New Titans #86 (May, 1992)
“If This Be Chaos!”
Writer – Marv Wolfman
Pencils – Tom Grummett, Curt Swan & Kevin Maguire
Inks – Jerome Moore & Al Vey
Colors – Adrienne Roy
Letters – Bob Pinaha, Pat Brosseau & John Costanza
Editor – Jonathan Peterson
Cover Price: $1.75
It’s been a few months since we discussed Titan’s Hunt… figure I might’ve shaken enough of the burn-out off so we can pop back in on the post-Titans Hunt/pre-Total Chaos era.
Here’s a question: What’s better than an epilogue to an overlong story? How ’bout a whole bunch of epilogues?!
We open during an ordinary day inside an ordinary office building. New has spread throughout the company that a mysterious fellow walked in, talked to the C.E.O., and within a matter of minutes… talked himself into the top gig! For those of us who read Total Chaos, we already know who this dude is. Anyhoo, he calls the entirety of his new staff into his new office… and fires ’em all! Once they’re gone, he takes on his more “godly” form, and promises to kill Donna Troy.
Speaking of whom, we shift scenes and join Donna and the rest of the Titans as they stand bamboozled around the Baby Wildebeest they rescued from the Society at the end of Titans Hunt. Pantha is keen on just gutting the little bastard… which is certainly one way to go. The rest of the Titans (and the Beestie itself) put a stop to her homicidal urges.
The Baby begins to wail, and the Titans haven’t the foggiest idea what to do with it. Thankfully, Steve Dayton wanders into the scene, carrying a tremendous (like comically large) jug of milk… this, conveniently, winds up being the ticket to getting the Beestie to quit kvetching.
Pantha still wants to kill it. If you recall, the Wildebeest Society conducted experiments on her… gotta figure, the last thing she wants to look at is yet another ‘Beest. Donna suggests that the Baby is just as much a victim of the Society as Pantha was… after all, the thing was created to be the vessel for Azarath, or whatever-the-hell. Pantha’s all “screw you guys, I’m going home”, and reminds the Titans that they’re going to have to start buying diapers. Our man, Terry realizes that she’s right.
We rejoin “the C.E.O.” (we’re just going to call him “Lord Chaos”, is that cool?), as he vows to kill Donna Troy… again. Talk about a one-track-mind. Anyhoo, he recoils in pain… and at that very same moment, Donna is in the middle of some “flu-like symptoms”, including puking her guts up. Terry knocks on the bathroom door to check on her, which… probably doesn’t help to settle her stomach.
Back at Dayton’s, Gar and Steve are having a bit of a heart-to-heart about Vic’s condition. If you recall, he was ‘sploded and put back together during Titan’s Hunt… and, when he was reassembled, they left out his personality. We can see that this chat is being observed… by Terra!
We shift scenes to Dick watching Kory stand by a stream. He thinks to himself how much he loves her… but, of late, she views his “love” as smothering… coddling, even. He goes to approach her, and gets a rather frosty reception. This little back-n-forth is being observed… by Mirage!
We jump ahead to Donna, Terry, and Red Star visiting S.T.A.R. Labs to check in on Victor. As they approach his room, Donna doubles over… more “flu-like symptoms”. Oh, and at the very same time, Lord Chaos also doubles over… so, there’s that.
Dr. Sarah Whatsherface plops Donna onto a gurney and wheels her off to take a look at her most-definitely-not “flu-like symptoms”. This leaves Red Star alone to check on Cyborg. He learns that Vic is stronger than ever, but fears that his new cybernetic parts might actually be killing him. This visit is being observed… by Redwing!
From here, we jump into a trio of epilogues… that’s an awful lot of epilogues for an epilogue issue itself! Anyhoo, during the first, we get more of Gar and Steve’s chat. After they part company, Terra decides that the time is right to reveal herself. Gar, as you might imagine, is beside himself with disbelief.
In our second epilogue, we follow Dick Grayson… as he follows Starfire. He hops off his motorcycle and, distracted by a bemulleted Terry Long, bumps into an individual wearing a full-on flasher outfit… ya know, trenchcoat and hat.
After a few confusing panels (which will make sense down the line), Dick both leaves Kory’s apartment… and knocks on her door. Veddy interesting. Or not.
Then, in our third (and final epilogue)… Dick Grayson is stood at the wreckage of Titans Tower. He is joined by Deathstroke the Terminator… and they exchange pleasantries. Dick’s upset that Slade didn’t even attend his son’s funeral. We know he was there, but Dick doesn’t.
What’s more, Dick really lays into Slade for the whole “murdering his own Son” thing. I mean, someone had to, right?
Dick and Slade fight for a bit… well, actually… Dick fights, Slade really only defends himself. After swatting Dick into some wreckage, he reminds him that after everything that happened… and everything he did, he still lost a(nother) Son. Dick wonders aloud how and why people like Slade (and Bruce) keep things bottled up inside of them. One of those rare moments where we’re reminded that Slade knows “the” secret.
Deathstroke reveals to Dick that he must constantly tell himself he didn’t kill Joey… but instead, he freed him. Otherwise, he’d go crazy. All he wants now, is to go home… which is something Dick isn’t even sure he has anymore.
Ya know, when we cover an issue like that, it shines a light on one of the weaknesses of this blog’s format. It’s hard to feign ignorance or surprise, when we’ve already discussed how all of this is going to wind up during Total Chaos! So, let’s just cover a few bits and pieces here…
I mean, we know what Donna’s “flu-like symptoms” are going to wind up being… though, even without hindsight, anytime a woman gets “stomach sick” in media, there’s like a 99% chance that she’s pregnant.
The addition of Baby Wildebeest to the cast… ehh, whatayagonnado, right? Seems like another instance of adding an a “Cousin Oliver” (oddly enough, not too far removed from the last time… when they added pretty much the embodiment of “Cousin Oliver”). Unfortunately Baby-Beest, like Danny before, suffers from… a rather unpleasant to look at design. It’s not like this could be the Titans “cute” mascot, when it isn’t terribly cute to begin with.
The Team Titans lurking on the sidelines was pretty neat… kinda made me flashback to a time when subplots would bubble alongside the primary narrative… though, it’s pretty clear here that the Teamers will be the focus before long. If you ask me, Terra revealing herself to Gar (minds outta the guttah), probably should have been the last page of the issue. I feel like ending on a cliffhanger rather than a maudlin Dick muttering on about “home” would have been more satisfying.
Actually… I probably could have done without the Dick ‘n Deathstroke scene at all. Felt like a way to justify the cover… which was misleading at best. “–And Only One Shall Lead!” sayeth our cover copy… though, leadership of the team was never even in question. Oh well, ya gotta sell copies, and Dick ‘n Deathstroke on the cover would probably more more units than anything else going on in this book!
Overall… a pretty decent issue, which I gotta figure fans of the day found a welcome change from the seemingly never-ending Titans Hunt story. There is a real feeling of progression here… something that I feel was seriously lacking during the second-half of “Hunt”. This issue is available digitally.