Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Co-Creators/Co-Editors: Marv Wolfman & George Pérez | Writer: Marv Wolfman
Guest Penciler: Steve Rude | Guest Inker: Al Gordon
Penciler (epilogues): George Pérez | Inker (epilogues): Mike DeCarlo
Letterer: Todd Klein | Letterer (epilogues): Ben Oda | Colorist: Adrienne Roy

The Plot: A group of genetically engineered artificial teenagers named the Recombatants escape from a Dayton Industries facility near Las Vegas. In New York, Cyborg mulls over some new procedure S.T.A.R. Labs is developing which could change his life, but is soon summoned to Titans' Tower.

Nightwing, Starfire, Cyborg, Wonder Girl, and Jericho head to Nevada to round the Recombatants up. The Titans bring the Recombatants back to the lab, where the scientists who created them explain their intention to destroy these "prototypes". The Recombatants make a run for it and the Titans pursue, but the teenagers choose to take their own lives, destroying the power core that would have allowed the Dayton scientists to create more Recombatants, in the process.

Back in New York, Changeling shows Jillian around Dayton Manor and is reprimanded by his stepfather over his offering Donna and Terry the use of the house for their wedding. Meanwhile, Terry receives word that his ex-wife wants to speak with him and worries about her intentions. At Titans' Tower, Jericho attempts to visit Raven but she forces him to leave.

Monday, April 27, 2015


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

The Plot: (issue 46) The Titans, along with Aqualad and Aquagirl, attack the H.I.V.E.'s undersea base and break inside. Raven briefly succumbs to Trigon's influence during the fight, but regains her self-control.

Meanwhile, Cyborg returns to his apartment late at night following a fruitless search for Changeling, to find his grandparents waiting for him. He chastises them for missing his father's funeral, but ultimately the family makes peace. Elsewhere in the city, a woman reports to the authorities that a man who attempted to mug her was brutally assaulted by a green lion.

Back under the sea, the Titans infiltrate the H.I.V.E. base, but the organization's leader has them lured into a trap and jettisoned into the water aboard a pod which subsequently explodes.

(issue 47) Raven's soul self rescues the Titans and they re-enter the H.I.V.E.'s base. Too weak to continue the fight, Raven teleports away. Meanwhile, at Titans' Tower, Cyborg tries to level with Changeling when Changeling's ex-girlfriend, Jillian, shows up.

Underwater, the Titans split up. While Nightwing and Aqualad stop a torpedo from destroying Atlantis, Wonder Girl, Starfire, Jericho, and Aquagirl go for the H.I.V.E.'s leadership. But upon their arrival they find the full H.I.V.E. council dead, their leader having killed them and then herself to avoid capture.

The H.I.V.E. defeated, the Titans head home. In outer space, the mysterious Monitor updates his files to list the H.I.V.E. as inactive.

Friday, April 24, 2015

HULK! MAGAZINE #17, #18, & #20

Script: Doug Moench | Art: Bill Sienkiewicz
Inks: Klaus Janson (#17-18) | Colors: Olyoptics® | Editor: Rick Marschall

The Plot: (issue 17) A serial killer called the “Hatchet Man” buys a hatchet and mask and murders a nurse, the ninth in a string. Jake Lockley learns that the latest victim had a note pinned to her body, threatening “Lisa and her lover” and realizes who the Hatchet Man is. Later, Steven Grant explains to Marlene that ten years ago Marc Spector found himself hunting an unstable fellow mercenary named Rand who killed a nurse. Spector beat Rand, but caused him some brain damage in the process.

Marlene insists on helping Moon Knight draw out the Hatchet Man and dresses as a nurse. She walks a path proscribed by Moon Knight and sure enough, the Hatchet Man assaults her. But the police arrive and open fire, winging Marlene. Hatchet Man escapes with her and Moon Knight gives chase into Central Park, where his quarry delivers a hatchet to Marlene’s back. As the Hatchet Man escapes, Moon Knight vows vengeance on him, invoking his real name: Randall Spector.

