Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The New Titans #116

Psimon Psays ... Die!

Marv Wolfman Plot
Marv Wolfman & Frank Pittarese Script
J.B. Jones Penciller
Keith Champagne & Rich Rankin Inkers
Chi Colorist
Albert DeGuzman Letterer
Keri Kowalski Asst. Editor
Steve Mannion Production
Pat Garrahy Editor

The cover, by Johnson and Panosian, is the second half of the image that started with Green Lantern #57. Impulse, Mirage and Arsenal are being held by Green Lantern's constructs, while Terra is in the clutches of Changeling, who for some reason has a green head and an aquamarine body. The idea of this two-issue cover was a good one, just the execution — especially the coloring — was off.

Our story begins with Mirage falling toward Earth in an escape pod. Remember, last time we saw her, she was attacked by Changeling in the Titans satellite. She managed to get away in the pod, but is unable to control it, and is seemingly going to die. Fortunately, Darkstar arrives in the nick of time to save her.

We then return to the Titans Earth-based headquarters at Liberty State Park, New Jersey, where Changeling has put all the Titans in gooey green egg-prisons. But then Changeling becomes confused and distracted, and decides to go looking for Cyborg, forgetting that his old friend is dead. This momentary distraction gives the Titans time to try to break free, but they quickly discover the eggs can counter their powers. Terra is unable to summon rocks to break her out, and the egg stretches to accommodate Damage's punches. And as Impulse says, the "green-cheese" is slowing him down, and fighting it is like "tryin' to swim through seven-ply gell-seal."

Changeling checks the Titans computer, but is unable to find any information on Cyborg. He then hears a loud "skrash," which is the sound of Impulse breaking out of his egg. Turns out, he just had to move slowly to get out. Impulse quickly frees the others, and Terra creates giant rock armor for herself, which Impulse says is awesome. Terra then punches Changeling, saying, "Hey, who do ya think I am — Urkle?" (I believe she was referring to Steve Urkel, the quintessential geek from the show Family Matters, which was quite popular in 1994.)

Impulse gets in another hit, calling Changeling "frog-boy." But that wasn't enough, and soon Changeling is back on his feet. But then he's knocked out by a green semi-truck created by Green Lantern. We then get a replay of the ending of Green Lantern #57, with the possessed Green Lantern attacking the Titans. The injured Changeling decides to retreat during the chaos, while Lantern starts launching missiles at the Titans. One of the missiles actually hits Impulse, and he kind of goes berserk on Green Lantern.

Impulse knocks out Green Lantern, but Arsenal chews him out for being reckless. Impulse, however, insists that he's fine, and even says the fight was a lot of fun — except for when he got knocked out. The Titans regroup and check to see if Lantern is really unconscious, but he's not. Impulse says, "This isn't a good thing ... is it?" It's not, and the Titans soon find themselves in green cages that are filling up with water.

Luckily, Darkstar and Mirage arrive to save the day. Mirage tries to free the Titans, while Darkstar battles Lantern. But Mirage is unable to open the cages, and the powerful Darkstar is no match for Green Lantern. Soon, Lantern finds himself in position to kill Darkstar, but Kyle Rayner finally resists Psimon's orders. But Psimon isn't bothered by this, and decides to attack the Titans himself.

This wasn't a bad issue, but it was rather repetitive. It played out almost the exact same way the fight with Changeling did, right down to the whole knock-out/fake-out thing. I've read a few interviews with Marv Wolfman saying he did not have a good time writing the Titans at this time, and his stories and dialogue was often changed at the last minute. And since Frank Pittarese was brought in to help with the script, I can only imagine that there were some behind-the-scenes problems. But this issue wasn't a complete waste. I was happy to see Impulse save the team again, and I really enjoyed the scene of Impulse beating the snot out of Green Lantern.

The letters column begins with another rather defensive note from Pat Garrahy, basically defending the new direction of the book and begging longtime Titans fans to give this new team a chance. He also announced that William Rosado will be the new penciller, which means that J.B. Jones only lasted three issues. The New Titans has been quite chaotic under the editorial reign of Garrahy, which is quite unfortunate, since it had an accomplished writer and a promising cast of characters.

Around this time, it wasn't uncommon for DC to send advance copies of comics to subscribers, and each of the letter writers this month got a sneak peek of New Titans #0. Here's what they all had to say about Impulse:

Jeff DeWitt, of Redlands, Calif., said Impulse was "another great character."

Joey Marchese, of Clark, N.J., praised Marv Wolfman for capturing the essence of all the team members and "thankfully the energy that seems to follow Impulse." Joey said "this protégé of the Flash and direct descendant of Barry Allen is one of my favorite characters in the 'new' DCU."

Jeffrey Badger, of Des Moines, Iowa, however, had a different view on Impulse: "Overall, I can see potential for this character, but I feel right now he is just as Terra described him: a brat. It's to the point that I really dislike his character. I also read Flash and don't care for him in that book either. I understand his body has matured more than his mind, but currently he bugs me. I'd rather see him grow into someone I'd like to read about than have him dropped from the title."

Oh well. Not everybody can be an Impulse fan. Now on to the ads:

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The DC Universe page is a Daily Planet extra, with the headline: "Deathstroke's body missing! Slade Wilson's corpse disappears from city morgue." A full article follows by Keri Roberts, and as a newspaper editor myself, I am quite impressed by this.

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Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles. Drink from me and live forever. Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, Stephen Rea and Christian Slater. This movie also stars a young Kirstin Dunst, long before she played Mary Jane Watson in the first three Spider-Man movies. Apparently she did a pretty good job here, as she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Next time: Flash #96. Kobra and his terrorist horde have overrun Keystone City. Only the Flash, returned from his odyssey during Zero Hour, can free Keystone ... if he can bring Impulse up to speed before Wally West's humanity erodes completely. Plus, the chilling secret of Flash's near future threatens to tear Wally and Linda apart.

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