Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Co-Creators/Co-Editors: Marv Wolfman & George Pérez
Letterer: Todd Klein | Colorist: Adrienne Roy

The Plot: The Titans conduct "war games" but are interrupted when a troubled Raven returns. Jericho briefly touches her mind and realizes she needs help. That night, as Raven sleeps, Jericho enters her body and finds himself in the nether-realm inhabited by Trigon and Raven's mother, Arella. Trigon briefly tortures Jericho before Raven awakens, forcing him from her body. She departs, leaving Jericho to tell the Titans that Raven needs their help.

My Thoughts: First and foremost -- and I know I said this before the last time Pérez inked himself, but -- this is, without a doubt, the best the Titans have ever looked. George Pérez has, for my money, at last completed his evolution into the George Pérez, legend among comic book artists. Working here on a series with higher production values, Pérez is free to experiment and really up the dynamism of his work. The issue is filled with breathtaking full-bleed art and exciting panel layouts, and, thanks to Pérez's own inks, it looks absolutely magnificent -- better than even the best of Pérez's previous collaborators could've made it.

And it seems Wolfman is inspired by the artwork, because this is some of the best scripting I think he's provided thus far, as well. His prose has finally reached a point where it's engagaing and appropriately purple without being overwrought and/or rife with irritating tics.

Together, the art and writing bring us a story which is appropriately somber and ominous, as Wolfman and Pérez prepare to revisit the threat which brought these Titans together in the first place. Remember, though they fought other foes before him, it was the looming threat of Trigon which prompted Raven to gather the team in the first place.

In a nice touch, Wolfman and Pérez use the artist's evolving style to their advantage as a story point. I've read before that the pair noticed Pérez had unintentionally changed the way he drew Raven over the years. Originally she had a typical "comic book girl" face. But as time passed and Pérez became more conscious of giving his characters individualized faces, Raven's visage evolved, perhaps the most dramatically of all, into a much more angular and severe look. The story addresses this as Cyborg and Changeling suddenly take note of it while looking at old file photos and realize that Trigon's influence has apparently changed Raven physically over time.

This is also the famously "controversial" issue which dared to show the unmarried, teenage (though over 18) Dick Grayson and Koriand'r -- gasp -- in bed together! Not having sex, not even kissing, mind you. There's nothing sexual about it. They're awakened when Jericho exits Raven's body and just happen to be side-by-side in bed when it happens. Honestly, I can see how this would've raised a few eyebrows in 1984. Comics were "just for kids", after all, and even despite the relatively tame nature of the scene, I understand the concern. Nowadays however, the idea of anyone getting worked up about this -- whether in a kids' comic or not -- seems positively quaint!

The Plot: As darkness envelops the Earth, Lilith arrives at Titans' Tower, volunteering her services to help find Raven. The Titans travel to Blue Valley to enlist a reluctant Wally West as well, to utilize his prior connection with Raven in the search. Then, at Titans' Tower, a seance is held which connects the Titans not with Raven, but with her mother. Arella informs the Titans that Trigon has escaped the realm where he was imprisoned and is invading Azarath. The Titans allow Arella to transport them to Azarath, where they do their best to stop Trigon's forces, but ultimately the city falls.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Raven -- now red-skinned and sporting four eyes like her father -- appears to the populace and orders them to surrender to Trigon. As her speech concludes, Trigon himself appears beside her in Manhattan.

My Thoughts: Everything I said about the last chapter applies here too, and then some. The art continues to be breathtakingly lovely and experimental, including the scenes in Azarath which appear to have been reproduced directly from Pérez's pencils, no inks applied, creating a nice phantom-like feel.

It's great to see Kid Flash -- err, Wally West -- alongside the team again. He was a founding member and stood with them against Trigon the first time, so it's fitting that he return here, despite Frances Kane's pleas that he not go. His powers are still on the fritz, but that doesn't stop him from using them anyway in the defense of Azarath. The only thing that could've improved his return would've been if he'd worn his costume. I guess it's just the kid in me, but I don't count a reunion like this as "official" unless everyone dons their super-togs.


  1. I remember reading Issue#1 as a kid. Scared the dung out of me. Even now, the scenes of Trigon's dimension is still frightening.
    And Elaine, I think I see a nipple on Arella!
    My avoidance of this issue gave me a misinterpretation of the cover. Looking at the cover on comics or magazines, I mistook Raven's cheekbones for pupil-less eyes, making me assume the picture of Raven was some artsy-expressionist depiction compared to the realistic renderings of the other Titans.
    Perez's pencil-rendering of Azarath in Issue#2 is impressive. Unfortunately, it took me a long time to appreciate it. Until my adulthood, my main source of Issue#2 was the TotTT reprint, whose inferior paper couldn't do justice to the scene, so they retraced and inked it with an orange-pink tint. Here is a sample:
    I really don't have a problem about having the hero without the costume as some would say (a similar complaint is the BATMAN/MR. FREEZE SUBZERO movie showing more Barbara Gordon than Barbara-Gordon-as-Batgirl). It's the same person under no secret ID-restrictions (acting powerless or weak).
    Note Lilith has become Raven's stand-in.

    1. Hmm, I'm going to have to go back and look for that nipple. Not sure how I missed something like that. You can bet I would've homed right in on it when I was thirteen or so.

      Not a fan of the newsstand version of Azarath. It almost looks like they inked it!

  2. That night, as Raven sleeps, Jericho enters her body

    Now... this is why you need that Claremontian over-exposure of every-issue-is-someone's-first kind, to tell it's a superpower thing rather than something highly questionable going on, Sam and Roberto sneaking into an alley so they can "blast off" and what else.

    And waking up Dick and Koriand'r, too, in the same room upon exiting. The Avengers West Coast have nothing on this lot.

    1. I can't believe I wrote that with a straight face and the double meaning never once occurred to me. But seeing it out of context, it's hilarious.

    2. You know, I have for hours now fought back from writing that "it was probably a very audible 'plop' sound he made upon exiting her body that woke them up" and just now I lost my fight. Totally not funny though, depending on if she was merely feigning to sleep consentually or not we may be in Dr. Light territory here.