Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Co-Creators/Co-Editors: Marv Wolfman & George Pérez | Finisher: Mike DeCarlo
Letterer: Ben Oda | Colorist: Adrienne Roy

*Note: This story has no title listed with its credits in the NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS volume 3. The DC Wiki and both list the title as "H.I.V.E." while the Omnibus table of contents lists it as "Old Times, Old Friends".

The Plot: A dehydrated Aqualad and Aquagirl, on the verge of death, arrive at Titans' Tower to find no one home. Meanwhile, Changeling breaks up an arms deal but nearly kills the criminals present before Cyborg stops him. Elsewhere, Cyborg's grandparents arrive at his apartment and pick the lock to let themselves in.

On Long Island, Terry Long's brother hosts his bachelor party with Dick Grayson in attendance, while on Paradise Island, Wonder Girl (accompanied by Starfire) requests Queen Hyppolyte's permission to marry Terry. At Manhattan College, Raven finishes class and brushes off her would-be suitor, Steven, before being picked up by Jericho. But when she senses trouble at the Tower, Raven teleports ahead.

At Titans' Tower, Aqualad and Aquagirl are in a water tank, having been discovered by the visiting Wally West and Francis Kane. After Nightwing cures them, Aqualad explains that the pair was out swimming when they found a H.I.V.E. base and came under attack. They were poisoned and retreated to Titans' Tower.

Nightwing declares that it's time to finish the H.I.V.E. and leads Wonder Girl, Starfire, Raven, Jericho, Aqualad, and Aquagirl out in the Titans' submarine.

My Thoughts: It's the traditional "catch your breath" issue after a big event, as popularized by the Titans' rivals, the X-Men. The fallout from Terra's betrayal and death is felt, as Changeling has become uncharacteristically bloodthirsty. He berates Cyborg for ignoring his calls over the past week, but Cyborg says that none of the Titans were ready yet to talk about Terra -- which may be true, but sometimes you gotta suck it up, Cyborg. Changeling was the closest to Terra, even believing they might have had a romance budding. It stands to reason that her fate would affect him deeply. The other Titans may have been wallowing in their feelings, but that's no excuse to ignore poor Changeling -- the team's youngest member who, I might add, already suffers some survivor's guilt over the Doom Patrol's deaths.

Cyborg has mentioned a couple times in the past few issues that his grandparents are coming to town and he's none too pleased. He believes they abandoned him and his father to go off trotting the globe, and their scene here indicates that this is true -- but the circumstances may not have been exactly what Cyborg believes. They seem like a couple of shady characters, reminiscing about all the locks they've picked around the world as they break into their grandson's apartment. This story should be interesting to follow.

The only other especially notable plot point this issue is Wally's reappearance. He claims it's been three months since he quit the Titans in issue 39 -- and while that's not impossible, as usual I'm not a fan of Wolfman's timeline. I prefer superhero stories to take place over highly compressed periods, and there's really nothing served here by saying three months instead of three weeks. But anyway -- Wally dropped by to speak with the Titans about Terra, as he rightly wonders why they didn't tell him she had died. He believes she perished as a hero and the Titans decide to keep this secret for some unfathomable reason. Kid Flash worked alongside Terra for practically her entire career as a Titan, and he deserves to know the truth about her.

But Wally is keeping a secret of his own, too. He had considered several times before quitting that his speed powers seemed to be fading. Now he mysteriously refuses to accompany the group on their mission against the H.I.V.E. As he and Frances depart the Tower, they discuss the fact that every time he uses his power, it causes him pain. Presumably this means that even though Kid Flash has departed the Titans, Wally West will remain a recurring supporting cast member, and I'm glad to see it. I like Wally and will enjoy the occasional appearance from him.

Finally, I'll touch on the artwork: first, George Pérez pulls a nifty trick with this issue. That image of Aqualad on the cover, complete with dialogue, is actually the first page of the story. Turn the cover, and we find Aqualad and Aquagirl inside the Tower, having passed through the doorway. Alan Davis would pull this same trick years later on EXCALIBUR, but I had no idea he'd been beaten to the punch.

And apparently Dick Giordano wasn't just spelling Romeo Tanghal during "The Judas Contract". Tanghal is nowhere to be found here, and a quick glance at upcoming covers reveals he's been replaced by Mike DeCarlo for the long haul. I don't know where Tanghal went, and he's missed, but I kind of like DeCarlo's work here. He brings a very Bronze Age/seventies vibe to Pérez's work, which really appeals to me. 

No comments:

Post a Comment