(issue 18) Leaving Marlene with the police, Moon Knight pursues his brother deeper into Central Park. Hatchet Man kills a wino and takes a nurse’s assistant hostage. Moon Knight saves her, but is injured in the process. Hatchet Man then escapes into a rocky ramble. Moon Knight unmasks himself to appeal to his brother, but the Hatchet Man charged madly at him. Unable to properly counter the attack due to his wound, Moon Knight dodges instead. Hatchet Man is impaled on a gnarled tree branch.

Moon Knight travels to the hospital, where he is informed that Marlene is in critical condition and may not survive the night.

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.

Monday, April 20, 2015


Co-Creators/Editors: Marv Wolfman & George Pérez
Embellishers: Dick Giordano w/Mike DeCarlo
Letterer: Ben Oda | 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: At the H.I.V.E.'s base in the Rocky Mountains, the captive Titans are hooked into a machine which will drain their powers for the H.I.V.E.'s use. Deathstroke observes and reveals to the Titans that Terra is on his side. Elsewhere, Adeline confronts Wintergreen, who describes to her the day Slade Wilson became Deathstroke, rescuing him.

Meanwhile, Nightwing and Jericho break into the complex and find their way to the Titans in disguise. But they're forced to reveal themselves and are defeated by Terra; however Jericho soon possesses his father and frees the Titans. A battle ensues in which the majority of the H.I.V.E. operatives are defeated, Deathstroke is captured, and Terra is killed.

Later, the Titans and Outsiders hold a funeral for Terra, and the Titans keep her villainy a secret from the world at large.

My Thoughts: I said before that "The Judas Contract" was an intentionally created classic, and I think, having finished the storyline, that it's safe to stand by that assessment. The saga of the H.I.V.E. and Deathstroke's contract with them dates all the way back to the series' earliest issues, and it finally comes to a conclusion here. Deathstroke is at last captured and the H.I.V.E. suffers what is almost certainly a crippling blow.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Some months back, I railed against Marvel's decision to include the 12-issue AVENGERS FOREVER mini-series in their then upcoming AVENGERS BY KURT BUSIEK & GEORGE PÉREZ OMNIBUS, but I went ahead and pre-ordered it anyway, selling off my old AVENGERS ASSEMBLE hardcovers to subsidize the purchase. And, as it turns out, I'm quite happy I did.

This AVENGERS run, by writer Busiek and artist Pérez, was really my first time reading the series -- or at least the mainstream Marvel Universe version of it -- on a regular monthly basis. I knew of the Avengers; I'd seen them plenty of times in guest-spots in other series I read. I had even read a handful of issues from the period when Bob Harras was the series' regular writer. But it was actually Busiek's THUNDERBOLTS, which launched around the time the Avengers were rebooted via "Heroes Reborn", that got me to pick this series up. I loved that first year of THUNDERBOLTS, and when I learned that its writer would be handling AVENGERS and IRON MAN when they returned to the mainstream universe, I made plans to follow those titles as well.

Friday, April 17, 2015


Script: Doug Moench | Art: Bill Sienkiewicz & Bob McLeod
Colors: Steve Oliff | Editor: Rick Marschall

The Plot: (story 1) Steven Grant pays a visit to his friend Jason, an amateur astronomer, at Jason’s estate on the night of a total lunar eclipse. But as they prepare to view the eclipse, Grant catches sight of three hoods approaching the house. He excuses himself, changes to Moon Knight, and finds one of the thugs, incapacitating him, but is unable to locate the others. After a fruitless search, Moon Knight is knocked unconscious by a lumbering behemoth during the full eclipse. Eventually he comes around and returns to Jason’s home as Steven Grant.

(story 2) Bruce Banner has traveled to upstate New York to keep the Hulk away from populated areas on the night of the total lunar eclipse. But Banner unknowingly wanders into the grounds of an estate, where he comes across three men preparing to rob it. The men chase Banner into the woods but he transforms into the Hulk and takes two of them out. The third escapes and Hulk goes looking for him but instead, at the height of the full eclipse, he runs into a caped figure and slaps him unconscious, then walks on, pleased to see the moon returning to normal.

