New Titans #82 (January, 1992)
“The Jericho Gambit, Part One: The Saviors!”
Writer – Marv Wolfman
Pencils – Tom Grummett
Inks – Al Vey
Letters – John Costanza
Colors – Adrienne Roy
Editor – Jonathan Peterson
Cover Price: $1.75
Holy smokes… are we actually getting another actual chapter of Titans Hunt?! Looks like it! Also, from the cover copy, it looks like we’re in for a big reveal!
Don’t get your hopes up…
Remember a hundred years ago when Jericho flipped that switch? Well, as we open here… it’s finally flipped! Joe has Nightwing look on as the “transference” begins… only, Dick busts out of his bindings and goes on the offensive, socking every Beest that gets in his way. At this point, Jericho overwhelms him with that weird… lion thing he’s been emitting from his body.
He tells Dick that he doesn’t need him anymore… and tells him that he’d only let him live this long out of respect. He commands Wildebeest Number Ninety-One (probably my third or fourth favorite Beest) to toss Dick into Cell-3. Ninety-One furrows his brow (I assume… he is wearing that ghastly mask) and reminds Jericho that Cell-3 is already occupied. No matter… toss ’em in anyway.
Gotta say, looks like Ninety-One is one of Joey’s favorites too… the last few Beests to question the boss had to be swept into a dustbin! Anyhoo… we next join Nightwing inside Cell-3, where we learn that his new cellmate is… the Original Wildebeest!
We rejoin Jericho as he chats up one of his scientists. They admire a critter that looks kinda like the “hot dog” when you touch the tips of your index-fingers together in right front of your eyes. You know what I’m talking about? If not, give it a try… here’s a visual aid (and link if you click the pic):
And here’s the little beastie… see what I mean? Anyhoo, Jericho suggests that this thing might be their final hope… and wonders what they’ll all look like inside it.
We jump back to… I’d say Lilith’s place, but it kinda feels like nobody wants to remember that last issue happened. I know I sure don’t! Pantha talks a bit of spoo about Cyborg being useless… to which, Phantasm (of all people) chimes in about how Vic’s their “friend”… a faux pas that Pantha latches onto with the quickness, after all… isn’t Phantasm a “new guy”? Hmm…
From here we get… are ya kidding me… expositional catch-up! Arella retells the story of what went down at her Jackson Hole ranch. Something that could’ve been summed up in a half-page is given four! The only “new” information we get is that Arella recognized Jericho’s “lion emittance” as a soul-self.
As the Good Guys continue to tell each other stories, it’s Terry Long (of all people) who suggests… why don’t we take a peek at Jericho’s apartment? Well, no duh… why is it, we have a room with Slade Wilson in it… and Terry Freaking Long is the one keeping us on point?!
Before they can leave, however… Donna Troy returns from War of the GodzzZZZzzzzZz. Terry gives her the “I thought you were dead”… to which she explains, “I got better”. Watch out, Wolverine… Donna Troy is coming for your banter! Also, your haircut.
The Titans arrive at Jericho’s pad… just as Dagon (of the Team Titans) is admiring that recent painting of Joey’s… which we saw happen 119 days ago. So, when exactly did the War of the Gods chapter happen? Was that just a collective fever dream? It almost had to have been… I mean, Pariah and Terry Long sharing panel-space? That couldn’t possibly have really happened, right? Anyhoo, Dagon bugs out just before they enter… and Red Star starts taking pictures of everything in the place.
Back in Cell-3, the OG Wildebeest tells Dick the story of the Society. They wanted to keep their goals nebulous… and only be seen one at a time to throw off any notion that they were actually a “society”. Then… Jericho came.
Joe Wilson immediately took over the Wildebeest Society… and when the OG-Beest realized what his goals were, he got himself tossed in Cell-3. Dick tries to affix a date to Joe’s “turn”… but has trouble when he realizes that the way Joey was abducted (all them issues back) was non-violent, and could very easily have been an “put on” to give him an alibi.
We rejoin the Titans as they sift through Red Star’s photos. They think it odd that all of Jericho’s paintings are of buildings… when he used to only draw beautiful portraits. They put their heads together… and come up with bupkis. Then it’s Pantha (of all people… again) who figures it all out.
She suggests that, since the paintings are all from “above”… that Jericho might’ve just been painting what he saw. Sooo… if they can deduce which buildings were painted… and from which angle, ipso facto, they ought to be able to find where he’s been hanging out!
So, after a day’s tour of the City… the gang is able to deduce Joey’s vantage point while he was painting. They head to the location, and find Joey…’s easel. Oh well, at least they’re on the right track.
Deathstroke finds a secret passage attached to the room… and they head inside. They wander deeper and deeper into the darkness before coming up on a door… which they open. Behind it is… oh c’mon… Azarath??!?!?!
I’m sure everyone’s familiar with the saying “too little, too late”, no?
Here we are, four months (119 Days) after the last actual chapter of Titans Hunt hit the shelves… and what we get, is kind of a let down. I know I’ve droned on (and on) about the pacing of this story… I must sound like a broken record by now, but… c’mon… did we really need to spend four pages revisiting Jackson Hole? Did Donna’s return from War of the Gods really require a full-page? Did we need to see the Good Guys spend page after page trying and figure out what Joey’s paintings meant?! I mean… just not enough happens here. It’s the very definition of too little… too late.
As for what we did get… Deathstroke is completely off his game for the first 2/3 of the book. I get that his son is kind of the king of the whole magilla… but, I’d expect Slade Wilson on his worst day to have a better tactical mind than Terry Long or Pantha on their best. Oh well, whattayagonnado?
Let’s talk about that cover. It makes a pretty bold promise, doesn’t it? Makes you think that maybe… just maybe… Jericho has someone that he answers to, right? “The Secret Revealed!” “I’m the TRUE Wildebeest Leader!” I mean, those statements definitely send a message. And… while they aren’t technically untrue, the reveal is horribly deflating. Really, what do any of us care about the OG-Beest?! Did that do anything for anybody?
And that ending… oy… Azarath. If there’s anything I dislike more than Titans in Space stories… it’s Titans in Azarath stories. It’s been so long since I’ve read this, I’d totally forgotten that Azarath figured into it. What a rude awakening that was!
Overall… can’t really recommend this… or tell ya to avoid it. I’m sure the recaps were useful back in 1991/1992… since this chapter took so damn long to come out… but all of those wasted pages feel kind of like a slap in the face. I’d have to assume the Titans faithful of ’91 were foaming at the mouth to get their hands on this… I’d love to know what their “takeaway” was after reading it! If you have any stories to tell, please share ’em!