Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Co-Creators: Marv Wolfman & George Pérez | Embellisher: Romeo Tanghal
Letterer: Ben Oda | Colorist: Adrienne Roy | Editor: Len Wein

The Plot: Starfire meets Wonder Girl, in her civilian guise as photographer Donna Troy, for lunch at Donna's advertising agency. There, Starfire is recruited to become a model. Meanwhile, Robin departs Titans' Tower, having recently rejoined the circus, and promises Raven he will be back for the next Titans' meeting in a week.

Once Robin is gone, Raven considers attending Manhattan University and sends her astral form to check the school out. But the University is being held by a group of revolutionaries, and Raven is forced into action to take them out and defuse their bombs. She succeeds, but her astral form is away from her body for too long and is hurled into another dimension. With all the skill and tenacity she can muster, Raven escapes and returns to her mortal body.

Elsewhere, Changeling is visiting Cyborg when he receives a call from his currently missing stepfather's business manager, who informs him that two members of his stepfather's board of directors have been murdered. Changeling leaves to investigate.

Cyborg departs as well, paying a visit to his old girlfriend, Marcy, who he hasn't seen since before his accident. She asks him to leave, her parents having forbidden her from associating with him. As he wanders through Central Park, Cyborg bumps into a group of children with prosthetic limbs, out for physical therapy. Cyborg joins the kids' baseball game.

In Blue Valley, someplace in the Mid-West, Wally "Kid Flash" West visits his parents and discusses with them whether or not he should return to superheroics. Mr. and Mrs. West ultimately tell Wally that, while they worry over him, the choice is ultimately his.

Finally, Jeremy Thornton of Dayton Industries -- the company run by Changeling's stepfather -- is gifted a free marionette for his grandson by a local toy shop. But that night, after Thornton's grandson goes to sleep, the marionette enters Thornton's office, armed with a revolver, and kills him.

My Thoughts: Okay! This is basically what I thought NEW TEEN TITANS would be from the get-go. I had often seen comparisons between this series and X-MEN -- specifically Chris Claremont's X-MEN -- which led me to believe TITANS would be filled with sub-plots and soap operatics. There have been a handful of minor sub-plots to date, but most -- the characters' origins, Titans' Tower, etc. -- have already been resolved. And the soap opera aspect, aside from Kid Flash briefly believing he was in love with Raven, has been absent pretty much entirely with the exception of Cyborg's regular bouts of self-pity.

But with "A Day In The Lives...", that all changes. Wolfman gives all of his new characters a good sized spotlight, while providing at least one minor kernel for each of the existing characters as well. Plus, I like seeing Robin leave for a while. He's the only Titan who still has a "part time job" as a sidekick, and he informs Raven here that he's bound for Gotham City after his circus engagement. I believe Len Wein was the regular writer of BATMAN around this time, so I suppose it's even possible he and Wolfman coordinated a Robin guest appearance in that title for this month.

This issue also introduces us to Terry Long, Wonder Girl's boyfriend. Over the years I've gathered that he's not exactly well regarded by Titans fandom. Right off the bat here, we learn that he's an older man, divorced, and is dating the teenage (probably eighteen or nineteen year-old) Donna Troy (I wonder if John Byrne suggested this plot development?). And they met “about a year ago,” so who knows how old she was then? I'm curious to learn if there are other reasons to dislike the guy beyond this general skeeviness. I suppose time will tell.

Another development I really enjoyed this issue is Kid Flash’s brief scene. It’s nice to see a Titan with a relatively normal life. Robin is an orphan, raised and mentored by the world’s greatest detective. Wonder Girl is also an orphan, raised by Amazons. Cyborg is now an orphan, and he’s got the whole “woe is me, I’m a freak” thing going on. Changeling seems pretty well adjusted, but he’s also an orphan, and his stepfather is currently missing. And Starfire, of course, was sold into slavery by her own father, while Raven’s dad is a murderous, extra-dimensional being.

