Monday, May 25, 2015


Co-Creators: Marv Wolfman & George Pérez | Co-Artist: Romeo Tanghal
Letterers: Bob Lappan (#3), Todd Klein (#4), John Costanza (#5)
Colorist: Adrienne Roy

The Plot: (issue 3) The Titans and Arella return from Azarath to Earth, to find Manhattan being remade in Trigon's image. Raven confronts the group and sends them separately into struggles against their own dark sides and their deepest fears. One by one, the Titans are overcome or give in to their anger.

(issue 4) One at a time, the Titans kill their dark sides, thus losing their souls to Trigon. But when Raven summons them back to Earth to serve her father, Lilith reveals that the Titans actually serve her. She then sets them against Raven, and the dark Titans kill their former teammate. Then, their task complete, the Titans return to normal just as Trigon appears to avenge his daughter.

(issue 5) The Titans assault Trigon but are easily defeated. Then, as Trigon prepares to destroy Earth and return to his dimension, Lilith reveals to Arella that she has been possessed by Azar, Raven's mentor, this entire time. Azar directs the Titans to attack Trigon again, while she and Arella restore Raven's body to life. Raven acts as a conduit for all the deceased souls of Azarath, which unite to destroy Trigon once and for all.

With Trigon's death, Raven's soul moves on to another plane and the world is restord to normal -- with the exception of Titans' Tower, which was destroyed by Trigon during his fight with the Titans.

My Thoughts: It occurs to me that over the course of these reviews, I've compared the Wolfman/Pérez TEEN TITANS to both a novel and a TV series. I suppose both ideas are apt in their own ways. If we look at this long run of issues as a finite novel, then it's fitting that it concludes the same way it began -- with the Titans going up against Trigon. It works as a way to bookend the story by bringing everything full circle.

In TV show terms, you might look at this as the big movie that closes out the series. And, before I go any further with this analogy, I should really give some credit to mortsleaM, who comments sometimes over at Gentlemen of Leisure (and who has dropped a line here at least once, as I recall). He has frequently compared Chris Claremont's X-MEN run to a long-running TV series, and is probably, though I didn't realize it at the time, the source of my conceptualizing these TITANS stories in the same way.

In any case, this story arc feels much more like a movie than anything before, owing mainly to the fact that there are no real sub-plots to speak of running throughout it. Wally's diminishing speed is mentioned, of course, as are a few other plot points from the past, but with one single exception in the first issue (a two-page check-in with planet Tamaran), there are no "Meanwhiles" or "Elsewheres" setting up future developments. The arc is entirely self-contained, which really adds to the illusion that it's a feature film version of the TITANS "TV show". It does feel perhaps a bit "decompressed" as a result, but when that's the exception rather than the norm, I can live with it.

I assume the creative team knew that Pérez was on his way out as of this arc, because all the stops are pulled out to make this the most epic storyline in TITANS history. Certainly "The Judas Contract" was a big deal, and the original Trigon story and the Citadel arc circa issue 25 both involved "big-screen" action -- but they all pale in comparison with Trigon's invasion of Earth and the Titans' duels with their dark sides, culminating in what appears to be a pretty definitive death for Trigon and the noble demise of Raven, as well. I know both would return in subsequent years, but looking at this run as I am, as a sort of finite "novel", this feels about as epic and definitive as you can get, with Raven fulfilling the destiny she set herself on back in issue 1 when she formed the Titans.

Pérez's artwork remains strong as ever, though sadly he's no longer inking himself. Romeo Tangal is, as always, an excellent match for Pérez, but after the series' first two issues, nothing can look quite as good as Pérez on Pérez. Nonetheless the artistic experimentation continues, as the Titans' dark sides are drawn entirely in gray tone and the battles within their souls are presented with full-bleed red backgrounds behind the panels. Then, when the real-world Titans are possessed by their dark selves in the real world, they're presented as red-on-black color holds, which looks really cool. It's exciting to see Pérez (and Roy) engaging in the sort of experimentation that the higher quality format allows, rather than playing it safe and drawing everything the same as he would have in a normal comic.

Oh, and get this -- apparently Marvel and DC both decided that the Statue of Liberty was undergoing repairs in 1984, as Pérez draws the same gigantic scaffolding around the thing here that featured in several Marvel comics of the same era. Must be one of those little in-jokes between creators you see from time to time. From what I gather, this fictional concept was so influential that the City of New York actually went ahead with the repairs in real life after seeing them depicted in all these comics.

I guess, in the end, it comes as no surprise that Wolfman and Pérez have churned out another epic fully deserving of the name. At this point, these guys can do no wrong.


