Friday, June 20, 2014

The New Titans #118


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

Our cover features the evil Raven attacking Thunder and Lightning — two rather fringe characters, but not altogether unknown. I think their simple and self-explanatory names help make them somewhat memorable. I first became acquainted to them in a 2003 episode of Teen Titans. But Impulse has very little to do with Thunder and Lightning and Raven, so I won't dwell on them for too long.

Continuing from New Titans #117, we pick up with the imprisonment of Psimon. Green Lantern goes aboard the Darkstar prison ship with a video camera so the rest of the Titans can see how securely Psimon is locked up. Green Lantern asks the Darkstars about their video games for Impulse, since he's already beaten everything Earth has to offer. To my surprise, the Darkstars actually do have video games and they download them to the Titans computers. Kyle Rayner then flies back to the Titans satellite with Donna Troy, while Jarras Minion lingers in the background, vowing to get his revenge on Psimon.

Impulse is very excited to see Green Lantern, and he asks all about the Darkstars ship and their video games. Lantern gives him the video camera, and he takes off to immediately watch it, saying it's going to be "mucho rad." Lantern then tells Arsenal he'll officially join the Titans. Everybody teleports back their base in New Jersey, and Impulse and Damage start geeking out about Star Trek. Impulse quotes "Make it so" and "Q! What have you done to my crew?" And he asks Damage if he remembers Data's evil twin. Tara then tells the boys to stop being losers and go explore New York with her.

We then cut to San Francisco, where Thunder and Lightning are battling some of Crimelord's men. The two heroes win easily, but they are attacked from behind and possessed by Raven. We then see Raven abduct another young metahuman who can turn into crystal. Meanwhile, the evil Changeling seduces and abducts a young woman in New York.

We then return to Bart, Tara and Grant — out of costume — exploring the big city. Bart wants to go see the Warriortech demonstration on Eight Street, since it's supposed to be awesome, but Tara and Grant are too busy being moody. Tara then calls Bart "Squirt," and he responds with, "It's Mister Squirt, Rocky." They pass by a couple of bullies, and Bart wants to stop them, but Tara says they can't butt into everything. Bart's not satisfied with that, so he quickly runs over there, knocks one of the bullies down, yells at him, then runs back to Tara and Grant before they realize he was gone.

The three teens then stupidly try to enter a bar, and the bouncer refuses to let them in, even after Grant promises they'll only drink root beer. The bouncer is slightly rude to them, saying they should come back when they're finished going through puberty. This greatly upsets our heroes, and Bart calls back, "I can't wait to grow up so I can be a jerk like you!" But Tara gets the last laugh by creating a small earthquake underneath the bouncer. Bart then sees a guy trying to con people with three-card monte. But Bart's eyes are too fast for his slight of hand, and he wins every time.

They then decide to blow Bart's winnings on the arcade, but Bart is so good that he racks up 536 free games and complains of boredom. Tara then complains loudly that a cute guy she thought was flirting with her was actually interested in someone else. She's quite rude to Grant, but then tries to apologize in a rather awkward way. And the issue ends with Darkstar telling Arsenal that she'll officially join the Titans as well.

I wish I could say I liked this issue more than I did. I always want to see my heroes get some downtime and have fun out of their costumes. But everything just seemed a bit off in this issue, particularly the dialogue. There were tons of random thought bubbles that just did not fit in the context of the action, like Kyle wishing his dead girlfriend was with him on the Darkstar prison ship. And later, Kyle was supposed to have said something that insulted Mirage, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out what that was. I strongly suspect heavy editorial interference here.

I did like having Bart play Star Trek with Grant, and I've always thought those two make a great pair. I guess it is natural for them to hang out with Tara, as the three of them are the youngest members of the team, but I don't know why anyone would spend much time with that negative and rude girl. She'll walk by a helpless kid getting beat up, but will gladly attack a slightly rude man who's just doing his job. No, Tara, you were in the wrong for trying to enter the bar in the first place. What were you thinking? I also don't think Bart playing card games is the best use of his powers, but he was only conning the conman, so I guess it's forgivable. But this issue really demonstrates the need for adult supervision. We can't have these super-powered teens attacking everybody who offends them!

The letters page starts with another astonishingly negative note from Pat Garrahy. He basically chews out the readers for not liking what's going on with Changeling and Raven. He then asks them to keep reading, but also doubts that they'll even like the upcoming story. That is no way to treat your fans, especially when your book is struggling, and I believe it was in 1994. In any case, I do know for sure that the end of The New Titans is on the horizon.

Michael McCalister, of Valencia, Calif., praises the new, fresh team, and says Damage, Terra and Impulse all have the "teen spirit" that the original team did, and more.

Shane Parker, of Mahomet, Ill., calls Impulse one of DC's brightest rising stars and "an absolute pistol."

Jim Faerber, of Harvey's Lake, Penn., says Impulse is probably the most fun to write, and he hopes he'll continue to develop a friendship with Damage. He also loves how Impulse's hyperactive personality matches his powers, or is it the other way around?

Jeff DeWitt, of Redlands, Calif., also asks for more interactions with the angst-ridden Damage and the carefree Impulse.

After seeing so many people praise and call for more Impulse-Damage team-ups, I wonder why DC didn't do more with them. Oh well. Time to move on to the ads.

The year is 2045 ... the forces of evil have unleashed a mind-control drug called tek. And if these men can't stop it, the whole world will be hooked. Greg Evigan, William Shatner. TekWar: The Series. On USA Network.

Lobo Deadman. The Brave and the Bald. One of them is dead ... and one of them is not ... yet. One-shot on sale in January. Alan Grant, Martin Emond.

Here comes the bride ... Catwoman #18. Chuck Dixon, Jim Balent, Bob Smith.

Who gets to kill Major Force? Capital Punishment! A three-part story of vengeance. Guy Gardner Warrior #27-28, Green Lantern #60.

If you loved The New Titans then you'll love The Man Called A-X. Marv Wolfman & Shawn McManus.

Hard-hitting action and adventure every month! A DC subscription form. You could get 12 issues of The New Titans for $19.40 when they normally cost $1.95 each.

Dark Destiny and Elric: Tales of the White Wolf. These are two anthology books with a bunch of different writers, but the only one I recognize is Neil Gaiman.

Ready for your bedtime story? Tales from the Crypt presents Demon Knight. Starring Billy Zane, who would soon be the star of The Phantom.

Next time: The Darkstars #28. Darkstar is caught in the crossfire of an escalating war between the alien syndicate and the mysterious Crimelord. Meanwhile, in an alternate reality, Ferrin Colos makes some disquieting allies in his struggle against an evil doppelganger.

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