New Titans #84 (March, 1992)
“The Jericho Gambit, Part Three: Endings… and Beginnings!”
Writer – Marv Wolfman
Pencils – Tom Grummett
Inks – Al Vey
Letters – John Costanza
Colors – Adrienne Roy
Editor – Jonathan Peterson
Cover Price: $1.75
It wouldn’t feel right starting any bit of business today without first paying a bit of tribute to Stan Lee. I’m not going to try and make this all about me… but, this one’s going to be a toughie.
We lost Steve Ditko some months back… which hurt. The thing with Stan though, is Stan always felt like family, know what I mean? He was just always there… and I don’t think I ever thought there would be a time when he wasn’t. I mean, we all know the realities of life… but, sometimes we choose not to pay them too much mind.
I hate to think of a comics industry that was never guided by his hand… heck, I’m not sure there still would be a comics industry if not for his hand. Ya know, at the risk of blabbering on, I’ll tie it off here.
Rest in Peace… Rest in Power… Thank you, Stan.
Now, for today’s piece… we’re finally wrapping up Titans Hunt. You know what that means… we’re also going to be adding it to our Collected Editions Page!
So, if you’ve missed any of our deep-dives on Titans Hunt, you’ll be able to check ’em out there (in order, even!).
We pick up right where we left off yesterday. Deathstroke has just run his son through with a sword in attempt to stop his corruption at the hands of the Trigon-afflicted souls of Azarath. Ya got all that? As the Titans look on, shocked… they are even more surprised to find, standing in the place of Phantasm… Danny Chase! *gasp* Also, it would seem that Dick was in on the Phanto-ruse.
Slade slumps down and cradles his son’s body… when it suddenly turns to dust in his hands. The Azarathian Souls are angry… and since their host body is no more, they turn their sights to the Titans! And so, before long we have Gar, Starfire, Raven, Mal, Bumblebee, and that other Dial-H kid (Christopher King) staring down our heroes!
We focus on Danny and Arella who are facing off with a full-blown demonic Raven… who’s just about to lose control, and she thinks she likes it! Raven lets fly with a terrific blast, which nearly kills young Master Chase.
She then fires a blast at her mother, Arella… which she is surprised to find is ineffective. Ya see, that’s because Arella’s body carries the soul of Azar herself… the former pacifist spiritual leader of Azarath. To give herself a boost, Raven summons all of the Azarathian souls from the other Titans, and into herself.
With Raven fully “darkened”, Danny and Arella have the idea to head inside her to confront her soul-self. Just then, the rest of the Titans find themselves surrounded by… Wildebeests! Betcha forgot about them… I know I did!
Inside, Raven just absolutely unleashes on poor Danny… leaving half of his body very badly burned. That’s when Arella has the idea of all ideas… it’s time for the Care Bear Stareᵀᴹ… which totally does the trick, because… c’mon, it always does!
Outside, there’s a huge burst of energy… and it looks like a portal opens. From the portal, the (now cleansed) souls of Azarath are summoned out.
With everything falling apart, the Titans attempt to make their way back to the dimensional door… which, gotta say, gives Tom Grummett one heck of an opportunity to draw some really cool stuff! Steve Dayton is holding the door open. Hmm… okay, I gotta ask… where the hell is Terry? Could’a sworn he came with.
Back inside the Wildebeest Lab, the Phantasm suit stirs back to life… and believes the hows and whys may lie with that former-frankfurter/former-cotton candy/current (dare I say) Baby Wildebeest.
The Titans in total make their way back to the real world… and in a flash, all the Azarathian stuff is sucked back through the portal where it belongs. There’s no time to reflect because… well, we’re out of pages!
Annnnnd, that’s that.
We end with… an issue long fight, more or less. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that… everything feels rather crammed. As a fake-ass synopsizer, it’s a dream… I just get to say “they fought” rather than calling the blow-by-blow action.
I wanna start by jumping all the way to the ending… like the very last page. I know I’ve harped on (and on) about how poorly paced I found Titans Hunt throughout… but, this really feels like a case of just “running out of pages”. I think back to all of the wasted pages we read through during this run… how much repetitive exposition… how many cutaways to the Team Titans… friggin’ Pariah recapping Crisis on Infinite Earths #7… so many wasted pages… but, as we draw to a conclusion, there’s suddenly no more pages left!
I get “leaving ’em wanting more”, but here’s the thing… I’m not left wanting more… the only reason I’d want the next issue is to get through it in order to put this entire thing behind us.
Now, yeah… I’m being pretty negative… but that’s not to say there wasn’t a good story here, because there was. Perhaps if Titans Hunt started in New Titans #71 and culminated in a giant-sized #75 (or Annual #7), we’d have a super-tight story, that didn’t feel like a chore more often than not. Could you imagine if The Judas Contract (the “event”) was dragged out for over a year? Dark Phoenix Saga? I mean, there’s only so long even the most gifted of writers are going to be able to hold a reader’s attention. For example, 95% of people checking out this post have already stopped reading by now!
I can’t believe I’m saying this… but, if I had to choose between Titans Hunt and Total Chaos… it’s Total Chaos, all day, every day. I’ll give them credit for trying to update (and un-stagnate) the Titans… but, this story arc circled the drain for a few months too long. Dump about half of it… pull out from the “event” tie-ins… and we might have a story I’d wholeheartedly recommend. As it stands, I could only recommend as an important part of “Titans History”, because it actually does alter the team moving forward. As a story? There are far better.