Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The New Titans #117

Psimon Didn't Psay You'd Win!

Marv Wolfman Writer
William Rosado Penciller
Keith Champagne Inker
Albert DeGuzman Letterer
Chi Colorist
Keri Kowalski Asst. Editor
Pat Garrahy Editor

In addition to the regular credits, there's also some "graffiti" on the wall on the first page that says "Production Dave Bednar, Todd Jaeger." I'm guessing these two guys had to come in at the last minute to help get some pages out. The cover is by our old friend Stephen J.B. Jones after Johnson and Panosian again. I never much cared for Jones' interior art, but this cover isn't half bad. The concept, more symbolic than literal, is a pretty neat one, and Psimon's face looks great. Impulse is way too buff, though, even by 1994 standards. And the TM next to Psimon's name is quite distracting.

Our story picks up where the last issue of New Titans left off, with Psimon knocking out all our heroes. Mirage, however, is mysteriously resistant to Psimon's attacks. He attempts to examine her, but is unable. Psimon then concludes that she's not a threat, so he begins to torment each of the Titans in turn, beginning with the one he's familiar with, Donna Troy. Psimon gives Darkstar visions of the original Teen Titans and her son dying. He then moves on to Impulse, playing on his fear of aging rapidly.

Up next is Damage, who is tormented by not knowing who or what he is. Then Psimon haunts Green Lantern with a vision of his dead girlfriend. Mirage then feels a power growing inside her and realizes that Psimon unwittingly gave her some of his power when he tried to examine her. Mirage then turns into a clone of Psimon, attacks him psychically and frees the Titans.

But even though Mirage can mimic Psimon's abilities, she's still not as strong as him, so she needs help distracting him in order to break through his psychic defenses. Jarras Minion then arrives in the Omegadrome, seeking vengeance for his lost planet. Everybody launches an all-out attack on Psimon, and Impulse plays his part by running circles around him, delivering a bunch of punches and insults such as Pane-Brain, Glo-Dome and Maroon. Bart has a lot of fun doing this, as it reminds him of blasting Z-Vectors on the V-R Holos.

Psimon is soon defeated, and Green Lantern locks him in a cage. Jarras immediately jumps out of the Omegadrome, begging for the opportunity to kill Psimon. But he finds he is unable. He desperately wants to avenge his family and planet, but is unable to summon the necessary hate to kill the villain. Amid this emotional grief, Damage and Impulse quietly laugh at how Jarras sounds like Alvin the Chipmunk and looks like a Smurf. To their defense, they can't understand Minion, and don't fully realize what's going on. I, however, am impressed that Impulse has caught up on the '90s cartoons to understand the Chipmunks and Smurfs references.

I must admit I'm a bit disappointed by this issue. Psimon, the destroyer of worlds, was teased for quite a while before this issue. He possessed Green Lantern, one of the most powerful heroes in the DC Universe, and he ultimately accomplished ... nothing. Well, I guess he did convince Damage to go on a soul-searching journey in his own book, and he did act as a catalyst for some great emotional turmoil for Minion. But I didn't want to see Psimon taken down so conveniently.

The Impulse stuff in this issue was pretty good. Playing on his fear of growing too old was a logical move, but I wonder what would have happened had Psimon taken it the other direction. He said, "You look like a teenager, but you're really only an infant, aren't you?" What if he convinced Impulse that he couldn't keep up with or relate to his teammates since he has so little life experience? I'm not saying Psimon should have turned him into a toddler instead, what we got was fine, but it makes me wonder.

William Rosado provided adequate artwork for his first time on New Titans, but I don't like how he showed Impulse running. He gave him Starfire hair that trails endlessly behind him. But Impulse punching Psimon a bunch of times looked OK.

We only have one page of letters today, because, as Keri Kowalski said, they needed to cut the letter column in half in order to give us more story — which was 25 pages instead of ... 23? 24? Anyway, the letter page is quite cramped because it had to have a preview of next issue's cover, a lengthy description of that issue, equally lengthy descriptions for five other titles that are associated with New Titans, and an odd note by Pat Garrahy talking about how his grandma drove him to the comic store to buy the Judas Contract issues. So that only left room for two short letters, and only one of them mentions Impulse.

Charles Skaggs, of Columbus, Ohio, said he enjoys the interaction between Damage and Impulse, and hopes more intergroup relationships are established. As I said in my 1994 retrospective, I felt like  the Damage-Impulse friendship had a lot of potential. I guess we'll just have to enjoy it while it lasts. Now for the new ads.

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Up next is Flash #97: Part 3 of the 6-part "Terminal Velocity." With the help of original Flash Jay Garrick and super speedsters Johnny Quick and Max Mercury, Wally West tries to prepare Impulse for the mantle of Keystone City's protector. But a surprise develops in the chain of succession. Plus, Max Mercury reveals the incredible secret of who he really is and how he came to be.

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