Monday, July 18, 2016

Series Run: The Titans #10-12

1999-2000, DC Comics

A three-parter with a double-sized finale that basically brings most of Devin Grayson's story threads together, almost like she's wrapping up her time here completely.

"The Immortal Coil" opens with Slade Wilson waking up in Titans Tower on the Titans' couch (yep they didn't take him to a medical bay, but to their couch) and in the time he was unconscious they called in Gar Logan, still called Changeling here (but Beast Boy on the cover of issue 11...I forget if the Teen Titans cartoon had started yet, as it was their reverting to calling him Beast Boy that made it happen in the comics....the Wolfman/Perez run on Titans had long otherwise cemented the Changeling moniker in the comics).

Grayson uses the first page to introduce the team roster ala classic Justice League of America comics and then gives a rather detailed two-page splash of Slade's troubled history... at least all the relevant points required for her story here anyway.  It's classic comics flashback stuff and actually quite concise and very useful (I had forgotten a lot of this stuff, like Slade and his ex wife becoming immortals). Slade was on a mission to stop Vandal Savage but he's not revealing who he was working for (as a matter of principle).

Grayson humorously dredges up the fact that Slade has had romantic entanglements with both Cheshire and Terra in a simple three-panel aside.

The whole "Roy loving Cheshire" thing really comes to a head these three issues, and it's not just a "she's the mother of my child" thing... he genuinely has feelings for her.  Roy is one messed up dude. He even abandons his teammates in the middle of a fight to try and get her medical attention much to Donna's dismay (oh no, is "DRoynna" finished?)... but returns to save Donna's life justin time, which I guess keeps the whole "DRoynna" 'shipping alive for another issue at least.

Kory takes Damage and Argent to the hall of dead Titans (Terra, Jericho, Kole and I suppose that's Jason Todd Robin but he was never a Titan, was he?) to teach them about Slade's connection to the Titans and in the process explain how death works to Argent. Cyborg laments not having a human body and that his "Omegadrome" body kindof has a mind of its own. Jesse has it out with nuFlash.  The team, with Slade head for the nation of Zandia where Vandal Savage and Co are hiding out while HIVE plant bombs everywhere (Zandia looks pretty its a city state like the Vatican).  As the Titans attack HIVE they all are attacked by Savage's Tartarbots (they're either good with fish sticks or meant for cleaning teeth).

Savage's whole ploy is to draw Cyborg to him as well as The leader of HIVE (aka "Mother" ) who, if you hadn't guessed from the obvious hinting in Slade's flashback is none other than his crazy and immortal ex-wife Adeline. Savage's ploy is to use Victor's Omegadrome body to synthesize Adeline's immortal blood into a serum that he can use to make other immortals or, at least, extend life spans.  He hopes to entice Cyborg to help by offering him a human body (presumably a clone... not sure hoe he's going to transfer the consciousness/soul between the two...probably should have the Ultra-humanite on his team instead of, well, pretty much everyone else in his "Tartarus" group (not sure where I got "Panopticon" as the name for his group earlier...?)  In fact, Savage and Damien Dahrk have a rather clever seriescof back-and-forth barbs about what being a super-villain means in the modern day... a fun exchange right up until Savage has Lady Vic run Dahrk throughbwith her sword . 
 Unlike in Arrow, Dahrk is not a magic wielder, but by the end of this all he does become immortal (through a very sketchy and unsanitary blood transfusion... I don't think you can just scoop up handfuls of blood and push them into an open wound...not sure that's actually a transfusion...unless they're saying Adeline's immortality is more like a virus...?)

HIVE's plan was to cause major disaster in Zandia to draw all the super heroes there and then drop a  bomb on them.  This situation finds Dick, Kory, Jesse, and Vic to jocky for position of who gets to save the day.  Vic somehow can't crack the bomb's computers so he Metal Mens/Plastic Mans/Metamorphos himself around it and absorbs the blast.  It's a pretty intense explosion but with ZERO drama about Vic's fate as he turns up three panels later on the opposing page all glowing green. Roy, of course, is worried about his nuts.

So yeah, Grodd had slit Adeline's throat to put pressure on Cyborg to make a decision about helping them, and Cheshire was shot by Savage to try and manipulate Roy into forcing Vic's decision (as the immortality serum would save her)... Kory however has other plans.  Having heard Addie's pleas to Slade to kill her, Kory does it herself and makes no apologies for it. Then when Dick tries to say something about it, she unloads on him about ignoring her and avoiding the team for months on end. Real appropriate timing.

I know, I'm running this all out of order... the second and third chapters of this story are truly chaotic, but in a crazy fun comic booky way.  A lot of what's going on is just complete absurdity, just a hair's breadth away from being a complete farce.  I think Grayson genuinely wanted to do classic superhero punch-'em-ups but her impulse seems to be rationalizing things in terms of continuity and character. Instead of just letting it go large on its own terms she has to get arch about it or overly playful with tropes or over-explain/overshow to the point that she seems at odds with herself in what she's trying do do with the story.

Damien Dahrk seems to be her creation for facilitating the unexpected, the anti-tropes.  He's the guy who speaks out against Savage's Bond-villain speechifying and talks about the "new school" of villain who cares about things other than money, revenge, or taking over the world.  He kills Red Panzer cold ("you always have a second weapon and you shoot anyone who asks stupid questions.... I don't make traps, I don't cut deals, and for god's sake, I don't form a team full of members who hate each other.") and for some reason Savage tries to recruit the dumb eco terrorist Justin from issue 1 as his new Red Panzer ("Aren't you supposed to be a Nazi fascist to wear this?")
The good guys win.  HIVE is in ruins, and Zandia is saved. Tartarus escapes though but on the plus side Dick and Jesse, eh eh?

1 comment:

Adj said...

Heck yes, Dick and Jesse :)