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Donna Troy [on the Bogeyman's hateful apparitions]: I guess you could have thrown in Hyperion or Brainiac 8 killing me. Maybe Dark Angel. You could have. Wouldn’t have mattered. In reality I saw Roy lying there maimed. I saw my husband and baby come back as murderous undead Black Lanterns. Hell, I broke my own son’s neck! Not a dream, not an imaginary story. It was real and I saw it! I did it!
Batman: Now let’s go fight some crime.
Synopsis "The Bogeyman"
The JLA relaxes after their recent team-up with the Justice Society. Supergirl and Batman get something to eat after arriving back at the Bat Bunker with a giant trophy saxophone they took from a villain called the Murder Maestro. Later they return to Gotham City as Batman suspects that the Maestro may have been part of a larger scheme. Elsewhere Congo Bill swings through New York’s Central Park, Jesse Quick reconnects with her husband, and Mikal drowns his sorrows at a bar in Opal.
Donna Troy and Jade confer with the Warden of Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco over the status of the Shadow Thief. The Thief is nearly catatonic and keeps muttering the phrase “Soon he comes”. The Warden says that another prisoner has asked to speak to Donna. He’s the Bogeyman, a creepy villain Donna fought when she was with the Teen Titans, but their meeting appears pointless. Jade and Donna leave the prison and meet the Teen Titans as they cross the Bay. Teen Titans from multiple eras appear and attack Donna. She quickly realises that she is in a dream created by the Bogeyman. He is attempting to feed on her terror, but Donna is stronger than he realises.
Jade has been separated from Donna and is confronted by phantoms of her adopted parents, her biological father Alan Scott, her dead team-mates from Infinite Inc, and ex-boyfriends who all berate her for her heartlessness. Jade collapses in guilt as a version of herself dressed like a Black Lantern appears and tells her that she’ll never change, never become a better person. Donna punches through from her own dream world into Jade’s dream and jars her from the Bogeyman’s malaise. Jade’s magical powers incinerates the Bogeyman’s psychic body knocking him unconscious in the real world. They then all wake up having never left the outside of the Bogeyman’s cell. As the women fly back to San Francisco for real Donna brings up the idea of them moving there and setting up a photography studio.
The Bogeyman (real name unrevealed) is a psychic vampire, Donna Troy described his abilities as “He can find that one moment, one event in that child’s memory — a bad memory, and feed off the emotions its evokes.” He took a particular delight in feeding off the terror of young women and girls. He attacked the Teen Titans early in the careers and would had defeated them it hadn’t been for the strength of Donna Troy. Like many early villains the Bogeyman was considered relatively harmless, but he attacked an orphanage and three children committed suicide because of the nightmares he induced. He was captured, convicted, and was eventually transferred to the reopened Alcatraz prison.
This issue is really about Jade, Donna, and Supergirl and is one of those great old-fashioned post-crossover wrap issues. Donna Troy and Jade visit the Bogeyman and we once again get it shown to us just how messed up Jade is. Last issue she was saved by the White Lantern and Kyle Rayner and only won out because the Batman told her what to do. This time it’s Donna who pulls her fat out of the fire. You can understand why Kyle Rayner stayed in space – this superhero is seriously high maintenance. This JLA is composed of nice guys and gals so I don’t know how Jade would fair if she had to cut it with a group that included the more grumpy heroes (Hawkman, Aquaman, Green Arrow, etc).
Donna has always been a sort of limbo character. She was created as Wonder Woman’s sidekick in the Teen Titans comic, but never seems to really settle into the WW franchise. The tension between her Titans of Myth background in Teen Titans and attempts to pull her closer to the core WW mythology have left her even more undefined that she was originally. James Robinson is trying to inject a stronger, more identifiable sense of character into Donna. Ralph @ Superman Homepage summarises her current personality as
Donna is very determined and strong-willed. Mentally, she may be the toughest member of the team.
