Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The New Titans #115

The Final Change

Marv Wolfman Writer
J.B. Jones Penciller
Keith Champagne Inker
Costanza & DeGuzman Letterer
Chi Colorist
Keri Kowalski Asst. Editor
Pat Garrahy

The cover is by Jones, and it says "After Johnson and Panosian," which I guess means it was based on a cover they did, although I don't know which one. However, this cover does vaguely remind of the first Justice League cover with Starro. But instead of a world-conquering starfish, we get our sweet, lovable Changeling, changed into something that's not very sweet or lovable. Poor Impulse is the only captured, but everyone else seems to be quite distressed. As for the artwork ... well, it's about as good as I'd expect from J.B. Jones. Which means it sucks. Sorry, Mr. Jones, but I've seen a lot of better comic book artists out there, even from the archaic age of 1994.

Our story begins with Changeling fully possessed by Raven. She has ordered him to subdue each of the Titans so she can implant the seed of Trigon in them. And it appears Changeling has succeeded in his mission — except for Impulse. However, the demonic shape-shifter is too busy gloating to notice a red-and-white blur zoom past him.

We then get a series of flashbacks to see how Changeling defeated the Titans. First was Mirage, who was up in the satellite, worrying about her unborn child. Changeling attacked her, but she wounded him and managed to escape via a life pod. However, the pods in the satellite seem to have been very poorly designed — Mirage has no way to steer it or communicate with anybody else, and she fears she will die when the pod burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. Changeling knows this, and he laughed at Mirage's eminent demise as he teleported down to the Titans' Earth base.

The next victim of Changeling's was Arsenal, who got thrown in the swimming pool and trapped beneath the cover with very little air to breathe. Changeling then took out Damage by trapping him with some sticky green goo he spat out of his mouth.

We then cut away to outer space, where we get to catch back up with Jarras Minion. It's been three weeks since his home planet Talyn was destroyed, and he has gained full control of the Omegadrome. The advanced mechanical suit has enabled Jarras to break his genetically modified passivity and experience anger and rage for the first time. The Omegadrome has also enabled Jarras to track the destroyer of his world, the mysterious rainbow double-helix, which is leaving an energy trail right toward Earth.

Back on Earth, we find out that Terra was the last one Changeling attacked, who he stung upside down with his gross green goo. Returning to the present, Changeling begins wandering around the headquarters looking for Impulse. He then soon realizes that all the Titans were freed during the brief moment he turned away from them.

Impulse arrives and attacks Changeling, who retorts by calling Bart Kid Flash. This angers Impulse so much that he repeatedly calls Changeling a jerk wad. The rest of the team joins the fight, overwhelming Changeling. He then changes back to normal — which Impulse thinks is "mucho cool" — and says he doesn't know where he is. Everybody lets their guard down, and as soon as they do, Changeling transforms into the hideous monster we saw on the cover, and he captures the New Titans.

In the epilogue, we see Kyle Rayner, the last Green Lantern, return to New York City. But he is unaware he is being followed by the mysterious rainbow double-helix, which reveals itself to be long-time Titans villain Psimon.

Well that wasn't a bad issue of New Titans. Wolfman seemed to be experimenting a bit with his chronology, which made it rather confusing to read the first time through. I really tried to simplify it for the summary, but the odd issue of cutting away to a separate event in the middle of a flashback still cropped up. And, of course, the art was pretty awful. But I've come to expect it and can deal with it alright.

The letter from Pat Garrahy explains that half the art team had to change since they were overburdened with other projects. I don't know who's necessarily to blame for that — perhaps the editor who chose those people — but in any case it doesn't look too good to have such a big shift after only one issue from when you made a big deal about the new team. Garrahy also spends a good portion of his letter reiterating that Changeling is going to stay as a villain. I'm coming at this story from 20 years in the future, so I know this change didn't last forever, but I wonder how I would have reacted to this story line back then. I don't think I would have been really upset, but I would have doubted that Changeling would stay a bad guy for too long.

None of the letters to the editor mention Impulse, so I'll just head into the ads now. The first one is for a story arc in the Superman comics called Dead Again!

Next is a CinemaCast sculpture of Darth Vader. Inform the troops Lord Vader has arrived. Now, one of the most powerful and menacing figures in galactic history, Darth Vader, can be yours with this limited edition sculpture. Anakin Skywalker, once a proud Jedi Knight, was seduced by the dark side to become Lord Vader — the Emperor's dark-armored apprentice. You can experience the staggering power of the Empire, made manifest in its ultimate symbol of evil ... Darth Vader.

Batman Madness. A legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. On All Hallows Eve the Mad Hatter is having his tea party. The children of Gotham City will be attending. Something dark will be served. This influential comic was later collected in the Batman: Haunted Knight trade paperback, and it is essential reading for any Batman fan.

Lobo Preacher Wars. Repent or be fragged!

The Batman Adventures Annual #1. The Scarecrow. Scarface. Harley Quinn. They all went straight — once. Well ... almost.

We then have a holiday-themed subscription order form (which means they used the word "holiday" and drew a red bow on a mailbox). But for $19.40, you could get 12 issues of The New Titans when they normally cost $1.95 each. And of course, if you had a computer and a modem, then you could call a 1-800 number to order a free DC Comics online starter kit.

Up next is a pretty interesting DC Universe page that breaks down the process of coloring a comic. It took seven steps and usually two people — a colorist to choose the colors and a separator to enter the color codes into the computer.

Flash Terminal Velocity. The Ultimate Rush. Time is the enemy. They call him the Flash. He thought he could run forever ... now, each step is taking him closer to the finish line. Can he outrace his fate before his time runs out?

And the final ad is for Extra Bases baseball cards by Fleer. They feature Paul Molitor, who won the 1993 World Series MVP with the Toronto Blue Jays. These cards are 35% larger than the average cards, which would have driven collectors like me nuts. I need to have all my cards the same size so they can fit in the standard sleeves.

Next time we'll finish up Nov. '94 with Flash #95. The tragic events in Zero Hour have left Keystone city in turmoil. Flash is gone! Young Impulse stands alone against the forces of Kobra, whose coils begin to tighten around the city, now twice bereft of its super-speed champion.

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