Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Co-Creators/Editors: Marv Wolfman & George Pérez
Embellishers: Dick Giordano w/Mike DeCarlo
Letterer: Todd Klein | Colorist: Adrienne Roy

Note: This issue does not have credits in THE NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS volume 2. The above credits are pulled from the DC wiki.

The Plot: Deathstroke's ex-wife, Adeline, introduces herself and her son Joseph to Dick Grayson and explains the history of Slade Wilson, the man who would become Deathstroke the Terminator.

Slade was an army hero who joined the Special Forces and was trained by Adeline, among others. They fell in love during his training, married, and had a child named Grant. Slade later volunteered for a special procedure to boost his physical and mental capabilities, but instead it left him unstable. Later, Slade's old friend, Wintergreen, was kidnapped. Slade rescued him and soon after became a professional globe-trotting big game hunter. During this time, he and Adeline had their second child, Joseph.

One night, terrorists invaded the Wilsons' home, demanding to see Deathstroke, and kidnapped Joseph. Slade revealed to Adeline that he was not a hunter but a mercenary. He and Adeline went to rescue Joseph, but Deathstroke's ego led to the boy being injured and rendered mute. Afterward Adeline attempted to kill Slade and when that failed, she left him.

Adeline tells Dick that she and Joseph know where Deathstroke took the Titans. Dick adopts the costumed identity of Nightwing and prepares to go after his friends, and Adeline insists that Joseph, under the codename Jericho, tag along. Jericho demonstrates his ability to possess others' bodies with eye contact, and Nightwing agrees to bring him on the mission.

My Thoughts: Before we get to Nightwing, let's talk Jericho: why is his name Jericho? He's a mutant and he posses people. I've never been able to figure this out. Is there some biblical meaning I'm not getting or something? Or is just, as I've long suspected, a completely random, nonsensical name? Why didn't he just go by Joseph?

And speaking of his name, while I've always enjoyed the scene where Nightwing and Jericho reveal themselves to each other, the page is laughably marred by the little (TM) and (R) symbols right after their names in the dialogue. I have never seen those copyright symbols within a comic story before. On covers, yes -- but they look ridiculous on the story page.

Also, the best take I've ever seen on Jericho came from Image co-founder Erik Larsen a couple years back on Twitter. This is so true, and it seriously cracks me up:

And now, Nightwing: I've said before, and I stand by my statement, that my favorite status quo for Dick Grayson is as a college age Robin, away at school, adventuring with the Teen Titans, and occasionally teaming up with Batman. I've never understood the school of thought which says Batman needs a full-time Robin. Some of the greatest Batman stories ever told (no pun intended) come from the decade of the seventies, when the Caped Crusader operated solo, assisted only sometimes by his partner.

This scan provided by -- MATT ©
So the reason for my preferred status quo for Dick is an extension of my preferred status quo for Batman. Batman should work alone most of the time. Robin should be away at school. He should sometimes team up with the Batman. And therefore, a team-up between Batman and Robin, occurring perhaps only a few times per year, should be a special occasion. But in any case, Robin should always be Dick Grayson.

That said, I have no problem with Dick becoming Nightwing... someday. I know it's silly to say, since he's been Nightwing for three decades now -- but I think the best version of Robin is the Teen Wonder, the college-age kid described above. In my ideal continuity, there was Then -- Batman and young Robin fighting crime, dealing with colorful villains, and having a merry time. And there is The Future -- someday, at some nebulous point down the line, Dick will eventually become Nightwing and Batman may adopt a new ward.

But all the "real" stories should take place Now -- Batman, the Darknight Detective, patrols Gotham City solo while Robin is away at school and with the Titans, occasionally returning for special team-ups.

So I guess what I'm saying is... BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. 'Nuff said.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled coverage of "The Judas Contract".


  1. "Marv Wolfman had decided on the name, which he got from an unused character from the previous Titans series" © Wikipedia

    The introductory scene somehow reads essentially like gay erotica. Most likely because of what they're wearing.

    Plus, as superhero introductions go, the effect sort of suffers if your momma does it for you.

    Also, court jesters as a concept rock big time. I believe many things in modern times sucks because the leaders nowadays think they're so great they don't need one.

    1. Huh. Well, that explains how Wolfman came up with the name, but it still doesn't exactly tell me the purpose of the name. Why "Jericho"? He possesses people! Why not "Possession Boy"? "Jericho" says nothing about his powers and, while that can usually be excused if the codename is cool like "Nightwing" or "Rogue" or "Bishop", Jericho -- archaic though it may be -- is just another random surname. It would be like if Dick decided his new codename should be "Larry" instead of Nightwing.

      Nothing wrong with a court jester as a concept; I agree. I'd love if the President of the U.S. had one. I think Larsen's argument, which I tend to agree with, is that it's odd to dress a superhero up as a jester. Plus, of course, I'm sure he was engaging in a bit of hyperbole there.

    2. Well. There is that stony element in his name logo, so it's may not be too far a fetch to think it kind of alludes to the historic town of Jericho (oldest in the world!), popular for having its reknown walls crumble in a siege in the Bible. He's, like, crumbling the walls of mind, man.

      It's not THAT horrible, the costume, really. At least, the designer of Knockout of Femme Fatales with her steel 'locks, should not, perhaps...

  2. Note Dick's inspirations: his parents, Batman, and Superman. The latter and Jimmy Olsen would visit the bottled city of Kandor. There, Supe's powers would be neutralized, but he and Jimmy would take on the costumed guises of Nightwing and Flamebird. They would inspire two Kandorians to take on the mantle when they left.
    And if you note the Nightwing costume design, you will find that Dick also had another inspiration, one deep inside his subconscious. To paraphrase Andrew Lloyd Webber: Your chains are still mine, Dick.
    Jericho's guise looks more like a medieval squire or page rather than a jester. And I thought his powers were rather cool.

    1. I'm not sure how I missed mentioning the Kandor stuff in the above, except that perhaps I couldn't find a place for it to fit. Personally, I was unaware of the origin of Nightwing's name until not that long ago, maybe only five or six years back.

      Okay, I'm very curious about the additional inspiration you mention. I get the major ones; the name coming from Superman, the colors from Batman, and the design resembling a circus acrobat's uniform. But what else is there? I haven't seen PHANTOM OF THE OPERA in a very long time.

      I have no problem with Jericho's power; I agree that it's pretty nifty and I like the idea that he speaks through other people. But I tend to agree with Larsen that he looks silly and, as noted, I just don't understand why he calls himself Jericho. I guess for me, the costume, the power, and the codename just don't fit together.

  3. Nice to get that PotO reference, but I shall give another hint: the Nightwing suit resembles a certain TT villain, one who rather ...captivated Dick.

    1. Oh! I'm with you now. There are a lot of similarities between the Nightwing costume and Brother Blood's. I guess I never noticed since the colors are so different.

      In real life I might attribute this simply to both having been designed by Pérez -- but in-story, it does work perfectly as an example of what you mentioned not long ago, that Blood's inquisitors really did do a number on him.

      With regards to PHANTOM -- I actually had to Google those lyrics, so I can't take credit for remembering. Though I did at least suspect the phrase probably came from PHANTOM since I did recognize it and that's the only Webber work with which I'm even somewhat familiar.