Continuity Notes: Grant notes that Marlene was unable to come to Jason’s because “…she's free to live her own life” and goes on to imply that she's on a date. Up to now we always saw Marlene lounging about in Grant’s bedroom, dressed and otherwise, and they were clearly a couple. But based on these thoughts, apparently they have what’s sometimes called an “open relationship”.

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.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Co-Creators/Editors: Marv Wolfman & George Pérez
Embellishers: Dick Giordano w/Mike DeCarlo
Letterers: John Costanza (#42) & Ben Oda (#43) | Colorist: Adrienne Roy

Note: These issues do not have credits in THE NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS volume 2. The above credits are pulled from the DC wiki.

The Plot: (issue 42) Terra's photographic contact lenses allow her to document the Titans' civilian lives, including Starfire's modeling, Wonder Girl's photography and wedding plans, Dick Grayson's home, and Cyborg's friendship with Sarah Simms and her students. She also shares a kiss with Changeling. Only Raven refuses to open up to her.

The next day the Titans train: first Cyborg tests his strength, then Starfire and Wonder Girl spar. Finally Terra and Changeling test their powers against each other and Changeling provokes Terra to the point that she nearly kills him. She manages to convince the Titans that her actions were a form of post-traumatic stress after being held by terrorists for several months before joining the team.

Later, Deathstroke the Terminator, Terra, and Wintergreen, Deathstroke's manservant, depart the Terminator's chalet to put Terra's intelligence to work -- to defeat the Titans and fulfill Deathstroke's longstanding contract with the H.I.V.E. But unbeknownst to the group, they're observed by a mysterious woman and an equally mysterious man who have some hidden tie to Slade "Deathstroke" Wilson.

(issue 43) Deathstroke attacks Dick Grayson, but Dick escapes into the city. He goes in search of the other Titans but find that all have already been defeated and captured. Following Dick are the mystery woman from last issue and her son, Joseph. They eventually catch up with Dick at Titans' Tower, where the woman reveals that it was not Deathstroke alone who took out the Titans -- Raven was defeated by Terra. The woman then reveals that Slade Wilson is her ex-husband.

Meanwhile, Deathstroke arrives at H.I.V.E. headquarters to turn all the captured Titans over to the villainous organization.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


After last month brought me nothing, this month makes up for it, with four books from Marvel. First up is SPIDER-MAN EPIC COLLECTION: ROUND ROBIN, reprinting issues from the start of Mark Bagley's run on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN as penciler. This volume is special to me for two reasons: one, it collects the "Vibranium Vendetta" storyline from Spider-Man's 1991 annuals, which was one of my favorite Spider-Man stories as a kid. But, more importantly, the final issue in the book, #360, was my first AMAZING SPIDER-MAN as a regular reader. I'd certainly read plenty of Spider-Man before then, but in middle school I subscribed to the title and issue 360 popped up in my mailbox a few months later, beginning a run of well over a hundred consecutive issues as a regular reader (until J. Michael Straczynski got me to quit in disgust).

Friday, April 10, 2015

HULK! MAGAZINE #13 & #14

Script: Doug Moench | Art: Bill Sienkiewicz w/Bob McLeod (#14)
Colors: Steve Oliff | Editor: Rick Marschall

The Plot: (issue 13) In a framing sequence, the mysterious Lupinar is briefed on Moon Knight by his assistant, Smelt. Meanwhile, Steven Grant leaves to deliver $250,000 to the Chilean ambassador’s terrorist friends in exchange for the missing Horus statue. But first Grant changes to Jake Lockley and visits his contacts, Gena and Crawley, for information. Soon after, Moon Knight makes the exchange and then follows the terrorists to see them ambush an armored truck. Moon Knight switches to Marc Spector and aids the villains to ingratiate himself with them.

Elsewhere, the Mayor of New York City receives a ransom demand complete with the threat of nuclear attack. Spector realizes that the terrorists have stolen uranium from the truck. Before he can take any action, however, someone dressed as Moon Knight, working for Lupinar, appears, ready to expose Spector. And back at his headquarters, Lupinar is shown for the first time in full, revealed as a wolfman.

