Friday, September 18, 2015

JLA/The Titans #3

All in the Family

Devin Grayson Co-Plotter & Dialogue
Phil Jimenez Co-Plotter & Pencils
Andy Lanning Inks
Jason Wright Colors
Digital Chameleon Separations
Comicraft Letters
Frank Berrios Assistant Editor
Eddie Berganza Editor

Our cover is the final image of Jimenez's wraparound interlocking image. This cover focuses on Wonder Woman vs. Donna Troy, which is a classic, iconic fight. Sadly, the digital version of this series omits the backside of each cover, leaving me without Aquaman, Martian Manhunter and Superman. I guess I could always try to find the print version of these comics, or, better yet, the poster of this image.

Last issue in this series featured a big, epic fight between the JLA and all the former Titans on how they should handle the crisis created by Cyborg. But it turned out the fight was merely a ruse to distract Cyborg, while Batman prepared a team to head into space to deal with Cyberion's massive construct enveloping the moon. Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter Power Girl and the Marvels are going to try to pull the moon back into position, while Mr. Miracle, Big Barda, Orion, the Atom and Guy Gardner will attempt to enter the Watchtower to regain control. Oracle will coordinate disaster control efforts on Earth, while Batman has granted Nightwing 30 minutes to try to contact Cyborg and restore whatever bit of humanity he has left. Nightwing has chosen the original Teen Titans — Donna Troy, Tempest, Arsenal and Flash — along with Raven and Changeling (who had to sneak onto the team for some reason).

Raven's soul self takes Nightwing's team to the center of Cyberion, which houses Jarras Minion's old Omegadrome in some sort of energy field. Raven returns to Earth, saying she needs to prepare the circuitry on Titan Island to house Victor's soul, should the Titans successfully contact him. Unable to find a way to contact Vic, Arsenal decides to get his attention by firing an explosive arrow into the wall. This does the trick, although Changeling worries they've angered Vic, as they all find themselves separated and floating in a white emptiness.

On Titans Island, Raven asks Steel to help her prepare the CPU to receive Vic's soul, but Steel says the technology suffered too much damage during their fight. Aquaman tends to a volcano in the Atlantic Ocean, and Starfire battles with another volcano in Chicago. Terra and the Elongated Man have teamed up in New York, and Batman and Catwoman have returned to Gotham.

On the moon, Green Lantern is able to use his ring to grab half of the moon, while Wonder Woman uses the malleable substance of her invisible plane to create a massive web to secure the other half of the moon. The other heroes with them are then able to push the moon back into its orbit. Guy Gardner then begins attacking the construct, which serves as the perfect distraction for Mr. Miracle's team to sneak inside the Watchtower.

Inside the moon, Vic appears before each member of Nightwing's team individually. As they talk to him, he slowly changes his shape to appear more and more human. By the time Nightwing gives his heart-felt pep talk, Vic looks completely human. Changeling, however, takes the more direct approach, shouting at "Rust-bucket" to let go of the moon. As Changeling gives a very long speech, in which he tells Vic to either risk being destroyed by his emotions or be destroyed by the JLA, we check in on the disaster response teams around the globe. Arrowette is in New York, Mirage in Munich, Rose Wilson in Tallahassee, Robin in Metropolis, Thunder and Lightning in Bangkok, and Impulse in Seattle with Green Arrow.

Green Arrow asks Impulse if he can draw the lightning away from civilians, but Impulse figures he'd have to either be kite (a la Benjamin Franklin) or have the Duralim Rod from level nine. Damage and Secret are in Kiev, and Superboy is in San Francisco, while Changeling continues to plead with his best friend to come back to him. Eventually, Changeling's words get through to Vic, who reunites Nightwing's team. Superman notes the moon's resistance has stopped, Oracle reports that the natural disasters seem to be ending, and Raven begins to guide Vic's soul into the island's CPU. Mr. Miracle's team restores power to the Watchtower, and Nightwing's team throws around the idea of taking the Omegadrome, Cyberion's power source, back to Earth with them.

But when Vic's consciousness leaves the moon, everything begins to fall apart. All the ships, satellites and debris that comprised the massive construct separate and fall toward Earth. Superman's team busies itself with protecting the Earth from all the falling debris, and Green Lantern worries about Nightwing's stranded team, which is quickly losing the oxygen Cyberion once provided them.

Damage is able to destroy one large piece of debris, and we randomly see a scene of Lex Luthor ordering all his employees to return home to their loved ones, fearing the destruction of the planet. Terra tries to stop another large ship, but she fails. Luckily, Wonder Woman is there to help. Joker is pleased by all the chaos, and Supergirl and Stafire help Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel destroy a big ship before it hits Cairo.

An old Titan named Omen teleports up to Nightwing's team and tells them that Raven is having difficulty containing Vic's soul in the island computer. Omen offers to take the heroes back to Earth, but Changeling isn't willing to lose Vic just yet, saying they can put his soul in the Omegadrome. But the Omegadrome is in its large, unrefined state, and Omen says she can't take that back with all the other heroes. So Nightwing tells her to take it and Changeling, leaving him and the original Titans stranded in space.

Changeling's plan works, as Raven is able to direct Vic's soul into the Omegadrome. Cyborg turns gold for some reason, and finally regains consciousness. The original Titans, meanwhile, link hands and prepare for death. Suddenly, they're saved by Green Lantern, who jokes that Donna really should have returned his calls. Mr. Miracle's team uses the Watchtower's New Genesis technology to pull the rest of the falling debris away from Earth, and the day is finally saved.


Art by Mark Buckingham and Wade von Grawbadger

Everything's been cleaned up and order is once again restored to Earth, so everybody heads to Guy Gardener's Warriors bar to celebrate. Impulse is chasing Plastic Man around, asking him to do the pretzel again. Changeling tries to explain to Cyborg that the Terra he sees now isn't the traitorous Terra he remembers. Nightwing reunites with Starfire, both agreeing to be friends. And there are hints that Donna Troy and Green Lantern could give their relationship another shot.

Poor Captain Marvel Jr. is forced to apologize to Superman for his role in the fight, even though the JLA instigated that battle and never told the Titans it was just a distraction. Young Justice comes together, and Superboy wonders how they can stack up next to the ultimate team of the JLA and the family of the Titans. Superman tells him they're Young Justice and their time will come. Guy Gardner then reveals a new addition to Warriors, a statue commemorating the original Teen Titans.

Special thanks to Bob Haney, Bruno Permian, Charles Paris, Nick Cardy, Marv Wolfman, George Pérez and Dan Jurgens for creating and sustaining such wonderful characters. And gratitude, too, to all the fans who have loved and supported them.

Devin & Phil

And thus ends our epic celebration of the Titans. Altogether, it was an exciting, intriguing tale, beautifully told with some of the best artwork you could hope for. This final issue did get a bit wordy and repetitive, and I felt things got a bit awkward with forcing the original Titans to be together as much as possible. I also wished Jarras Minion would have been brought in to explain and/or prepare the Omegadrome since we did see him as one of the captured Titans in the first issue. But overall, this was a great way to celebrate the history of the Titans and usher in a new chapter for the team.

Next time, we'll begin Chain Lightning in The Flash #145.

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