The New Teen Titans Volume 8
Reprints Tales of the Teen Titans #49-58
Written by Marv Wolfman & George Perez
Art by George Perez, Eduardo Barretto, Rich Buckler
The wedding of Donna Troy is here, and there is a huge guest list of heroes and family in attendance. There are plenty distractions in the life of the Titans though. Doctor Light returns to menace the team and Wally West returns to help in the fight, though his powers may kill him. Suspicions arise over newest member Joseph and his connections to the mercenary Deathstroke. Jericho and his mother are attacked by the assassin Cheshire and are taken overseas. Deathstroke is put on trial for his crimes and death of Terra which leads to Changeling going rogue and choosing to take justice into his own hands. Former member Lilith meets what appears to be an angel thawed from ancient Antarctic ice. The Teen Titans are being tested to see just how much they can endure.
This is the moment where you start to see the positive momentum of Wolfman’s run on Titans begin to spoil. What happened was that just after the introduction of Nightwing and conclusion of the Judas Contract storyline, DC launched a second title, called New Teen Titans and renamed the original series as Tales of the New Teen Titans. George Perez tried to do double duty on the books but eventually left both to work on bigger things, you know, like Crisis on Infinite Earths. With Perez leaving, Wolfman’s chief collaborator was gone, and then we begin to see how the duo was necessary to keep things going. The final contribution of Perez to Tales is issue 50, the wedding of Donna Troy. It is a great moment to out on because this gathering is the culmination of everything that Wolfman and Perez started to do, which was to update and convince audiences that the Titans weren’t just the Justice League junior.
This is probably the most Claremont-esque of the Titans collections when you look at the myriad of story arcs woven throughout. I would argue there is not a lot of Titans as a team and more characters were branching off so that you get pretty packed issues that have one core story but lots of short scenes building on solo team members. The best of all of these stories is the Changeling/Deathstroke confrontation because it gives so much more depth to the one Titan who was always framed as comedy relief. The pain Garfield Logan shows in reaction to Terra’s betrayal and death and how he takes it out on Deathstroke is very well written. You feel some closure between the Titans and Deathstroke in this era.
What doesn’t work is almost everything else. The Jericho/Cheshire story feels so disconnected from everything else they might as well have done a Jericho mini-series to spotlight that character and develop him. There’s a two-part conclusion to the collection that has Cyborg getting artificial skin over his body, and the art is pretty disappointing with a story that doesn’t help either. The Lilith/Azrael subplot is so unimportant to anything that has come before and ends up getting dragged into the second title. Azrael was a childhood creation of Wolfman’s that he integrated into the Titans title and it most definitely feels that way. He has no connection to anything in the book or with any of the characters other than a forced relationship with Lilith. More on that in the next review.
Wolfman wouldn’t find another strong collaborator until artist Tom Grummet came on the book near the end of his run, so we have a long way to go and some pretty sub-par stories to read. There is some hope for the next review when we look at the first couple arcs of the second Titans title which features Perez’s official final arc and some of the best damn art he has ever produced of these characters.