However, this version isn’t to everybody’s liking. Donna does comes across as more confident than Jade, but there has been a definite hardening of her character recently – not entirely unexpected considering the grief that she’s been put through. However, her hard life has spilled well over the line into cliché and as Read/Rant points out that:
Of course Donna’s dead baby is going to show up. You can’t do a Donna Troy story without dead baby these days.
Even more considered opinions like Doug @ CBR take issue with the way that hardening is handled. He observes “I can’t recall her [Donna] ever being as foul-mouthed and angry as she is in this issue. ” Personally I like it that Donna’s character is being developed, but I’m still waiting for the “dead baby” and hard life clichés to fall away.
Despite the focus on Jade and Donna I most liked the brief scenes we had with Batman and Supergirl. Robinson shows that Supergirl is still hurting from the loss of her mother during the 100 Minute War. Supergirl Comic Box Commentary comments that:
Even though Supergirl is acting bright and happy, calling the two of them the new World’s Finest, Dick recognizes that inside she is lonely. Her exterior is a front. In a classy move, even though the adventure is over and they could part, Dick invites her in for a sandwich and Kara happily agrees. I thought it was great on his part to recognize what is going on in Supergirl’s life. And best of all there wasn’t a drop of sexual overtones here. It really felt like a familial relationship.
It’s great that this is being followed up. James Robinson co-wrote those events in the Superman franchise so he’s aware of what he put those characters through.
The single greatest panel of the week:
However, the art was all over the place this issue. Mostly the mix of two pencillers and NINE inkers works okay on each page, but there are moments where it comes unstuck. The most obvious one if the moment where Donna traverses from her dream world to Jade’s world while carrying the Bogeyman disguised as Wonder Girl. However, the version of Wonder Girl the Bogeyman is disguises as changes between art teams – he’s dressed as Donna on the first page and then Cassie on the second page.
Overall it was an okay issue, not amazing, the art could have been more consistent and the Bogeyman wasn’t that interesting. However, he was only ever a plot device to expose Jade and Donna psyches so nothing lost there.
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Page 2-3 – This is the Bat Bunker, the urban batcave built into the under basement of the Wayne Foundation building in Gotham City. Dick Grayson moved himself, Daiman, and Alfred into the city centre location after Bruce Wayne disappeared. It is the same Bunker that Bruce Wayne used during the 1970s. The original Batcave beneath Wayne Manor was being used by Barbara Gordon whilst she oversaw Batgirl (Stephanie Brown), but she has since moved to her own city centre location. I’m not sure if it’s a connection, but “Murder, Maestro, Please” is the name of a book by Delano Ames, part of his Jane and Dagobert Brown mystery series.
Page 4 – Starman’s lament is for Tony, his lover who was killed as part of Prometheus’s schemes in Justice League: Cry For Justice.
Page 5 – Donna moved to Miami in Titans #20 (Feb 2010). She was living in the Titans compound in New York until a photography agency asked her to cover the opening of a new resort hotel in Miami. Of course there was the prerequisite super-villains gate crashers, but Donna did managed to exchange telephone numbers with an attractive bartender called Tom.
She moved to Miami at the end of that issue with the intention of restarting her personal life. However, her comments in this JLA story imply that it didn’t work out as she hoped it would. Her pulling Jade out of the Hall of Justice accommodation parallels her own journey since coming back to life – Donna’s move to Miami was also an attempt to move out of the Titans headquarters.
Page 6-7 – Donna Troy and Jade descending on Alcatraz is a reprise of a scene in Justice Society of America #41 when Mister America and Lightning visited the Rock to check on the Shadow Thief. The Thief had appeared as Starbreaker’s lieutenant in Dwayne McDuffie’s last story arc. The JSA/JLA were checking up on him because his shadow powers made him vulnerable to the Starheart’s effects. At the time Mister America noted he was in a “fetal ball babbling nonsense.” However he and Lightning were more concerned by a prison guard called Larry Burke who had suddenly manifested magnetic superpowers.
