Thursday, July 14, 2016

Catching up on Comics -- Series Run: The Titans #7-8

1999, DC Comics

Another two-parter that highlights the growing strengths and diminishing weaknesses of Devin Grayson's Titans run.  With issues 5 & 6, Grayson's comfort with the team dynamics of the book increased almost exponentially.  With these two issues, she's showing even more capability in juggling the multiple character stories and making the stories relevant to more than one character at a time in certain circumstances.  She's also gotten far away from throwing the whole team at a problem, realizing that they do have lives of their own, while also negotiating continuity in a non-obtrusive, nor overly pointed manner.

Uh, nobody, it turns out.
For instance, this issue starts where last issue ended, with Lian gone missing.  Donna and Roy are still on their "date" and are unaware of the situation, while the rest of the Titans at the Tower are freaking out.  They contact Nightwing in Bludhaven who obviously can't make it there in time to help.  Aqualad's freaking out the most, primarily because, he reveals, he's knocked up his girlfriend, Dolphin (her name is Dolphin, she's not a dolphin, just to be clear) so he's going to be a dad.

Meanwhile, Lian is back at her babysitter Chandra's apartment, where Chandra's roommate is all hopped up on Velocity 10, a new drug on the street that gives people superspeed, but it's addictive and the side effects can be lethal.  One of Grayson's less attractive traits is her continued use of coincidence (and it's particularly flagrant this issue) to bring characters and storylines together.  Jesse's been busy working at her CEO job (and traveling through time over in The Flash with other speedsters) but when her co-worker's purse is stolen by Chandra's speeding roommate, Jesse's on the case, which brings her back to Titans Tower, which in turn leads them to Chandra's apartment where Lian is safe but now they have this whole speedster-drug to deal with.

Meanwhile Damage and Argent are back at Argent's parents home (and it's here I realize that my statement from the issue #1 write up that Argent was a former Team Titans member is totally wrong, she was actually from Dan Jurgen's short-lived Teen Titans series where the Atom led a team of young, newly created heroes, IIRC) where there's been more than a little strife.  Argent's dad is a criminal and a big asshole, giving his wife shit for getting impregnated against her will by an alien, and giving Argent shit for not being his blood child.  Also, turns out he's the supplier of Velocity 10.  What a coincidence!  Ugh.

In trying to save Chandra's roommate from the side effects of V10, they take her to S.T.A.R. Labs where Vic runs into the love of his life, who has moved on since Vic was possessed by an alien entity and tried to destroy the world.  Fancy that one, huh?  Her new man is fairly understanding, and wholly not threatened by the return of this superhero to his special lady's life.  He's quite the standup guy, this DeShaun.

Meanwhile (as I said, Grayson's gotten rather adept at juggling things), Vandal Savage recruits some goofy-looking sword-wielding chick named Lady Vic (which sounds like a type of razor for women...does she come with a lotion strip?).

Issue 7 ends with the Titans all being injected with V10, which makes for a pretty good spotlight of Jesse Quick's, erm, quick thinking at the start of issue 8 when she takes charge and her and Cyborg manage to stop things from getting too out of control.  Next to Lian, Grayson has a steady bead on Jesse Quick, and she's a total breakout character.  It's just too bad that instead of shorts or full pants, the character's costume design is a bikini cut with total floss butt.  It really detracts from an otherwise powerful character.  I can't imagine that running at half the speed of light with your costume up your crack the whole time is comfortable.

So anyway, Argent figures out her Dad is involved in the whole Velocity 10 business, but so does Jesse.  Jesse, in an act of mentoring, let's Argent make her own choices about how to handle the situation, and praises her for making the right one in the end, even though it meant sending her parents to jail.

Two further "meanwhiles"... Cheshire joins Vandal Savage's "Panopticon", while a new Flash shows up at Titans tower (I forgot all about this new Flash, who I think was introduced in Grant Morrison and Mark Millar's ill-fated run on the series).  Grayson handles this continuity demand decently.

I'm actually getting a sense at this point that contrary to my earlier statements, that Grayson's run on Titans was maybe not so forgettable and maybe had a bigger impact on DC Comics that I ever knew.
Again, Damien Darhk (I'm never going to spell that right) debuted here, we have Velocity 10 (which arguably is a piggyback off of the Velocity 9 story from the Flash some time before) which was featured in Season 2 of The Flash TV show, and the Vandal Savage assembly of supervillains which seems kinda like what showed up in the Young Justice series.  Just maybe Greg Berlanti is a big fan of this run?

And now: I hate "Metal Men" Cyborg.




Adj said...

Holy crap, wtf is up with Kori's hair in those "I hate Metal Man Cyborg" examples? She could hide half the Titans in that monstrosity of a hairdo. Just ugh.

Graig Kent said...

It's called the "Peg Bundy" and it's been a hit since the late '80's.

All I can say is she's an alien. Remember, when she's Starfiring around, she leaves a little hair-streak behind her, like jet streams in the sky, which is kind of inexplicable when you really think about it.