Monday, March 2, 2015


Co-Creators: Marv Wolfman & George Pérez | Embellisher: Romeo Tanghal
Letterers: Ben Oda (#23) & Todd Klein (#24) | Colorist: Carl Gafford
Editor: Len Wein

The Plot: While the Titans speak with the District Attorney about their assault on Baron Blood, Blackfire arrives in orbit of Earth and sends her slavers to attack New York. Starfire is captured and the aliens escape, but the Titans capture one of their ships. Using it with the long-dormant ship that brought Starfire to Earth, the Titans head into space to rescue their teammate.

But no sooner do they board Blackfire's ship, than her defenses get the best of them, and she jettisons them into space before leaving Earth's solar system. The Titans are rescued, however, by Superman, who is aboard the Justice League's satellite headquarters. But when Robin urges the Man of Steel to head out and stop Blackfire's escape, he admits that he can't, as he's recently suffered a drastic decrease in power.

My Thoughts: The story continues organically from the Brother Blood chapters, as we pick up with the Titans in voluntary custody for their meeting with the D.A. We also learn that Bethany Snow, an antagonistic reporter introduced last issue, is a member of Blood's church and seems to be running a deliberate smear campaign against the Titans.

In other revelatory news, it is noted by the D.A. that Blood publicly "resurrected" himself following the events of the previous issue. This seems a peculiar occurrence to take place between issues, but perhaps Wolfman and Pérez just couldn't find a good way to work it into the story at hand.

The District Attorney, by the by, is named Adrian Chase. I know that later on, the Titans will gain a junior member by the name of Danny Chase, who seems to be much hated by the fandom at large. I'm guessing Danny is the D.A.'s son, but I suppose only time will tell -- if he even shows up during the run of issues I'm covering here.

Besides the above continuity bits, this issue is mostly just a transitional chapter, bridging the gap between Brother Blood and Blackfire. I tend to like issues constructed this way, as they remind you that a superhero's life is rarely dull, and adventures tend to bleed one right into the next.

Oh, there's one other cameo appearance this issue besides Superman -- Aqualad retrieves Starfire's crashed ship from the ocean floor for the Titans. Robin extends him a invitation to rejoin, even as a "reserve" member, but he neglects to answer either way here, other than to decline joining the team in space due to the lack of water out there.

Finally, on the subject of Superman: he woefully informs the Titans that, per recent issues of ACTION COMICS, his powers have been halved. That's all well and good, but it seems kind of a flimsy excuse to have him unable to save Starfire. I'm no expert, but I can't help feeling that a pre-CRISIS Superman, even with only half his power, should be more than a match for a ship full of slavers, plus Blackfire. Nonetheless, I appreciate his appearance here, as he was notably absent when the Titans met the JLA way back in issue 4.

The Plot: Superman introduces the Titans to his new friends, the Omega Men, who come from Starfire's galaxy. They allow the Titans to come with them to wage war against the Citadel, the group of slavers which have kidnapped Starfire. The group heads for the planet Okaara, where both Starfire and Blackfire trained in the art of battle.

Meanwhile, Blackfire brings her sister back to the Citadel's homeworld, where she meets with Citadel leader Damyn and plots to overthrow him. The Citadel decides to kidnap the "living goddess" X'hal, and mounts an assault on Okaara, where she resides.

During the ensuing fight, Changeling transforms into a Gordanian, one of the citadel slaver races, and brings Robin and Cyborg aboard a Citadel ship as his "prisoners". But a slip of the tongue blows his cover, and Citadel troops hold him at gunpoint.

My Thoughts: There's a lot of story in this issue, but it feels very slow moving. Perhaps due to a dearth of sub-plots, or perhaps because I don't find the Omega Men very interesting, but in any case, "Citadel Strike!" doesn't do much for me, storywise.

Artistically, however, this has to be one of George Pérez's best-looking issues yet. He deftly draws everything from snowy alien vistas on the Citadel's homeworld to hi-tech starship interiors aboard the Omega Men's craft to an underground temple on Okaara. As usual, it's a pleasure to watch Pérez's continued evolution into one of the premier pencilers of his era.

Otherwise, the final notable thing here is the fact that, although I've been describing her as such for a while now, Starfire's sister, Komand'r, officially adopts the codename Blackfire after briefly dueling Starfire aboard her spacecraft.

While this issue isn't exactly my cup of tea, I feel that almost anything would've suffered a bit following the fantastic Brother Blood story and its epilogue/this storyline's prologue, as seen in the past few installments. The real test will be whether Wolfman and Pérez can win me back over for the remainder of this star-spanning epic.

