Wednesday, May 29, 2013

VIRGIN TERRITORY: The First Time I Read The Teen Titans - The New Teen Titans #37

Go Wally, go! There is a standing joke here that if everyone does it one way, Dan will do it the other. I think that was first proved with The New Teen Titans #37. Every Brother Blood member and his dog was reading artist George Perez and writer Marv Wolfman's revamp of The Teen Titans by this point, and while this crossover was a natural team-up of two parties each led by one half of the Dynamic Duo, it was also an obvious push to get this titanic audience aware of the newish title Batman and The Outsiders

A fan of freaky looking teams, for 'outsider' me, it was vica versa.

Instantly proving the Titans' status of 'cool' were George's detailed pencils, in one of the most action-packed covers I'd ever seen - and that title still stands! Half of the crossover's inter-connecting cover spread, as I dove into the opening pages of The Fearsome Five's prison bust, I kept flicking back to check out it's brilliance. Black Lightning and Metamorpho looked fantastic, while Robin and some 'cyborg' gave it their all. 

With Shimmer and Mammoth, Wolfman showed what a dangerous yet loyal sibling act lie at the heart of The Fearsome Five. The first of three sets of relatives at the core of this issue, these two Australians would witness a quick leadership struggle between a pre-Identity Crisis Dr Light and the winner, Psimon, before setting out to kidnap Dr Jace, a specialist renowned for gifting people with special abilities.

Also alerted to Jace's location, Terra rushes to track the doc from her past, with her teammates, The New Teen Titans in tow. Hotheaded, she fires off at the first suspects she sees, The Outsiders. Making for a pretty cool, yet somewhat obligatory team super-hero showdown!

Grand while it lasts, the fight ceases as folks recognise the arrival of Wonder Girl's unbeaten red and yellow starred outfit. The Titans/ Outsiders alliance is then backed by the arrival of Geo-Force, Terra's brother and the Outsider who proves Marvel's Northstar and Aurora aren't the only super-powered siblings who dress alike.

Sure that's all mushy and good, but as both heroic teams realise their leaders should be in on the game, the two other 'relatives' at the heart of this tale step forward. Bruce Wayne is stunned as my original addiction to DC, Dick Grayson, births the phrase 'WTF' right here...

Robin was thinking of walking away from being 'The Dynamic Duo'?! This was my first sign that DC was finally letting Grayson step to the side and cast his own shadow. About damn time.

In fact the only ones who come close to overshadowing him in this romp are the feisty Katana and the empathic Raven. Yet even their combined powers can't help the teams arrive in time to stop Dr Jace from unwillingly transforming hundreds of unknowing victims into an army of awesome looking yet deadly mud-men.

As the battle of the closing pages proves brutally short, the outcome literally left me sitting numb on the edge of the couch. If I had had a sibling like Geo-Force, I would have wanted him to work at DC just so I could phone for the answer to the issue's conclusion.. but alas I had to wait for Batman and the Outsiders #5. Boy, did I wait.

 What was your first Teen Titans comic? 


  1. I got some of the Teen Titans comic back in the 70s, when it had a short run. These days I have both Teen Titans Ommnibus's , both volumes I haven't got round to reading yet! For the price of them I really should!
    As for the comic itself when it first came out I only got it for the Donna Troy connection. Being a major Wonder Woman fan it intrigued me when the Titans made a guest appearance in her book in the early 80s, as a 'pilot' of sorts for their upcoming comic.
    I only got the first fifteen issues and gave up, to concentrate on my beloved FF and LSH and WW [such were the vagaries of being a teenager and limited pocket money]. My final exposure to them in the 80s was the X-Men/Titans one-off.
    But I collected the Terra Mosaic tpb and of course the Who IS Donna Troy tpb later on, and all the issues of the early 2000 run Titans.
    The book was curious on a number of points; its direct teen 'angst' storylines, which were very current to most teens at the time. I did find some of it hard-going at times tho, as I [vaguely] recall one issue where Kid Flash went off on some kind of political polemic to a villain over a Russian invasion or somesuch [as I said, I haven't read it in years, and must start opening those Ommnibus's asap!] which I thought was a bit heavy-handed for a comic.