Page 8 – The Bogeyman is presented as an “old” obscure villain. The “real” bogeyman is a mythical archetype which appears in almost every culture under a myriad of names and identities. It is the fictional figure which parents invoke to made their children behave – “If you don’t go to sleep the bogeyman will get you.”
Page 9 - In the flashback the Teen Titans are depicted as Aqualad, Kid Flash, Robin and Wonder Girl – no Speedy. Which could place this flashback as happening between Donna joining (Brave and the Bold #60 , June-July 1965) and Speedy joining (Teen Titans v1 #19, Jan-Feb 1968). The Mad Mod was a Titans foe who was devoted to pop-culture. During the 1960s the British music scene was dominated by Mods (who rode motor-scooters) and Rockers (who rode motorbikes). Small Faces were a mod band who released a song called “Itchycoo Park” in 1967/68. I’m assuming that this is the song the Mod and Donna are talking about with the “Ichicoo Park” line.
Page 14-15 – A montage of those people whose hearts have been broken by Jade. The third panel shows Julian and Myma Hayden the couple who adopted Jade and panel 5 shows Alan Scott her biological father. Scott has been married twice, both times to former enemies. His first wife had a split personality as the original Rose and Thorn. She married Alan, but faked her death on the wedding night and vanished. She was pregnant with twins (Jade and Obsidian) at the time and gave them up for adoption. They were adopted by separate families with Jade being raised as Jennifer Lynn-Hayden by the Haydens. She manifested green superpowers as a teenager and became convinced that she was the daughter of the original Green Lantern. She fought to prove that and along the way found her twin brother Obsidian.
Alan Scott and Kyle Rayner mention issues that were raised during “The Dark Things” crossover. She’s a nice enough person, but comes across as high-maintenance.
Jade and Obsidian weren’t the only descendants of JSA members and a group of them came together as the superhero team Infinity Inc. Show in panels 7 and 8 are Fury II, Northwind, and Skyman. Fury was Lyta Hall, the mother of Daniel – the current incarnation of Dream of the Endless. The man with spiky hair is Northwing although since his time with Infinity Inc he’s been redesigned to look like the Kingdom Come Hawkman.
One Infinity Inc plotline revolved around Jade befriending Solomon Grundy after Infinity Inc rescued him. He followed her around like a pet dog and actually worked with the team for a while. Unfortnately another supervillain impersonated Jade and tricked Grundy into attacking her teammates. Grundy killed Skyman (the original Star Spangled Kid) by using Mister Bones poisonous touch.
Page 17 - The Teen Titans shown here are the Titans Donna’s era and the current group. The Roy Harper from her era is shown missing an arm, something that wouldn’t happen until recently.
Page 22-23 – Donna references Hyperion, Brainiac 8, and Dark Angel. Brainiac 8 was an incarnation of Brainiac from the future which came back in time. It wiped the floor with the Young Justice and Titans before they shut it down. They didn’t realise what it was and brought it back online as Indigo who joined the Outsiders until her memory returned.
Donna was killed in the first encounter with Brainiac 8/Indigo. Her spirit was resurrected by the Hyperion and the other Titans of Myth (the parents of the Greek Gods). They wanted Donna to guide them to safety so that they could avoid the devastation of the Infinite Crisis. However, Donna threw off their brainwashing and banished them.
Dark Angel was a version of Donna Troy from the original Multiverse. She was recruited by the Anti-Monitor to he his answer to Harbinger, but she rebelled and escaped. Dark Angel has tried to replace Donna several times and was responsible for the deaths of her ex-husband Terry Long and their son Robert.
Terry and Robert were reanimated as Black Lantern in Blackest Night: Titans. The undead baby Robert was probably the sickest thing in the entire crossover.
Page 24-25 - There is a possible art gaff here. The Bogeyman has hidden in the body of Donna’s younger doppelganger, the original Wonder Girl. This is shown in Page 24, but on the following page he is shown as hiding in the body of the current Wonder Girl (Cassie).
Page 26-27 – Jade describes events that happened last issue.