Tuesday, September 6, 2016


"2001: A Titans Odyssey"
Marv Wolfman
PENCILS:  Tom Grindberg
INKS:  Al Vey, Will Blyberg, Ian Akin
COLORS:  Adrienne Roy
LETTERS:  John Costanza

SYNOPSIS:  Waverider streaks through a city, still pondering the identity of the mysterious despot known as Monarch.
 A newspaper headline clues him in to the fact that the New Titans are not viewed overly favorably at this point in their careers.  This thought leads Waverider to consider that since Nightwing was trained by Batman he might also have the potential to go rogue and overthrow the world's heroes.

Waverider appears in a Wildebeest stronghold and disguises himself as one of the soldiers.  The Wildebeests have planned a coordinated attack on the Titans, one which proves fruitful as they take an unconscious Nightwing captive.  It is then that Waverider puts his plan into action and makes contact.

In 2001 Nightwing leaps from the shadows in an effort to shut down a drug factory.  Clad in his shoulder armor with his trusty shield and sidearm, Nightwing charges forward, ponytail flowing, to take down the drug manufacturers.  Dick manages to take care of most of them, but luckily for him fellow Titan Redwing flies in to stop an unnoticed gunman just in the nick of time.

Nightwing and Redwing plant a bomb and rush out of the factory.  They are met by the authorities who place them under arrest.  While it is clearly known this is a factory that makes narcotics, the authorities are under orders to protect such places, thus making the Titans something similar to domestic terrorists.  The two Titans stall the authorities until the bomb explodes, and in the confusion take the opportunity to escape.  As they fly off, fellow Titan Kilowat uses his electrical powers to shut down police cruisers while Dick and Red fly off.

Back in their makeshift headquarters in a run-down Batcave, Nightwing, Redwing and Kilowat rondevous with Mirage and Dagon as Prestor John (the diembodied spirit of Redwing's brother who somehow now inhabits the various Titans network computers) teases them.  We learn that Nightwing is obsessed with finding the other Titans--HIS Titans team.  They have been missing for nearly a decade, and while everybody else assumes they are dead Nightwing insists they are still out there somewhere.
 We also learn that there are other Titans teams active right now across the world. None know much about the other, only that they are controlled by a central figure who sends them out on missions to help better the world and stop Lord Chaos.  About this time Terra (not the original who betrayed the Titans to Slade Wilson despite looking like her) flies in. She has managed to steal a hardcopy version of one of the secret enemy codes, which she gives to Prestor John to translate.  John tells them this is "the big one" and the Titans rush off to stop it.

Elsewhere, a group of executives have a meeting with Lord Chaos via vid screen.  Chaos informs the assemblage that plans have worked out exactly as expected.  Drugs have been incorporated into all areas, including food and water supplies.  He also has surmised that the Titans' mysterious leader is someone close to them, but he's still not 100% certain who.  Security measures are to be stepped up so that the leader can be found and the Titans dealt with.

Meanwhile. the Titans stealthily approach the floating base, which appears to be the size of a small city.  Kilowat and Dagon take out some of the guards quietly, but Terra manages to alert security through use of a small boulder against another guard.  The team battle their way through swarms of armed guards before finding a computer terminal. Nightwing plugs in a bracelet that connects with Prester John and begins to download information.  The others beat a hasty retreat as more opposition appears.  Nightwing is the last to go, making sure the download finishes.  Luckily for him, Terra makes up for her earlier goof by being nearby to save Nightwing from falling to his death.

Unfortunately, such a high exertion of her powers has left Terra drained and unconscious.  Dagon is happy for the need to hide out, as he rushes toward their plane. It is nearly sunrise and Dagon's vampiric nature is taking over.  The group decides they should all rest.

Many hours later, it is this group's turn to report in to their mysterious leader.  The information Nightwing retrieved proves it--the old Titans are all dead.  As hard as it is for Dick to accept this, there is more bad news.  Lord Chaos's base has been discovered and it is right in the center of the old Titans Island.

This time is it Kilowat and Mirage who help the team get past the guards. However, Chaos was expecting.  He demonstrates he powers against the Titans, paralyzing them with an energy blast before he tells them his tale.  He is in fact the son of former Titan Donna Troy!
 Chaos also informs the Titans that he has enlisted the aid of alien beings.  Once they have conquered Earth he shall return to help them with their own.  However, having heard all this, Nightwing decides it just isn't going to fly and orders the Titans to go all out.

Their leader tells John to order the Titans to retreat.  It is time to use a different tactic--one that will require all the disparate teams to assemble together.  Before they escape, though, the Titans do manage to set off several explosions in Chaos's base.

Back in 1991, Waverider concludes that Nightwing could not possibly become Monarch and hopes for the best from Nightwing's current situation with the Wildebeest.

Back in the future, the Titans teams are beginning to assemble.  Their leader announces that he has decided to send teams of Titans into the past. In order to prevent the birth of Lord Chaos DONNA TROY MUST DIE!

MY THOUGHTS:  Well, Nightwing certainly isn't Monarch.  Heck, Monarch doesn't even appear in this future.  It's a story all about the Titans fighting this Lord Chaos guy.  Well guess what.  For those not in the know, this annual was used as a way to give backstory on a plot that was currently running in the New Titans series.  Also, these Team Titans would soon be getting a book of their own, but a little more on that later.

Usually I really have no trouble coming up with my thoughts about the issues covered, but this is a tough one.  Waverider is VERY minimal and Monarch is non-existent.  Obviously, Wolfman wanted to move along with his Team Titans stories.  By itself, this is actually a pretty fun Elsewords-type story.  A future where Dick leads a new team of Titans in search of the old members is definitely what somebody would like to see of a alternate future story.  I find myself liking the new members in spite of myself.  Redwing is way more fun here that I ever thought she was in the Team Titans book.  Mirage and Terra are both fun and interesting.  Kilowat and Dagon are pretty much the proto-90's characters, but still not terrible.

The art is nice.  Nothing really too terrible in its execution.  The designs are interesting for the most part.  Redwing's design conjures up reminders of the the Robin color scheme, but also seems to pay homage to former Titan Red Star's original green costume.  Mirage's costume is similar to a Wonder Girl design and Terra's look is just an altered form of the original Terra's Titan's costume.

Nightwing, however, is terrible.  He wears some totally 90's metal shoulder armor, has a ponytail (and not stylish either) and the mask wraps around too far.  The shield is actually kinda cool, but not very Nightwing-ish.  The gun is just plain NO.  He even shoots somebody stone cold dead.  Not my Dick Grayson, that's for sure.

Lord Chaos's design is enjoyable, even if he does come across a bit as DC's Greek Loki or something.  He's the kind of villain it would be interesting to read the extra stuff in order to see if he is fleshed out further.

It is interesting to note, this is the only tie-in with direct lasting consequences to the main DCU at the time.  These Team Titans were already introduced into the main New Titans series around this time and stayed around, mostly, until Zero Hour three years later.  Even then, Mirage and Terra remained in and out of stories for years to follow after that.

So, as Trentus Magnus asks, what do I think? Well, I think it's a nice alternate story, but it still misses the main Armageddon 2001 vibe.  It's nice to see what else is happening in the future, though.

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