Incidentally, knowing that the X-Men went into outer space in 1982 as well, I decided to take a look at their series to find out when the so-called "Brood Saga" took place. Imagine my surprise to find that UNCANNY X-MEN 162, the first installment in the merry mutants' extended voyage away from Earth, was cover dated October 1982 -- the very same month as "Citadel Strike!" It's easy to see why NEW TEEN TITANS and UNCANNY X-MEN were considered to be cut from the same cloth around this time.


  1. "The District Attorney, by the by, is named Adrian Chase. I know that later on, the Titans will gain a junior member by the name of Danny Chase, who seems to be much hated by the fandom at large. I'm guessing Danny is the D.A.'s son"

    No, no relation. I don't want to spoil who Adrian Chase is, so google him if you'd like to know who he is, and how he relates to the Titans.

    1. Unfortunately, Adrian's evolution was spoiled for me by Marv Wolfman's own introduction to this very Omnibus, though that will be covered in upcoming posts.

      I just made a jump that the two characters in the same series sharing the last name "Chase" were related somehow because it didn't seem that far outside the realm of possibility. Seems odd to me that Wolfman would do that. Obviously it's the sort of thing you see all the time in real life, but it almost never pops up in fiction. But at the same time it's sort of cool, too, because -- why can't there be two characters who share a name but no other relation?

      (Kind of like how Batman has two major characters in his life who happened to be named Harvey, though in that case they were created by different people.)

    2. Aqualad's appearance points out Wolfman's reluctance to use the character, noting his dependence with water.
      Yes, Pre-Crisis Superman was a lot more powerful, but there was no way he could have rescued Kory here. In ACTION COMICS (written by Wolfman), Superman fought a sorceress named Cyrene who wanted to possess a magic runestone. Supes ended up absorbing the Runestone. Later, Cyrene came back to covet her prize, only to find out her ex-husband Lord Satanis also wanted the same thing. In one major custody battle, the two magicks played magic tug-of-war with Superman in order to siphon off the runestone's power. They succeeded in splitting Supes into two persons, with only one of them possessing invulnerability (and the runestone power). Cyrene kidnapped the invulnerable Superman, leaving behind the other Superman, still possessing flight and a measure of super-strength but vulnerable to all dangers that can harm a normal human body. No longer a Man of Steel, this Supes could not be able to withstand the ravages of space in order to rescue Kory.
      If you noticed, there is a panel showing that the JLA Satellite is empty (due to events in JLA#207), and then the next panel reveals somebody- Superman. JLA#207-209 and ALL-STAR SQUADRON#14-15 were part of the annual JLA-JSA crossover. Time villain Per Degaton frees the Crime Syndicate of Earth 3 (the DC Big Five as supervillains) and has them steal nuclear missiles from Earth Prime (the Real World). This theft happens to be the Cuba Missile crisis of 1963, causing a number of accusations that leads to nuclear annihilation of the world. Per Degaton takes these missiles to his time of Earth 2 1942, blackmailing the WWII nations to accept him as leader of the world. The JLA (Full-power Superman, Zatanna, Hawkman, Firestorm, and Aquaman), JSA (the modern day Dr. Fate, Green Lantern, Starman, Power Girl and the Huntress) join up with the All-Star Squadron (an assembly of all the WWII Earth-2 super-heroes- including the JSA- although the group here is Commander Steel, Liberty Belle, Johnny Quick, Firebrand, and Robotman) to stop Degaton and the Syndicate. Their success causes the adventure to be erased by Time, restoring everything back as it was/is. I figure the aforementioned panel suggests the crossover and then Superman's appearance is the restored timeline.
      I think Batman had a third Harvey HARRIS, a Private Eye who mentored him in detective work. When DC adapted SUPERFRIENDS and tied it to its continuity, they had Wendy be Harvey Harris' daughter. Marvin was the son of Diana Prince, a future bride financially unable to travel and get married. New-to-man's world Wonder Woman offered to finance her wish if in exchange she adopt her name for her own secret ID.

    3. Aha! I had no idea when Superman said his powers were halved that he mean he literally possessed only half his normal complement of abilities. I thought he was just operating at 50% capacity on all his powers. This makes sense, then.

      Never heard of Harvey Harris, but I do recall Wendy's last name being Harris in certain continuities. The whole thing about there being a Diana Prince from whom Wonder Woman borrowed her name seems a little silly, though. Does everything need an explanation? Couldn't she just have picked that name from a hat? John Byrne often cites a story in which it was "revealed" why Clark Kent only ever wore blue suits, as if that was something that needed to be explained. This sounds a bit like that. Unnecessary and a little silly.