(issue 14) Spector tackles the ersatz Moon Knight and both are gunned down by the terrorists. The imposter is killed, but Spector plays possum and changes into costume. The terrorists split up, so Moon Knight hitches a ride atop one car while Frenchie follows the other. Eventually Moon Knight’s car takes him to Lupinar’s home, where Moon Knight confronts the villain. As the pair duels with fencing sabers, Frenchie calls the federal nuclear response team to recover the stolen plutonium from the terrorists he had followed. With his nuclear threat canceled, Lupinar impales himself upon Moon Knight’s blade.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Co-Creators: Marv Wolfman & George Pérez | Embellisher: Romeo Tanghal
Letterers: Bob Lappan (#40) & John Costanza (#41) | Colorist: Adrienne Roy
Editor: Len Wein

Note: These issues do not have credits in THE NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS volume 2. The above credits are pulled from the DC wiki.

The Plot: (issue 40) Brother Blood preaches to his flock. Meanwhile, Changeling and Terra are tutored by a teacher at Steve Dayton's estate before heading to Manhattan for an appearance with the other Titans (minus Dick Grayson) on Bethany Snow's news program. Wonder Girl debates a group of newly elected politicians over an arms shipment to Zandia, and Brother Blood joins the broadcast via satellite to assuage the public's concerns.

Later, Dick goes undercover as a reporter and meets with the three congresspeople who were voted out of office due to their connections with Blood. It turns out they were framed, so Dick offers to send them to Zandia as a fact finding committee. Soon after, accompanied by Bethany as well, the group heads to the island nation. But Dick is recognized in spite of his disguise, and Blood uses him to lure the Titans to his temple, where he captures them.

(issue 41) Brother Blood prepares to execute the Titans, but Raven's soul self saves them. Blood tests the Titans with his monsters, then challenges them to a duel. Meanwhile, the visiting congresspeople observe evidence elsewhere in Zandia of Blood's benevolence and the current regime's cruelty.

Blood battles and defeats the Titans, then traps them in an energy field and orders the brainwashed Dick Grayson to kill them. But Stafire's love for Dick overcomes his programming and he turns on Blood even as the Zandian military assaults Blood's temple. Blood plummets into a deep pit with his machinery and the temple is destroyed. As the Titans head home, they watch Bethany Snow's report stating that the congresspeople will work to sanction Zandia, while nations around the world have opened their borders to Brother Blood's church.

Monday, April 6, 2015


DC Comics presents a Wolfman/Pérez production
Script by Marv Wolfman | From a plot by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez
Art by George Pérez & Romeo Tanghal | Lettering by Ben Oda
Coloring by Adrienne Roy | Edited by Len Wein

The Plot: Through the framing device of a case summary recording, Robin explains that Terry Long asked him to investigate Wonder Girl's past since it was very important to her that she learn where she came from prior to their wedding.

Robin and Wonder Girl investigate the tenement where young Donna Troy was found by Wonder Woman, uncovering a long hidden doll. The doll leads Robin to a toymaker, and subsequently to the former owner of an orphanage. Eventually, after unwinding a long series of clues, Robin reunites Wonder Girl with her adoptive mother and her new family, and with the grave of her biological mother.

My Thoughts: The point of this story is to explain Wonder Girl's origin, a plot point dating way back to THE NEW TEEN TITANS' very first issue. As I understand it, Wonder Girl was originally created as the childhood version of Wonder Woman -- but, when the original TEEN TITANS series launched in the sixties, writer Bob Haney (apparently well known for such continuity gaffes) assumed she was Wonder Woman's sidekick and brought her onto the team. This led to Marv Wolfman later teasing an origin for Wonder Girl in the final days of the original TITANS series, and now he follows up on that here.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Warning: I'm just going to jump right in and start blabbing, so if you've never watched AMC's MAD MEN (and why haven't you??), this post will probably be meaningless.

