It is all going away soon and I know that. All of this DCU is going away come September.
Some of it I will miss ... like Supergirl being in the Justice League.
Some of it I won't miss ... like a Titans book of super-villains, or Roy Harper wallowing in his own self-pity, acting the part of the 'lost soul' while trying to rediscover his heroism.
So what was I to do when Titans Annual #1 was released this week? Well, those who know me would realize that Supergirl in the JLA would trump just about anything. So I was in and bought the book. It didn't hurt that Cliff Richards was on art. I really liked his work on Huntress:Year One.
But that other stuff was still out there. And it dragged this issue down. I am simply not invested enough in Roy too much to care (although I think this happening to him is pretty low). Add to that the fact that Supergirl gets beaten up and defeated way too easily ... again ... and I ended up wondering if I should have passed. I mean it, I am sick of seeing Supergirl get trashed.
The book opens up on the border of Qurac and Khandaq where we see Osiris following in the foot steps of Black Adam, slaughtering Quraci troops as they prepare to invade. It strikes his sister Isis as wrong but there is no denying that he is reveling in his power. I have to say that given his uniform, there was a definite Kid Miracleman feel to him.
Meanwhile, the League are hunting down Deathstroke ... and consequently his Titans. But his Titans are Cheshire, Arsenal, and some plasma powered girl named Cinder. Hardly a team that could stand up to the power that this League brings. I mean, in all honesty Jade, Donna, or Supergirl should all be able to beat this team on their own. Right?
Even Deathstroke must realize it. He is carrying a small nuke on board as insurance. Someone tries to grab him, bye bye everything. Even Dick has to say with grudging respect that Deathstroke is a step ahead of them.
Except Deathstroke, at least in recent years, seems like someone who wouldn't want to kill himself for any reason. Maybe back in the earliest Titans tales when he simply wanted to retire and seemed to regret the whole Terra thing in the end, but not now.
Still, the League can't risk it and end up taking off.
But then the psychoanalysis of Harper starts up.
First Deathstroke tells him useless a man he is. He is only on this 'team' as a tool, a deterrent for hero interference.
Then, when they land in Khandaq to 'team up' with Osiris, Roy gets another dose. Cheshire wonders if the heroes see something in Harper that he no longer sees himself.
Finally we get to the bottom of Deathstroke's plans. He has enlisted Dr. Sivana to create a Methuselah device, a machine that heals. But one more component of the machine is still missing. He gets Isis to join the fight because he promises to use the machine to bring back Black Adam.
The Terminator has also added the Tattooed Man to the ranks of his team. The Tattooed Man seems reluctant to join, especially when he knows a fight with the JLA is on the horizon. He recalls that he fought with them at one point ... way back in Final Crisis. Nice continuity there. But in the end, he joins up.
Of course, the League is still on their mission to bring The Terminator to justice and so the mandatory brawl in Khandaq happens. Here is a nice 2 page spread.
But even with the added muscle of Osiris, this looks like a mismatch. First off, why would you send the Atom against Deathstroke when you have so many heavy hitters. And Donna against Cheshire? Is that even fair? Jade seems to be holding off Osiris. And Batman is tied up with Arsenal. And Supergirl, Starman, and Congorilla ... they are sort of there but not there.
Anyways, the battle somehow goes on all the time while Batman continues the psychological barrage against Roy. First Dick tries to convince Roy to come back to the light. Then, when Harper refuses, Dick turns on him. trying to beat a sense of hope and heroism into Roy.
Heck, I began to feel bad for Arsenal. Everyone has an opinion about him and none of them are good.
But then the anti-Supergirl nonsense took over. While most every other JLA member escapes this comic without a scratch, Supergirl gets taken down by three villains.
First Osiris dive bombs her, knocking her away from Dick and Roy.
Then, the Tattooed Man lassos her with his arm barbed wire and slaps her to the ground. Now don't ask me how magic 'ropes' would allow him to tug her out of the sky, or cause her face to bruise when she hits the ground ... but it does.
After seeing Kara get kicked around in the recent DCUO Legends book and now seeing this, I thought I had seen it all. I was wrong ...
We get this full page splash of Deathstroke filleting Supergirl with a Kryptonite sword, just like he was de-boning a fish.
I have to say I am sick of it. I am sick of seeing Supergirl get taken out by second rate villains. She is a Kryptonian, is somewhere in the top tier of DC most powerful characters ... and in the last 6 weeks we have seen Livewire, Killer Croc, Osiris, the Tattoed Man, and Deathstroke pound her. Would we ever see a similar run with Superman? Wonder Woman? Orion?
I have talked about editorial errors bothering me in DC's
I mean here Starman is clearly blasting Cinder. The dialogue says it. So why is she colored like Jade? And why would the colorist think Starman would ever be blasting Jade like this? It is irksome.
Anyways, in the end, Isis shows up to stop the fight fearing for her people. She even shouts down Osiris. While noble, she demands that both sides of the fight leave or face her wrath and have it considered a breach of international law.
And the League agrees to leave! They allow Deathstroke and his team to walk. That seemed too quick. The League wants justice and that isn't justice. And you would think that if Isis wants to put the bloody history of Khandaq behind her, that harboring a team of super-villains isn't a good place to start. Still, the whole interaction rekindles feelings of hope in Roy. Perhaps he gets some redemption before the DCnU comes into being.
But there is one last insult to Supergirl fans. The battle with the League was set up just so Deathstroke could take on Supergirl. Her blood, gathered on a piece of her tattered cape, is the last component in Methuselah machine, a machine which will be used to heal not Black Adam ... but Jericho.
Let that roll around a bit ... Deathstroke wanted to fight Supergirl because he knew he would win and get what he wanted and escape. I would say it was a foolish plan except it happened.
Anyways, even if I remove my Supergirl bias, I don't know if I would have enjoyed this book. I don't care for Roy enough (although I did end up feeling bad for him in the end). I don't think Deathstroke should be treated this powerfully. And this Titans team should have been crushed by the League.
But I do have a Supergirl bias and she gets treated pretty badly here.