Then there’s Kid Flash, who has parents that love him, who know his secret identity and support his career as Kid Flash, and who generally seem like very loving, well-adjusted people. Which of course probably means that someone will kill them off at some point. But for now, it’s nice to have one member of the Titans who comes from a close-knit nuclear family.
I’d also like to pick one nit found in the story: Starfire wanders around in public, wearing sunglasses, presumably to hide her huge pupil-less eyes, but no one seems to find it odd that she’s got golden skin and hair down to her heels. At first I thought she was just doing the “publicly known identity” bit, but later in the story, it’s clarified that no, people actually believe she’s an Earthling. Is her cover that she’s one of those women who indulges way too much in spray tans and is tinted orange as a result? I guess, since the Titans live in New York, she could be Donna’s friend from the Jersey Shore… but still, it’s a little hard to swallow.

Lastly, I need to comment on the artwork. Whether inspired by Wolfman's sub-plot heavy script or for some other reason, Pérez turns in, as far as I'm concerned, his strongest issue so far. There's barely any action to speak of, but the artwork seems more energetic and exciting than ever before, and the characters just feel more lifelike. This is the first issue that really looks like GEORGE PÉREZ and not just George Pérez.

I hope to see the style of "A Day In the Lives..." carry over to subsequent chapters, both from the writing and the artistic sides. This is easily my favorite NEW TEEN TITANS issue to date, standing head and shoulders above all previous installments.


  1. Trust me when I say that you'll find plenty of reasons to dislike Terry Long. Never has there been a superhero significant other who is so intensely jealous of the "attention" being denied to him by stuff like saving the world.

  2. Yes, there was a back-story in the Bat comics about Robin re-visiting the Circus. A second visit later would lead to the meeting of the Todds. And a third will lead to meeting Tim Drake.

    No, the Wests will not be killed. Instead, they will be retconned; Wally's Norman Rockwell childhood transforms into something from Charles Dickens; Pa West turns into a bullying, emotionally abusive father who gives poor Wally one sad upbringing until that glorious day he visits his Aunt Iris in Central City, meets his idol and gets speed powers, changing his life for the better (according to Mark Waid).

    I suppose one can see some wrongness about Donna's relationship with Terry (age 29). But I think he gets a pass since Donna is mature in character and profession despite her age (not to mention strong enough to handle any wrong moves). I believe the Richards had a similar age distance. Perhaps I'm more tolerant since my mom was 21-22 when she married my dad, a man of 30-31, dating each other earlier.

    I recall one reader discomforted about Donna's photographing the scantily-clad models, with the mail page responding that she was raised in a society full of naked statues as art. It also added that the modeling portrayed in the issue was tame compared to the stuff in real life.

  3. Mela -- I certainly don't doubt you, because I've read that opinion in more than one place over the years, but I've read much further since writing the above post and so far Terry seems okay to me. Maybe his dislikeability quotient didn't start to ramp up until after Perez left the title?

    angmc43 -- "No, the Wests will not be killed. Instead, they will be retconned; Wally's Norman Rockwell childhood transforms into something from Charles Dickens; Pa West turns into a bullying, emotionally abusive father who gives poor Wally one sad upbringing..."

    Blechh. I like Mark Waid, but he sometimes demonstrates an irritating inability to leave well enough alone. There's nothing wrong with the occasional superhero who has a perfectly normal, well-adjusted family!

    As far as the age difference between Donna and Terry, I believe I wrote a little more about it in an upcoming issue which confirms his age. I don't think it's that big a deal when, say, one person is forty and the other is thirty, but it seems a little off-putting to me when it's a twenty-nine year-old college professor dating an eighteen/nineteen year-old student. But you're certainly right that it's all in what you're used to. This seems odd to me because I've never seen it in real life.

    Funny about the models; they didn't raise a single eyebrow from me. When I was a kid, I'm sure I would have thought it was awesome that I had a comic with topless women in it (even if only shown from the back). To further my comments from the previous issues' discussion, whenever I found myself the owner of a comic with excessive violence and/or gore in it, I felt kind of guilty, like it was something I shouldn't own. But on the other hand, I never felt guilty about comics with sex-type stuff in them. I thought those were really cool.

  4. Like you, this was easily my favorite NTT issue yet, not surprising given how much I love the Classic Claremont Quiet Issues.

    I've never encountered them myself, but my understanding is that Terry's issues go far beyond the age gap (which, in and of itself, isn't *that* big a deal, but I gather it's just the tip of the iceberg). We shall see.

    Good point about Starfire's orange skin. I never really considered that before, but it does seem odd that no one finds it odd.

  5. Don't worry, I'll harp on the secret identity thing a few more times before we're done. These Titans seem very cavalier with their alter egos.