The past, present and future all collide in THE TITANS “Total Chaos” story-arc from the 90s that continues to chronicle the enigmatic story of Donna Troy by Marv Wolfman.
During the 90s, the looks of some of our favorite heroes took the wildest turns following some of the more horrifying fashion trends including mullets as ladies bosoms became more profound. It wasn’t only the plunging necklines and enhanced codpieces of the significantly more muscular and heavily pocketed utility belts along with bomber jackets that permeated the pages of popular titles, there was also an “end of days” theme around some of the most obscure story arcs that often featured a James Cameron “Terminator-esque” theme as the future threatened to catch up with the present.
In 1992 legendary scribe Marv Wolfman continued an extraordinary run writing The Titans the all-grown-up iteration of the The New Teen Titans characters that he’d revamp with is long-time co-conspirator George Pérez. Though the artist had moved on from collaborating on the title that had made them a household name, the pair crafted many of the most defining moments in the long and illustrious history of second-generation of superheroes. Among those blockbuster moments came the celebratory issue when the team finally dropped the “Teen” in their title and became The Titans. The moment was marked with the landmark “Who is Donna Troy” storyline in Issue #50.
After the events depicted in the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths also written by the pair, among the many dangling participles was the origin of longtime Teen Titan, Donna Troy, Wonder Girl — who couldn’t have ever been the protege of Wonder Woman given the Amazing Amazon’s revamped continuity in contemporary DC Comics mythology. The pair went back to the drawing board and found a proper way to revitalize Donna Troy, turning her instead into an orphan rescued by the Titans of Myth. Her power set was slightly altered and her look was given a major rebrand; she also became now known as the formidable Troia.
The Titans’ roster would continue to evolve and their origins further put under the microscope. Even their team leader, Dick Grayson turned Nightwing would have his early career further developed, in a “year one” tale that would also introduce the world to the latest sidekick to the Caped Crusader, Tim Drake, continuing the legacy of the Boy Wonder, stepping into the famous suit. Founding members would come and go, and new heroes would join the line-up including the peculiar Pantha and the enigma known as Phantasm. Donna Troy would take a major leave of absence when she becomes pregnant with her and her husband Terry Long’s first baby.
But not everything is as perfectly pristine as might have been expected; this was after all the 90s and the era of the anti-hero. Deathstroke the Terminator had also been launched into his own ongoing series at the time, and the inevitable crossover event with his former arch enemies, The Titans, was also marked with the intro of the next generation of heroes — The Team Titans! This makeshift collection of 21st century super rebels are on a mission from the not-too-far off future to stop the ascension to power of the godlike Lord Chaos — Donna Troy’s son!
The Titans now find themselves in a middle of a contentions situation between their heirs apparent from the future, the assassin caught in the middle and the interloper come to destroy them all and insure his own survival, no matter what the cost! TITANS: Total Chaos collects in one volume the entire crossover event from the 90s Deathstroke, The Terminator #14-16, The New Titans #90-92 and the premiere launch of Team Titans #1-3. featuring a crucial development in the historic chronicles of Donna Troy, a story that could have considerable implications in current history.
Who Is Donna Troy?
Perhaps the biggest take-away from the Titans: Total Chaos collected volume is again how significant a role Donna Troy plays in the fate of the world. Given the circumstances, it’s a matter of life and death that hangs in the balance. The Team Titans travel back in time to prevent the birth of the corrupt Lord Chaos who turns out to be then unborn son of Donna Troy and her husband Terry Long. The pair were married in the historic 50th Issue Anniversary of Tales of the Teen Titans and could hardly have imagined that their own son would become a futuristic despot!
Donna gives birth to her son, who is then abducted by Lord Chaos. The villain then attempts to murder Troy by scattering her into space, an image that is seen from just behind the moon, but if Donna has proven anything it’s her resilience. By the end of the story, Lord Chaos is defeated, the Team Titans are displaced in time and remain in our contemporary time, and Donna Troy is reunited with her husband and their son is safe and sound. Donna appears to have lost all of her superpowers, but we all know that she eventually returns to her heroics.
Although not one of Wolfman’s greatest arcs Total Chaos falls victim to its timeliness and feels somewhat dated, especially when compared to other classic narratives from the canon of stories that Wolfman and Pérez collaborated on during their stint on The New Teen Titans. Many of the stories the pari worked out have stood the test of time and are often retread into current continuity or serialized. An example of such a feat was the recent crossover arc “The Lazarus Effect” that brought the Titans, old and new back into the crosshairs of their foe Deathstroke.
TITANS: Total Chaos written by Marv Wolfman and featuring art from Tom Grummett, Kevin Maguire and Art Nichols is collected in a paperback volume on shelves now from DC Comics.