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Phantasm

Alias: Danny Chase, Arella, the Souls of Azarath

Titans Member
Joined: 
New Titans #74 [1991]
Related Links: Danny ChaseArellaAzarath

Phantasm Quick Bio: Telekinetic teen Danny Chase secretly adopted a new identity as the mysterious Phantasm. During the final battle with the Wildebeests, the Souls of Azarath bonded with Arella and Danny Chase to become a true Phantasm. Cold and aloof, the formless telekinetic entity has aided the Titans when needed.

Teen Titans File Photo:

New Titans Group Photo:

Archived File Photos (in chronological order):

 

History


Chasing Ghosts

Telekinetic Danny Chase initially joined with the Titans to rescue his parents, who were government operatives. Because Danny had been trained as an espionage agent at a young age, he did not work well in groups. During his time as a Titan, Danny had a mutually insulting rapport with Changeling, who was often annoyed by Danny’s know-it-all attitude. Ever unorthodox, Danny also refused to adopt a costume or a code-name.

Despite his sometimes cool facade of a professional agent, Danny flipped out when he was injured by a villainously transformed Vicki Grant. As much as Danny yearned to act like the elder Titans, he was still a thirteen year old kid who was, in many ways, rather immature. After the death of Jason Todd, Nightwing decided that it would be best if young Danny left the group. Danny, of course, did not take the news well and stormed out in a huff.

Danny is fired in NEW TITANS #55 [1989].


Phantasmic Voyage

Tainted by the corrupted souls of Azarath, the Titans known as Jericho had taken control of the Wildebeest Society. Now possessed by this force, Jericho used the Wildebeest Society as a front to kidnap the super-powered Titans to act as hosts to the tainted Azarathian energies.

During the Wildebeests’ Titans Hunt, Nightwing, managed to defeat one Wildebeest warrior and take his place. The disguised Nightwing infiltrated the Wildebeest organization as it continued their hunt for Titans to kidnap. Nightwing and another Wildebeest were assigned to hunt down Danny Chase, who had been sent home to live with his parents in Washington, DC until he matured.

Nightwing and the other Wildebeest found Danny in a shopping mall and began their attack. Danny was blasted back by the Wildebeest. Fearing a further attack might actually kill the youngster, the disguised Nightwing informed the Wildebeest that Danny had actually been murdered, while supplying Danny with a small clue the bright teenager understood: that this Wildebeest was, in fact, Nightwing, and that he was to make it look like Danny had indeed died.


Danny Chase battles Wildebeest agents – and secretly
becomes the Phantasm – in NEW TITANS #73 [1991].

Reaching into the shopping mall with his telekinetic powers, Danny appropriated a hockey mask to cover his face, a bolt of fabric, and a robot-voice simulator to disguise his own voice. Using his powers, Danny “animated” these pieces of a costume to become the entity he called Phantasm. At times, Danny would float inside the costume, and at other times he would telekinetically control the pieces from a distance.

Nightwing was later captured by the Wildebeests and “Phantasm” joined a team led by Deathstroke to locate the kidnapped Titans. Uncertain if any of these strange new allies were disguised Wildebeest agents, Danny never revealed his true identity as he fought alongside them, hoping to free his former partners.

Arella and Danny Chase perish – but merge with the souls of Azarath to be
reborn as Phantasm – in NEW TITANS #84 [1992].

A True Phantasm

The final showdown between the Titans and the Wildebeest Society took place on the barren wasteland where the proud Temple Azarath once stood. In a final effort to end this threat forever, Raven’s mother Arella joined forces with the telekinetic Danny Chase to attack the Azarathian energy at its source. Their own energies combined with the force from Azarath and drove away the evil. In an explosion that saw the dissipation of one energy wave, the other energies somehow combined. This new force inhabited the garb once worn by Danny Chase and took on the identity of the new Phantasm.

Danny and Arella died that day, but their sacrifice was not in vain. Together, their essences merged with the cleansed souls of Azarath to create a benevolent entity known as Phantasm.  Cold and aloof, the formless telekinetic wraith appeared at crucial times – helping in all matters mystical, supernatural and emotional. In particular, Phantasm eased the Team Titans’ tumultuous transition as time-tossed adventurers trapped in the past.

ABOVE: Phantasm is reborn in NEW TITANS #84 [1992].
BELOW: Phantasm explains themselves to Nightwing in  NEW TITANS #85 [1992].

Later, the Titans came into conflict with Raven, who had been reborn as an evil avatar of Trigon. Raven plotted to continue her father’s fiendish legacy, infusing Trigon seeds in Supergirl, Changeling, Magenta, Deathwing, and Thunder and Lightning. Eventually, Raven and her corrupted allies came into conflict with the Titans. It was through the mystical guidance of Phantasm that the Titans were able to repel Raven and free the heroes from her demonic thrall.