  2. Teen Titans was always MY comic. Sure, I loved the X-Men, New Mutants, Fantastic Four, and Legion. I also went absolutely insane for Sandman and other Vertigo titles. But Titans was and is the only title I have stuck with through everything. They weren't just a team. They were a family. These kids had literally grown up together. The sidekicks. The afterthoughts. They had an outlook on life in the superheroing community no one else did, or could understand. And of all the other teams they were the ones that you really felt were tied together because of it.
    Angst aside (although I loved me some good angst) the good beat downs these guys gave and got were epic. And I don't mean that lightly. Trigon weren't no joke.
    And Dan, I loved those covers where one team was on one side and the other was facing off. So cool.

  3. Wow guys - thanks for the awesome comments! See what a reaction the titans stirs in fans? And now in the new 52, Wally and Donna seem two of the biggest victims.

    @Karl Personally I stayed away from the older Teen Titan books because the line-up was too 'miniature Justice League'. Despite that book having some of the best comic covers ever, The New Teen Titans wasn't just Batman, Aquaman, Green Arrow, Flash and Wonder Woman Jnr - which is great for marketing but a bit yawn for reading - but had heroes you could learn about too, like Starfire, Raven and Cyborg.

    Donna Troy is and will always be an instant smash with me (especially by Phil Jiminez) as the next issue after was the incredible, yet since highly shat over Who Is Donna Troy. The issue also cemented with me that Dick and Donna were the Logan and Storm of the Titans. The friends at the heart of it all.

    For me my favourite part of the Titans was these relationships which seemed to have more natural grounding to them then others - like Random says. Cyborg and Gar naturally clicked together as buddies and yet they were in many ways worlds apart. The fact the New Teen Titans may never have existed like it did in the DC 52 is such a kick in the balls to the DC Universe. This title was DC's bread winner for so long. To be given a backhand because some deem it 'stuck' is just a worse excuse for creativity as the dog ate my Grant Morrison.

  4. You are so right about Donna and Dick being the Logan and Storm of the DCU. I'd never thought of it that way. Remember back, though, to when she asked him to give her away at her wedding? I know the marriage didn't last, even before Terry and her son died, but all that build up and the wedding itself were to me the best wedding ever in any comic. EVER. Did I say ever? Probably because I loved the characters. I cried. Really cried. At multiple parts. At Gar breaking himself to make it perfect. At Dick having that heart to heart with Bruce about why he adopted Jason and not him. At Cyborg asking Sarah to be his date. At the Who Is Donna Troy issue that led into the wedding issue and Donna's two little "sisters" being in the wedding.
    Okay. Gonna have to go back and read 'em again.
    Probably not something I'll say about the new 52 anytime soon.

  5. I wanted my wedding to be like Donna's. on a bandstand in front of everybody, and although it wasn't in a bandstand, there was still a lot of inspiration from there.
    There are those marks in our life that stay with us, and Donna's wedding was such for me. Every thing was perfect.
    And I love(d) the angst. Then and now. I'm a sucker for a angsty story. Donna was like a sister to me, and bravely ignoring the green color, I wanted to date Gar when I was twelve. My first Titans commics were during the Judas contract, and I wanted to confort poor jilted Gar :)
    Only character I ner warmed to until the 2000's was Raven. I guess it wasthe costume, with that dress and heels. It was not all that teen and I couldn't relate with her at all.
    Only book with that kind of strengt right now (IMO) is Green Lantern Corps. I miss my 80's titans.

  6. Thanks ladies, for all the wedding comments. Just shows how one event in the classic Titans run could have such an impact on two different sides of the globe!

    @Random I read the launch issue of the new Titans book, their crosover with Legion Lost and their appearance in Dan's run on Firestorm, but it just doesn't feel like the Titans to me, so that's three strikes and I'm out as far as that book is concerned.

    @Aliera Interesting you say that Aliera as Raven was one of my favourite parts. Having grown up on 80s horror movies, and got my fill at Marvel with the likes of Ghost Rider and Hellstrom (who was even awesomer for being a fellow redhead), Raven seemed like DC wasstepping into a genre they didn't hug yo often and I ate the Trigon/ Brother blood stuff up with a spoon! My what the character was always Aqualad. Until he became Tempest, I just didn't get him.