cinder for it.

Over on Titans Island, Captain Hall is talking to a City Worker named Twyne.  Twyne is happy the gig is taking so long, as it means the city will have to charge back the Titans even more… also, it’ll certainly bolster Elizabeth Alderman’s political aspirations.  Hall isn’t pleased to hear any of this.

As the remaining Titans take the drive out to Steve Dayton’s Long Island compound, we pop in on a meeting between Captain Hall and Elizabeth Alderman.  It’s here we get to take the “temperature” of the city.  Liz claims that New Yorkers are at the point where they fear the Titans… which, isn’t outside the realm of possibilities considering recent events.  She also makes it clear that she has her eyes set on Gracie Mansion… that is to say, she wants to be Mayor of New York City.

We briefly shift out to the West Coast, where Victor Stone’s family is hiding out in a Church.  They wonder if their grandson is alright… and we can see that he’s not.  Though, it’s worth mentioning that his expression does seem to change here.  Not sure if that was intentional… but it does!

We rejoin Captain Hall (dude’s getting a ton of panel-time today).  He, and another officer, are checking out an apartment building that Raven was spotted entering at the start of the arc.  A helpful editorial caption informs us that Titans Hunt has been going on for two weeks at this point.  Anyhoo… they trudge up the stairs, and enter a rather stinky apartment… the apartment of creepy cannibal, Emil Sorda.

Sorda doesn’t keep the tidiest of homes… and has actually left his next few weeks worth of “meals” out to rot.  Hall and… man, I wish his partner’s name was “Oates”… rush out of the place, and call it in to the Department.

They don’t know it, but they’re being watched by… a shadowy stranger (the likes we saw lurking around Titans Island two issues back).  Just like then, they report their findings in to a “Jon”.  The stranger then sheds… her trenchcoat, revealing a pair of wings.  Before taking off, she vows that they’ll kill Troia.  Hope that didn’t give it all away!

Out at Dayton’s place, Arella spouts off about some AzzZzzzZzzar stuff… which Slade overhears.  They chat about their children… and how Deathstroke thought for a moment, Joe and Raven would wind up being lovers.  Slade thinks Joey being “controlled” is a definite possibility, however cannot understand how he is now able to speak.  Hey, I know… maybe he’s using a lame-o voice modulator or something!  Nah, they’d never do something that lazy.  Hashtag-Rebirth.

They talk some more… Arella asks if he’s told Addie about Joe’s recent turn.  He hasn’t.  After everything that happened with their other son, Grant… he isn’t sure how to approach it.

Over at some government building, the bean counters are tabulating how much the Titans might owe in damages to the city… which, in perfect DC fashion is Fifty-Two million dollars.  How ’bout that?  All these years before their 52-Fetish even began!

Elizabeth Alderman excuses herself to powder her nose.  In the restroom, she is confronted by… a shadowy stranger!  Liz is tied up and tossed in a stall… however, is somehow still able to attend the rest of the meeting!  Hmm… hope that didn’t give it all away.

Later on, during the same meeting… “Alderman” learns that Donna Troy has returned from her second honeymoon (she doesn’t know that she’s vanished again though).  She says that “Jon” will love hearing this.

Over at Daytons, the good guys put their heads together to plan their next move.  Phantasm looks on from outside… and is pretty down that Grayson ain’t there.  He gives a run down on our current “team”… and wonders if any of them could be trusted.  The only one he feels he could’ve trusted… is the one who was just snatched away by the Beests.

We hop over to S.T.A.R. Labs, where Aqualad is beginning to squirm in his aqua-pod.  His squirming leads to full-blown panicking… and he bashes his way through the glass.  He isn’t well or anything… once free, he just slumps to the ground.

Next, we head over to Jericho’s apartment… just as the police are taping it off.  Inside, another shadowy stranger pops in.  This one we actually get to see… and wouldn’tcha know it… it’s Morbius the Living Vampire!  Well, okay… it’s not… but, if you’re familiar with the Titans of this era, this scene will almost certainly give it away.  Anyhoo, he finds one of Joey’s paintings… with a very recent date on it.  He reports his findings to “Jon…ny boy”.

Hey, remember how last issue ended with Jericho and Nightwing… and all that talk about transference?  Well, here’s another look at it.  Dick tries to reason with Joey… which, ya know… doesn’t go all that well.  Joey finally pulls the switch… signalling the start of… whatever it is he’s planning!  New Titans readers of the day would have to wait four months for this to pay off!  Ay yai yai.

That’s not the end of the issue, however… that, my friends, is the “big reveal”.  Just who are all of these shadowy strangers?  Well, c’mon, as if you hadn’t put the pieces together yet… these are the Team Titans… and they’re here to kill Donna Troy!

Okay, stop me if you heard this one… the pacing… my lord, the pacing.  This is almost as if Marv just became bored with the Titans Hunt storyline… or editorial stepped in to really gum up the works.  This issue barely moved us forward.  Seriously… last issue ended with Jericho about to pull a switch… this one ended with him actually pulling the switch!

Indeed, this issue seemed preoccupied with rushing to introduce the kiddos we’ll soon know as the Team Titans.  Looking at where we’re headed from here… it’s a complete mess.  The next Titans book to hit the shelves is New Titans Annual #7 (an Armageddon 2001 tie-in, featuring the Teamsters)… then New Titans #80 (that Team Titans origin issue we’ve already discussed)… then New Titans #81 (a War of the Gods tie-in featuring, Pariah of all people).  It won’t be until New Titans #82 that we rejoin Titans Hunt proper!

Taking a look at Mike’s Amazing World (which, I believe is pretty accurate)… take a look at these release dates:

Look at that column on the far right.  That’s 119 days from the time Jericho pulls the switch… to finding out just what the damn thing does!  That’s a long damn time.  Of course, none of that matters in 2018… but, I still feel like it’s worth mentioning.

So, whatta we get here?  Well, a jam-issue, featuring three pencillers with distinct styles, and an inker (Al Vey) doing his damnedest to make it all flow.  For the most part, he does a really good job… sure, it’s easy to see where one artist ends and another begins, but it’s certainly not as jarring as one might imagine.

This issue is frustrating on many levels.  Even discounting the delays… just not enough happens here.  This feels like an issue crammed full of single-page subplots… the kinda stuff that would be peppered through a dozen or so issues of the book.  Considering we’re in the midst of several “events” here, I don’t think it’s fair to lay this all at Marv’s feet… I’d guess editorial had something to do with this.

Overall… this issue would read perfectly well if you were binging on Titans Hunt… so, if this arc ever gets collected, it’s a no-brainer to include it.  If you’re reading these, say, daily… it’s gonna grind on ya.  If you were (heaven forbid) reading these “monthly”… I’m not sure how enjoyable this would be.

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