Monday, September 19, 2016

Titans/LSH "Universe Ablaze!" #1

Titans/Legion of Super-Heroes: Universe Ablaze! #1 
title: no specific title
writer/layouts: Dan Jurgens
finished art: Phil Jimenez
letterer: Comicraft
colorist: Tom McCraw
separator: Heroic Age
logo design: SJI Associates
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Dan Jurgens & Phil Jimenez, color separation by Richard & Tina Horie
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  

The Titans: 

Brother Blood, an unnamed "man in the shadows"

On Titan, in 2999, Brother Blood is controlling the inhabitants, ordering them to deify him. One older Titan man rebels, so Brother Blood orders the others to kill him.

On the Legion Outpost, in orbit above Earth, Saturn Girl wakes up from a nightmare. She decides to check in on the Legionnaire on monitor duty: Gates, because he has a different sleep cycle, is on night monitor duty again. Saturn Girl (and we) learn that all is quiet except for four Legionnaires on Earth.
On Earth, the Legion has been called in because the Egyptian government detected sensor beams scanning the pyramids; they were afraid of a possible robbery. Sure enough, thieves appear and get into an undiscovered chamber before Chameleon, Invisible Kid, Leviathan, and XS stop them. When Leviathan touches the relic that the thieves were after, another hidden chamber opens. The Legionnaires investigate and find a bio-lab from the 20th Century. XS activates the machinery, and seven Titans awaken from their cryogenic sleep. The Titans are confused, but the Flash (Wally West) knows XS, who is his uncle's grand-daughter. She vouches for him, and therefore the rest of the Titans. However, the Titans do not remember why or how they came to be put in suspended animation. The Legionnaires decide to take them to the Legion Outpost.
On Titan, Brother Blood is upset when his men do not return from Egypt. His ally in the shadows tells him to remain calm, and to also curb his over-confidence.
On the Legion Outpost, Cosmic Boy meets the Titans, who are given a clean bill of health from Dr. Gym'll. Arsenal tries to make a move on Triad, but hits on them individually, not knowing she is three people, so ends up getting slapped. Meanwhile, Cosmic Boy explains to Argent about the Legion. He then introduces their guests to the entire membership. The Titans are happy to meet them, but anxious to return to their era. Brainiac 5.1 and Quantum Kid try to explain that returning to the Titans' "present" is impossible.
They table this argument so that Saturn Girl can try to clear up the Titans' amnesia. She starts with Lilith/Omen, who is the most "receptive." Together the two women flash-back 1,000 years to when Brother Blood and his army were fighting the Titans. Brother Blood doesn't want to kill them, because he wants their blood in order to gain their super-powers. Jesse Quick is blasted and Cyborg is destroyed before Arsenal manages to disarm Brother Blood of his power-staff. Still, Damage is blasted just as Nightwing is about to grab Blood's staff. He is distracted by something, and is killed.
Nightwing's death knocks Lilith "out" of her memory, so Saturn Girl turns to the Flash next. Togehter they "see" a huge explosion, which knocked most of them unconscious. Lilith then continues the narrative, as she was only half-conscious. The army of Brother Blood carried the remaining Titans inside the pyramid and place them in cryogenic tubes. She clearly remembers that their team-mates are dead.
The Flash insists on going back, but XS, Troia, and Invisible Kid convince him to let it go for now. The Titans go to their guest quarters to rest.

Later, the Titans knock out Spark and steal a cruiser. They go to Australia and take over the Cockrum Installation for Universal Communication, destroying the world-wide communication network so that Earth will not know be able to communicate off-world. Specifically, an arriving space cruiser lands without any Science Police or organization knowing that it was approaching. The Titans are thrilled to be fighting to free Earth of evil, especially at the side of their savior. As the mysterious man in shadows deplanes, the Titans bow down to....Universo!

This is a beautiful story. As one of those fans who always wanted to see the Teen Titans meet the Legion of Super-Heroes, this mini-series is a dream come true. However....!

I am not a big fan of convoluted time travel stories like this. Are we to believe that Brother Blood has been alive for 1,000 years, and never got around to "milking" the Titans for their blood? Also, it seems like a huge mistake to not have Nightwing front and center in this team-up. Of course, reading that he and Jesse Quick, Cyborg, and Damage are "dead" tips me off that this adventure is going to end up being an Elseworld or some type of "imaginary" story. Which is a shame, because like I said, I *am* one of those people who really, really wanted this story to work.

As a group, the Titans don't get to do much this issue except "react" to their situation. But now that they are under control of Universo, we'll have some Titans Clashing next time for sure...!

I do love the page dedicated to the "small talk" of the two groups meeting. Does everybody notice that Garth talks to Garth in that first panel? Awesome!
This version of the Legion is the one that I know the least about, as I was in Japan during their run and haven't read most of their comics.  However, except for the "newbies" (Gates, Kinetix, Kid Quantum, Monstress, Sensor) everybody seems to be the same, except with a few new code-names. The full-page Roll Call (reprinted here) helped me keep everybody's names straight. Gates does teleportation, Kinetix is a Legion-based "Firestorm," Monstress is a female Blok, and Kid Quantum....not sure what "projects stasis fields" means, to tell you the truth. Hopefully I'll learn more about her in the next few issues. And is Sensor the "new" Sensor Girl/Princess Projectra? That seems weird. Nice to have aliens in the Legion, but I do miss Tellus. 

Science Police Notes:  
  • This story takes place before the events in Legionnaires #81 and Legion of Super-Heroes #125, before the events leading up to Legion Lost (v1) #1 (2001). Likewise, in Titans continuity this story takes place before Titans #20, wherein Cyborg leaves the team.  
These issues have not yet been compiled into a Trade Paperback. Why not!?!

With this mini-series, a long-time dream of Teen Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes fans comes true: DC Comics' two "teen" groups finally meet.

1 comment:

  1. Jurgens is a good choice to write this, given his familiarity with both groups, and if you can't get George Perez to draw it, then his "son" Phil Jiminez is the next best thing.