  1. The Titans did it first!: Evil guy transforming Manhattan into his own image with the Statue of Liberty being scaffolded for repairs in the background, you said? Ye-es, but did they get to crucify Superman in the process?

    So, yeah, Claremont had scaffolding in UNCANNY #189, #190 (Jan/Feb 1986), versus Nov 1985 cover date of TNTTv2 #3. Who else and what issues were there over at Marvel?

    1. Rats, I meant Jan/Feb 1985 and Nov 1984, resectively.

    2. I feel like maybe I saw the Statue renovation scaffolding in a Spider-Man comic? I didn't read much else from Marvel back then. At the very least, the renovations are mentioned in TRANSFORMERS #23, when two Decepticons spray paint the recently touched-up Statue.

  2. Just as “Inferno” is to Marvel, this storyline is DC’s definitive take on ‘Hell-on-Earth.’ Wolfman and Perez definitely peak here, and a great coda to their partnership. Those pillars of tormented souls makes post-Trigon New York City a place you don’t want to be anywhere around. And the final destruction of Trigon is epic: Perez’s drawing his disintegration by the souls of Azarath is great, and Wolfman’s “Remember this day, for Trigon dies!” is up there with Claremont’s “They were young, they were in love, they were heroes…’
    Perhaps it has something to do with the time I was reading it, but I tend to read Raven’s purification, destruction of her father, and the restoration of the world while hearing in my head Stephen Oliver’s ending song to the 1985 film LADY JANE (when Mary Tudor walks the hall, passing her courtiers).
    Again, my only source of the final chapter was the ToTT reprint, which had to recolor certain things for the newsprint: although Raven keeps her white form, the souls of Azarath are given pink hues, and Raven’s departing light beams are drawn pink as well. That said, I think Brian Bolland’s cover was better than the Baxter cover.
    We catch glimpses of Batman, Superman, the Amazons of Paradise Island, and Justice League Detroit. Let me explain the latter: A repulsed Martian Invasion leaves a mark on the JLA, destroying their Satellite HQ (although returning Martian Manhunter after a long absence). The fact that none of the team’s powerhouses were present (Supes, WW, GL, and Flash were in space or in different universes at the time) to help fight the invaders makes Aquaman (already dealing with a separation from Mera) question the degree of commitment to the JLA and its goals to protect the world. He disbands the team, and reforms a new one where its members will be 100% committed to the team. However, most of the team are unable to make such commitment, leaving only Aquaman, Elongated Man (and his wife), and Zatanna to fill the quota. So with the added services of J’onz j’onz, the new JL get some second stringers like Gypsy, Vibes, Vixen, and Steel, using Detroit as their HQ.
    Back to the story, the Titans undergo their worst nightmares and eventually lash out. I like them all, especially Vic's (everyone rejecting him for the human EvilVic), Dick's (as he faces a dead Batman), and Gar’s.I like the shot of him (as a pterydactal), looking innocently horrified as EvilGar kills everyone, and then turning giant monster ranting ‘I’ll kill you!’ (which actually doesn’t come off surprising, considering his earlier vendettas). I imagined that it would be cool if, in Donna’s nightmare, EvilDonna drops Terry’s corpse on Paradise Island, causing the Amazons to shrivel and die of old age, adding to Donna’s guilt.
    I never actually understood how the Titans killing their dark selves made them turn against Raven. Was it the fact that their friendship with Raven was a deterrent for fighting her, and by having them kill, that wall was removed? At any rate, it was cool seeing Raven order Kory to kill Lilith and then get smacked by a starbolt (with Perez giving the sound effect word).
    This was hardly Wally’s finest hour. Flash fans would probably cringe seeing the future successor just give up among his teammates' 'If what we do doesn't matter, what matters is what we do' attitude (which is rather Claremontian). At any rate, after next issue, where he visits his parents and talks to Frances about his speed problems, Wally won’t return to the Titans until after he takes the passing torch. As Flash, he aids Donna and the original Titans (with Jason Todd) in an adventure that leads to Cheshire meeting her baby-daddy, and the final battle with Brother Blood (which reunites the team with Raven).

    1. Wow, I agree; that Bolland cover is great!

      Thanks for the history of JLDetroit. I know of them, but I was never clear on how they came about.

      I don't quite get how killing their dark sides frees the Titans either. It seems to have something to do with Lilith/Azar, maybe? It was very unclear.

      I've seen the covers of the subsequent Wally-Flash vs. Brother Blood story. I do want to get to those issues eventually, and I may grab them through DC's app since a collection seems unlikely. At this point, Brother Blood is pretty much the one major loose end left from Woflman/Pérez which I'd like to see resolved.