Disappearing after this cataclysmic encounter, Phantasm’s current whereabouts are unknown.

Beware the Phantasm?

When untrained Teen Titan member Kid Devil found himself trapped in New Azarath, Zachary Zatara used his mystic might to locate his lost Titan teammate. The two heroes eventually found their way home, but mentioned they were “almost eaten by the Phantasm.” Who – or what – this new, deadly Phantasm is remains to be seen.

Powers & Abilities


Phantasm’s full powers are, not fully known. He is a telekinetic as well as an empath, but little else has been ascertained. Because Phantasm is now a combined entity of more than one thousand souls, he has a presence that is virtually beyond understanding.


Essential Reading


New Titans #73 [1991]: Deathstroke and Dayton locate Arella, whose ranch in Wyoming has been devastated by Wildebeest. A mysterious cat-creature [Pantha] lurks in the shadows, spying on Wildebeest agents; Danny Chase is seemingly killed by Wildebeest agents, and Phantasm emerges. First appearances of Phantasm & Pantha.
New Titans #74 [1991]: Nightwing is revealed to be working undercover as a Wildebeest agent. The Wildebeests discover experiment X-24 [Pantha] has escaped. Deathstroke, Dayton, Pantha, Phantasm and the Wildebeests scuffle. Phantasm invites Pantha to join the hunt against the Wildebeests. First full appearance of Pantha.
New Titans #82 [1991]: “The Jericho Gambit” part one. Jericho begins the transference procedure. Nightwing meets the original Wildebeest leader in a holding cell. In the cell, the Wildebeest tells Nightwing about how he created the Wildebeest, and how Joe Wilson appeared and immediately took over. Troia, Deathstroke, Red Star, Dayton, Pantha, Phantasm and Arella track down the Wildebeest headquarters and discover it in the Dimension Azarath.
New Titans #83 [1992]: “The Jericho Gambit” part two. Troia, Deathstroke, Red Star, Dayton, Pantha, Phantasm and Arella attack the Wildebeest headquarters and locate their team mates as the transference process begins. Phantasm is downed and a human hand emerges from the cloak. Jericho reveals that he is/are the Souls of Azarath, looking for mortal forms to host the Trigon-tainted souls. Jericho pleads with his father to end the madness, forcing Deathstroke to drive a sword through his son, killing him.
New Titans #84 [1992]: “The Jericho Gambit” part three. Danny Chase is revealed as Phantasm, having used a sheet, hockey mask and voice box to masquerade as the mysterious Phantasm. Danny and Arella try and contain a demonic, red-skinned Raven. Arella, channeling the spirit Azar, joins with Danny and vanquishes Raven. Their own energies combined with the force from Azarath drive away the evil of Trigon’s lingering influence. This new force inhabits the garb once worn by Danny Chase and takes on the identity of the new Phantasm. The remaining Titans defeat the remains of the Wildebeest Society and escape the collapsing Dimension Azarath. Final part of the Titans Hunt storyline. Death of Jericho. Danny Chase and Arella die, merge with souls of Azarath and become Phantasm. Raven seemingly dies.
New Titans #93 [1993]: Raven seemingly destroys Phantasm in Azarath.
New Titans #97 [1993]: Raven gloats over Phantasm’s empty sheet and mask after seemingly destroying him.
New Titans #101 [1993]: Phantasm reappears with no explanation, having survived Raven’s attack.
Team Titans #6 [1993]: The Team Titans celebrate the holidays, by going in search of their pasts, here In the present. Redwing discovers that the Levines had twin girls, instead of boy/girl twins (Carrie and Jon Levine). Kilowatt finds the counterparts to the aunt and uncle that raised him – but discovered they were African American; It seemed unlikely he existed in this timeline at all. Dagon prevents his younger self from experiencing the accident he did as a child. Battalion tracks down his future-wife, Essie, only to find she is engaged to another man. Phantasm eases Terra’s and Mirage’s pains. Both Titans teams unite for a holiday gathering.
New Titans #118-121 [1995]: Following the Titans’ battle with Psimon, Raven, now reborn as an avatar of Trigon, gathers together a new Brotherhood of Evil for a final showdown with her former teammates. Meanwhile, Damage, Impulse and Terra face an even greater threat – New York City! And Damage takes a leave of absence from the team. Meanwhile, Raven is intent on planting the seeds of Trigon’s unborn children into new vessels. She plants ‘Trigon seeds’ in Supergirl, Changeling, Magenta, Deathwing, and Thunder and Lightning. Eventually, Raven and her demon allies come into conflict with the Titans. With the help of Phantasm (who reforms himself, sensing he is needed), the Titans – with the help of Minion – finally destroy this evil incarnation of Raven (or so they think). Mirage seemingly has a miscarriage in issue #121.
Teen Titans (third series) #39 [2006]: Kid Devil mentions he was lost in New Azarath for two weeks during the Titans “missing year”. He was rescued with the help of Zatara, although the two teens were almost eaten by the Phantasm. This event is only related in dialogue. The new Phantasm remains to be seen!