MAD MEN begins the second half of its final season tonight, and I find myself startlingly indifferent to this fact. Now, I still like MAD MEN. I love the characters and their interactions, and sometimes I enjoy seeing them react to the real life news of the sixties. But the problem is, I don't love the sixties themselves so much.

I originally missed the first two seasons of this show. I began watching with the premiere episode of season three, but I was able to get up to speed fairly easily. Following that season, I let MAD MEN lie until a year later. In advance of the premiere of season four, I watched the first two seasons, plus I viewed season three for a second time. All caught up, I took in season four as it aired. Then MAD MEN missed a year due to negotiations with AMC, and in that time I met my future wife. She was just getting into the series, so we watched all of it together over our earliest days and weeks as a couple. Thus I saw seasons one, two, and four each a second time and season three for a third time. From there I've watched each subsequent season one time each, as they aired.

Friday, April 3, 2015

HULK! MAGAZINE #11 & #12

Script: Doug Moench | Art: Gene Colan & Tony Dezuniga (issue 11);
Keith Pollard, Frank Giacoia & Mike Esposito (issue 12)
Editor: Rick Marschall

The Plot: (issue 11) Moon Knight witnesses a murder, then becomes embroiled in a chase around the city involving a key stolen by the murderer, the hijacked taxi cab of Jake Lockley, and a statue of the Egyptian god, Horus, which has been replaced with a fake. Finally, Moon Knight’s investigation leads him back to the mansion of Joel Luxor, who was murdered earlier in the evening, and where Marlene is now at the mercy of Crane, Luxor’s ex-partner turned killer.

(issue 12) Moon Knight rescues Marlene, who’s been shot in the arm, from Crane. They fail to find the Horus statue, but learn that Chilean ambassador Alphonse Leroux has it. Days later, Steven Grant and Marlene attend a gala at the French embassy, where Grant introduces himself to Leroux and expresses interest in acquiring the statue. Leroux invites Grant to his embassy at midnight, but Moon Knight arrives first, learns Leroux is in league with terrorists, and disables Leroux’s guards. At midnight, Grant shows up and tells Leroux he will pay half a million dollars for Horus, but only on the condition that Moon Knight deliver the money to Leroux’s terrorist allies.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Writers: Marv Wolfman (NTT #37) & Mike W. BARR (B&TO #5)
Artists: George Pérez & Romeo Tanghal (NTT #37) & Jim Aparo (B&TO #5)
Letterers: John Costanza (NTT #37) & Jim Aparo (B&TO #5)
Colorist: Adrienne Roy | Editor: Len Wein

The Plot: (NTT #37) At the order of Psimon, Gizmo breaks Shimmer and Mammoth out of prison. Dr. Light convinces them to spring him as well. At the suggestion of Shimmer and Mammoth, Psimon leads the Fearsome Five to kidnap Dr. Jace, a woman with a technique for imbuing normal humans with superpowers.

Later, Terra leaves a Titans' meeting when she receives an emergency signal from Dr. Jace, who gave her and her brother their abilities. Terra heads for Jace's lab, where she finds the Outsiders -- Metamorpho, Katana, Halo, and Black Lightning -- investigating the demolished facility. The Titans catch up and a fight breaks out, but when the Outsiders' fifth member -- Terra's brother, Geo-Force -- reveals himself, both sides make amends.

The teams' respective leaders, Robin and Batman, are summoned from Gotham City while Psimon mentally coerces Dr. Jace into working with the Fearsome Five. When the heroes investigate several recently transformed half-mud vagrants, their path leads them to Psimon's lab outside Gotham City. There, Dr. Jace's procedure has been perfected and the Fearsome Five have an army of mud monsters under their control.

After a brief skirmish, Psimon triggers explosives on his island lair which sink it into the sea with the Titans and Outsiders aboard, while the villains and their monsters escape.


I understand April Fools' Day jokes are all the rage here on the internet, but since the words "not a hoax" are right there in my blog title, I feel like I should recuse myself from the holiday or I could be sued for false advertising. I hope you all understand.