New Titans #81 (December, 1991)
“War of the Gods, Chapter 23”
Writer – Marv Wolfman
Pencils – Curt Swan
Inks – Al Vey
Letters – John Costanza
Colors – Matt Hollingsworth
Editor – Jonathan Peterson
Cover Price: $1.75
Alright… I wasn’t even sure I was going to cover this one… but, it does take place during (and heavily refer to) the Titans Hunt storyline.
About halfway through rereading the issue I decided “what the heck?”… we’ll discuss it. We have zero War of the Gods related posts here… and it’ll give me another opportunity to kvetch about poor time management in the Titans Office. Now, doesn’t that sound like fun?!
We open with some purple prose-filled captions and images of a chaotic cosmic event. We’ll see this throughout the issue (but I’ll only include this one image)… this is a War of the Gods thing, and we’ll learn a bit more about it soon. After a shot of Lilith Clay meditating, we hop over to Dayton’s Long Island estate where he’s on the horn with S.T.A.R. Labs. If you recall, a couple of issues back Aqualad had himself an episode.
Dayton (and the S.T.A.R. Labs folk) are unsure how to deal with Garth’s affliction… heck, they’re not even sure how his physiology is supposed to work. Did you know Atlanteans’ hearts are upside down and on the right side of their body? Well, ya do now! Anyhoo, Red Star chimes in and suggests transporting Aqualad to the West Coast where (former Cyborg-squeeze) Dr. Sarah Charles is studying cryogenics. The idea is… freeze Garth until he can be taken back to Atlantis for proper treatment. So, we’re left thinking that a cross-country flight is somehow quicker than plopping him back in the Ocean then? Oh yeah, Lilith is still meditating.
The group goes into full-on exposition-mode. Titans have been captured… People have been killed… Joe Wilson is the big-bad… Donna and Dick were just nabbed. Just when they run out of things to catch us up on… the phone rings. It’s Lilith, and she might know where Donna is!
Pantha and Slade do-si-do a bit, but come to a begrudging respect for after realizing they’d both just as soon kill each other. Then they load into the Dayton-Copter, and head over to Lilith’s place. She directs them into the bedroom, where they find… Pariah… yeah, that Pariah (as if the cover didn’t spoil it)… floating above the covers.
Our man, T. Arthur Long actually takes point here. He doesn’t get far though… Pariah just goes into his “I’m here to witness a disaster” blibbuh blabbuh.
He gets out of bed… and begs for the sweet release of death. He’s still not making any sense to the Titans… nor is he informing them where Donna is. Deathstroke approaches, but is slammed into a wall. Red Star goes next, and is thrown out a glass door. Phantasm saves him before he goes splat.
Pariah walks through the broken door… and into the night sky. He’s still begging for the Gods to release him of his burden. Terry shouts from the balcony… but, Pariah is unresponsive. While we’re here… did you ever think we’d get a Terry Long/Pariah scene? I mean, what chain letter in hell did we break to deserve this? Oh Lord, I just realized… Danny Chase is also (kinda) here too. Yikes!
Anyhoo… Deathstroke leaps from the balcony to nab Pariah… which, is one of the funnier panels I’ve come across in a long while. This doesn’t go well for ol’ Slade… Pariah is able to judo-toss him over his shoulder… then dangle the Terminator in the sky with a single hand.
At this point, Terry starts shouting again. He talks about how important Donna is to him… then, then… then starts giving Pariah his life story! Ay yai yai.
Thankfully it’s this pathetic exchange that shocks Pariah back to his senses. Honestly, I’m surprised he isn’t crying (yet)… I mean, Terry Long’s life is at least as sad as Earth-3 being wiped out of the multiverse, right?
Pariah flies back into Lilith’s place… and shares his own origin story… which we already covered in long form when we discussed Crisis on Infinite Earths #7. Quick and dirty: Pariah wanted to see the origins of the Universe… and found himself damned. His own Universe was wiped out… and he was left flailing in nothingness for millions of years. He’d eventually facilitate the awakening of the Anti-Monitor. What’s with these guys dooming their universes by trying to view their origins?
Arella suggests that the Titans leave her and Pariah alone for awhile… however, as they go to leave, she asks Terry to stick around. Terry Long, Pariah, and Raven’s mom? This is officially the lamest room in the DC Universe. Oh, and… if you’re a fan of Pariah working his crying gimmick… this is the scene for you!
Meanwhile, in the living room… Pantha and Lilith are fighting over the remote control. They happen across a news station that is reporting that Wonder Woman… has died! Good to see that Cable News has reporters on New Olympus, or wherever the hell.
Oh yeah, I probably ought to mention… that’s the big “disaster” Pariah is buggin’ out about. New Olympus is coming into the universe. That’s what all the purple prose and swirly chaotic cosmic imagery we’ve been seeing is about.
We close out with New Olympus actually showing up… something that will be dealt with… elsewhere! In War of the Gods #4 if you’re really interested.
There are times when we “professional reviewers” find ourselves a bit too deep within a subject to be able to fairly analyze a particular, singular, element of what we’re reviewing. This is the case today.
I’d love to review this as a single-issue, and on its own merits… however, in the back of my mind, all I can think about is how this was crammed in… and pushed Titans Hunt back for a third month running!
Even though I definitely felt like this issue was a “dud” (I could think of other, cruder, words to use… but “dud” will suffice)… this was only compounded with the knowledge that the last vital part of Titans Hunt came out ninety-one days ago! And the next part wouldn’t hit for another twenty-eight! All this for a War of the Gods tie-in?
And there’s the thing… Pariah is crying about the disaster and destruction headed their way… the fact that the DC Universe is just about to be wiped out… annnnnd, I’m just not buying it! Just because you toss Pariah into a story doesn’t automatically make it a Crisis-level event! Hell, War of the Gods wasn’t even the main “event” going on… as it was coming out! I might’ve been on the Marvel side of things back in 1991… but I definitely heard DC fans talking more about Armageddon 2001 than War of the Gods!
This was an all-around waste of time… and I really feel bad for faithful New Titans readers for having this issue dropped into their pull-box as they anxiously awaited the next installment of Titans Hunt.
Speaking of the next installment… we’ll (finally) get there tomorrow! We’ve still got three chapters to get through! Hope you’re all enjoying it so far (this cutaway and my kvetching notwithstanding).