 

Phantasm, as depicted in VS System Card Art.

 Phantasm and Titans Hunt


Titans Hunt

Longtime Titans readers can agree on one thing: “Titans Hunt” was one of the most controversial storylines in the team’s collective history. But many fans still debate the merits of the story itself. Its detractors decry it as a series of cheap stunts, while its supporters applaud the bold changes that reignited the title.

It began with New Titans #71 [1990], in which the Titans were hunted and captured by the Wildebeest Society on the eve of the team’s anniversary celebration. In that same issue’s letter column, editor Jonathan Peterson hinted at the changes in store: “You see, what we all agreed on was the fact that the Titans as a group had become too settled in. Things were far too quiet. So we gleefully decided that it was time to, well how can I say it, “shake things up.” And I mean A LOT. Over the course of the next few months things are not going to be what you expect. I can guarantee it. Over the course of the next few months the Titans Universe will change in ways you never thought we’d dare to change it. You’ll see an entire new evolution in the characters themselves and in the debut of a new team. That’s right–I said a new team. It’s been ten years since the Titans debuted and to celebrate that fact we thought it was time to introduce some all-new team members. Where does that leave us? Well, in the months ahead some Titans will stay…some will go…some will die…some will get marr–oopsl Don’t want to spoil all the surprises.”

And the changes were many. Deathstroke and Steve Dayton galvanized a group of allies to rescue them, revealing Jericho as the mysterious Wildebeest leader. Possessed by evil Azarathian energies, Jericho was slain by his own father in the storyline’s epic finale in New Titans #84.  Along the way, some Titans died (Golden Eagle, Danny Chase and Jericho), new Titans joined (Red Star, Pantha, Phantasm, Baby Wildebeest and the time-tossed Team Titans), several Titans were transformed (leather-clad Raven and robotic Cyborg) and an iconic headquarters was destroyed (Titans Tower).

“One of the problems the Titans have had for many years was playing to the status quo,” recalled writer Marv Wolfman, “We weren’t doing anything. I was bored with it. And so were the readers – we just weren’t pushing.” New editor Jonathan Peterson was instrumental in pushing for changes. When Peterson took over the book, Wolfman says artist Tom Grummett, inker Al Vey and outgoing editor Mike Carlin got together for three days to come up with the current storyline that has them all excited again.

The original Titans Hunt ran from New Titans #71-84, but its reverberations continued up until New Titans #100.

All those New Titans! From DC WHO’S WHO in 1993.

An excerpt from “Jonathan Peterson: New Directions For The New Titans”
[originally published in The Titans Companion, 2005]

TTC: Then there was Phantasm.

JP: With Phantasm, I remember we experimented with a few different things. In terms of breaking up the group, we wanted to try new things, so Pantha was the sarcastic and bitter one, the anti-Titan. Phantasm gave us this ethereal and ghostly feel. Raven started as that, but then she changed.

TTC: She started as this dark daughter of a demon, but she now wore white and was dealing with emotions.

JP: Yep. I wanted a Titan to represent the Dr. Strange or Dr. Fate type of genre. We knew we wanted someone like that. I wanted a character to represent something mystical.

TTC: Phantasm started as Danny Chase…

JP: Yeah. The idea there was to kill two birds with one stone. I think the original idea behind Danny Chase was this sort of Jonny Quest character, but we decided he either has to die or become cool.

TTC: It also seemed Phantasm was Marv’s sneaky way of getting people to think Danny Chase was cool, without them realizing it was Danny behind the sheet.

JP: That was part of the idea. He had to be tolerable or just get killed off. We sort of did both, and that was also part of the master plan. We knew Raven was going to return as a villain, that she would go dark. We planned on doing that with her for about a year, or a year and a half. Rather than the pseudo-redemption thing yet again, we wanted to make her a core villain. We knew when we killed her off in “Titans Hunt” that she would return at Nightwing and Starfire’s wedding.

Danny’s transformation into Phantasm is explained in NEW TITANS #85 [1992].

 


 


Sources for this entry: DC Who’s Who Binder Series supplemented by titanstower.com


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