Thursday, August 13, 2015

JLA/The Titans #1

One of Ours

Devin Grayson Co-Plotter & Dialogue
Phil Jimenez Co-Plotter & Pencils
Andy Lanning Inks
Jason Wright Colors
Comicraft Letters
Eddie Berganza Editor

Apparently this Jimenez cover is a wraparound, connecting with the other two parts of this miniseries to form one long, awesome poster, showing every character who's ever been a member of the Titans fighting the entire Justice League of America. Sadly, the digital version only includes the front cover of each issue. Luckily, it does include Impulse fighting Plastic Man — a truly wonderful concept. That fight won't happen until issue #2, but this is still a great cover, all things considered.

Our story starts with Starfire being chased through space by a shape-shifting metallic orb. She tries to evade it by heading to Earth, but ultimately is enveloped by the liquid metal. We then check in with Changeling and the most recent iteration of the Titans in Metropolis, where they receive word of an imminent threat heading toward the planet.

On the JLA Moon-based Watchtower, the Flash is becoming impatient with the team's installation of some New Genesis technology. Wally West tries to strike up a conversation with Green Lantern, but Kyle Rayner is still kind of messed up by their recent trip to the year 85,271. So Wally takes to star-gazing, and soon spots another metallic sphere heading their way. Everything becomes quite chaotic, as all the technology in the Watchtower instantly begins to malfunction.

Starfire then wakes up on Tamaran, surrounded by her family and the children she had with Dick Grayson. But she realizes this isn't real because Tamaran was destroyed, her parents killed, and she never had children with Nightwing. The computer system holding Starfire takes note of her comments and adjusts the virtual reality accordingly.

Back in the real world, Oracle and Batman note that technology all across Earth is also beginning to malfunction. Orion and Green Lantern head out into space to meet the strange sphere, only to see it split into a bunch of smaller spheres that head straight for Earth. The malfunctioning technology has created widespread panic and chaos across the globe, making Superman and Zauriel quite busy in Metropolis and San Francisco, respectively. And the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., discovers something hacking into their system to access files on Roy Harper.

In Gotham, Robin is out working with Huntress when he's approached by one of the machines. But after scanning him, the sphere concludes that he's a negative match and flies away, leaving the Boy Wonder feeling a bit dissed. Meanwhile, Oracle reports to Batman that a portion of her data was successfully scanned by the alien invader, but she isn't able to determine which files were leaked.

Back in space, Green Lantern and Orion are unable to destroy any of the shape-shifting machines. Two of them enters the Watchtower and begin chasing Wally and the Atom, while another targets Kyle. Ultimately, all three heroes are captured by the spheres.

On Earth, Nightwing is captured in Bl├╝dhaven, and a sphere enters the New York home of Victor Stone, but is only able to find his grandparents, and decides to leave. S.T.A.R. Labs Orbital 4 and Oracle note a very large and ominous ship leaving the orbit of Mars and heading toward Earth. On Paradise Island, the Amazons learn that Donna Troy has also been captured while helping Wonder Woman in Boston. Terra is captured in Markovia, and in Metropolis, the spheres take Fringe, Prysm, Argent and Changeling.

Wally believes he's defeated the sphere chasing him, which he's dubbed T2. But he's soon approached by Barry Allen, and we see that Wally is indeed trapped in one of the machines, which is taking him, Atom and Green Lantern back to Earth. However, Wally's presence is felt by Raven, and her golden "soul self" emerges from the gigantic, impending ship and flies toward Earth. The JLA soon spots said ship, and discovers that it is actually made up of a bunch of other ships and is enveloping the Moon.

In Atlantis, Aquaman reports that Tempest has been captured by one of the spheres. Roy Harper is captured in Window Rock, Arizona, and Red Star, Pantha and Wildebeest are captured in St. Petersburg, Russia. Meanwhile, Batman and Plastic Man discover where all the spheres are taking their prisoners — to the former Titans Island off Manhattan. Batman orders the entire JLA to meet him there, but Orion refuses to surrender the Watchtower. He begins attacking the gigantic ship, but it responds by causing massive earthquakes across the planet. Batman tells the JLA what's happening, and they pull Orion away.

We then receive a few more reports of heroes being abducted. Fred Danvers of the Leesburg PD says Supergirl has been captured, and Cameron Chase of the D.E.O. says they've lost contact with Damage. And Max Mercury reports that even Impulse has been taken. However, Impulse did leave a clue when he was being captured, saying the morphing droid looks just like Jarras Minion's Omegadrome.

Since it's hard to read, here's what that red computer file says: "Impulse. Aka: Bart Allen. Group Affiliations: New Titans, =System Updating=. Physiology: Human (augmented). Powers/Skills Include: Hyper velocity." I think the "System Updating" line is a reference to him recently forming Young Justice.

With the capture of Impulse and Rose Wilson, Oracle and Batman are finally able to notice the pattern. Everyone who has been captured has been a member of the Titans at one point. The rest of the JLA starts heading toward Batman on Titans Island, but the malfunctioning teleporters send a few of them to India by mistake.

Wally continues his conversation with Barry in Blue Valley. But Wally knows Barry is dead, which means he's trapped in a virtual reality. He begins spinning around at super speed, and is able to free himself from his pod. Wally sees Raven standing over him, and she says they need to help Nightwing, who is confronted by an usually happy Batman. When Batman hugs Nightwing and gives him a big, goofy smile, Dick realizes this isn't real. Using a Tibetan mind trick, Nightwing somehow exits his virtual reality and enters Changeling's, where Garfield is purple for some reason and hanging out with the Doom Patrol. Nightwing convinces him this isn't real, and the two of them are soon freed.

Flash, Raven, Nightwing and Changeling begin investigating the large room they're in, which is full of pods containing all the former Titans. Even the more obscure Titans are there, such as Herald, Flamebird, Bumblebee, Omen, Mirage, Risk, Joto, Minion and Captain Marvel Jr. Wally realizes they're underground, and he wonders what's going on outside.

Outside, the rest of the JLA is finally able to gather on Titans Island. Batman explains to them that their best bet at saving the Moon and ending the technological malfunctions is to save the hostages trapped beneath them. Wally and Nightwing begin to speculate who could have done this, tossing out the names of Darkseid, Psimon and Brother Blood. But Changeling is convinced this is the work of his old friend, Victor Stone, aka Cyborg.

This was a very exciting start to a miniseries. There is so much going on at a blazingly fast pace. But I never felt overwhelmed or confused by it. The format of this issue provided the perfect method of introducing all of these characters without getting bogged down with tedious, unnatural dialogue. Just read the old Crisis on Infinite Earths to see what I mean. Every single character says who they are and how their powers work whenever they're introduced, and it gets real old real quick. But this issue used nice red computer files, like we see above with Impulse, to efficiently deliver the basic information on dozens of characters. And although Impulse didn't have anything to do here, I still appreciate this issue for remembering his brief stint on the New Titans.

Well, that does it for all the comics published with a 1998 cover date. Next time, I'll recap the year and hand out some awards.


  1. Beast Boy being purple is a reference to his original color in the comics.

    1. Thanks! I've never heard that before. This makes me appreciate this comic even more for it thoroughness.