Wednesday, March 11, 2015


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

Note: These issues do not have credits in THE NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS volume 2. I don't know if DC used the files from a trade paperback reprint that had previously omitted them or what, but this sort of thing is par for the course for the DC collected editions department. The above credits are pulled from the DC wiki.

The Plot: Changeling is on Terra's trail, having spent days chasing her. Meanwhile, in Zandia, the Brotherhood of Evil enters Brother Blood's Cathedral of Death to stage a coup. Back in New York, Starfire and Robin spend some time together while Wonder Girl goes to visit Terry Long, but meets his unfriendly ex-wife at his apartment. Elsewhere, Changeling finally captures Terra.

Back at Titans' Tower, Terra explains to Changeling, Kid Flash, Raven, and Cyborg that her father and stepmother, sovereigns of another nation, have been kidnapped by terrorists. She and her brother Brion set out to find the villains, but were separated. Terra eventually tracked them down but was blackmailed into committing crimes in order to keep them alive. The Titans agree to go with Terra to her meeting with the terrorists.

The group heads for a subway yard in Long Island, where they fight the terrorists. The villains' leader claims that Terra's parents have been killed, which sends her into a rage. Changeling attempts to comfort her, while Raven believes something is amiss about the girl.

My Thoughts: The dismal outer space storyline becomes more and more of a distant memory as Wolfman and Pérez continue to churn out hit after solid hit. This is one of those issues they specialize in, a story well balanced between sub-plot soap opera and ongoing action.

We have Starfire worried about Robin's attitude as he burns the candle at four ends, working with the Titans, working with Batman, attending school, and spending time at the circus. Meanwhile, Wonder Girl gets the cold shoulder from Terry's ex, who finally points out the elephant in the room with regards to the age difference between the couple -- I'm glad someone finally acknowledged this in-story! Plus she must cope with the fact that Terry isn't ready to admit to his young daughter that he's dating her.

Then there are the minor bits, such as Kid Flash once more wondering if he should quit his superheroic identity, while Raven meditates on her recent bouts of darkness. Having read both "The Judas Contract" and the Trigon storyline which will open the second NEW TEEN TITANS series, I know that both these plots are going somewhere, but they're one to two years down the line -- so either Wolfman and Pérez are plotting far in advance, or they're spitballing things which they intend to get to sooner or later. Either way, however, the fact that both these relatively minor bits will finally have playoffs down the line in ways which feel completely and logically thought out is impressive.

And the final sub-plot layer comes in the Brotherhood's assault on Zandia, set up back in issue 15, over a year ago, and dovetailing with the story of Brother Blood, begun only a few issues back. I sense that Wolfman and Pérez are looking to set Blood, the macabre ruler of his own nation, up as the Titans' Doctor Doom, and if that's the case, I wholeheartedly approve. But in any event, a fight between the Brotherhood and Brother Blood, with the Titans presumably stuck in the middle, should be fun.

Oh, and of course there was some stuff involving Terra, too, but we'll get to that soon enough.

The Plot: A day after the Brotherhood of Evil's invasion of Zandia, Brother Blood is informed that they're en route to the United States. But the plane they hijacked from Blood's cathedral crashes into the Atlantic Ocean before they can reach their destination.

Meanwhile, Robin continues to push himself obsessively to become Batman's equal, much to the despair of Wonder Girl and Starfire. Wonder Girl departs to visit Terry as the Brotherhood, having teleported away from the crashing jet, arrives in New York to be greeted by Brother Blood's minions. The Brotherhood defeats them and steals their transportation, using it to head for Titans's Tower, where they intend to kidnap Raven for an unknown purpose.

At the Tower, the visiting Speedy hits on Starfire but is interrupted by Robin. Robin and Starfire head for Manhattan to meet with D.A. Chase at his home, from there to go speak with reporter Bethany Snow together. Soon, Frances Kane arrives at Titans' Tower. Her powers are back, and she wants the Titans to help her rid herself of them. Shortly after her arrival, Cyborg leaves the Tower for the city.

But the Brotherhood arrives to attack, tabling Frances' problem. The Titans, with the aid of Frances and Terra, defeat their enemies -- but not before Phobia turns Raven on Kid Flash. After he escapes from her soul self, he reveals that he's seen the darkness within and wants nothing more to do with her.

My Thoughts: Wolfman and Pérez had previously hit a nice stride with regards to the action and pacing of their main plots. By this point, they seem to have found the perfect critical mass between those two factors. This issue, as with the previous installment, gives us a nice peek into the head of nearly every Titan.

Kid Flash's long-running angst over Raven seems to have come to a tragic end, as he not only no longer loves her -- he apparently hates her after she tried to kill him. And this happens just as his childhood friend/potential romantic interest, Frances Kane (first name now spelled correctly) returns to his life.

Meanwhile, Robin becomes more and more obsessed with living up to the shadow of his mentor, an attitude which is beginning to drive a wedge between him and his teammates. As with the last issue, I wonder now if Wolfman and Pérez are planting seeds far in advance here, too -- this time for Dick Grayson's transformation into Nightwing. He won't adopt the identity for fifteen more issues -- over a year -- though he will retire as Robin a few months before that.

In some ways a year feels like a long time to be planning ahead, but I suppose when dealing with an identity switch for any established character, it's reasonable. And for such a huge, unprecedented change to the longest running sidekick in the history of comics, it's not unreasonable to imagine that DC might want to lay plenty of groundwork to make the transition work as organically as possible. I'm curious if BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS writer Gerry Conway (soon to be replaced by Doug Moench) was planting similar seeds for Jason Todd's evolution into Robin at this point.

"But Raven, my
lips hurt real bad!"
Also -- more Speedy! Yay! It seems he's been hanging around the tower since the "Runaways" story ended, though as of this installment he's ready to leave. I really hope he continues to pop in as a semi-regular guest star. I'm not sure why I like the guy so much, though I think his cockiness is part of it. He's apparently quite the lady-killer, and he seems to think very highly of his combat skills, as well. Plus I just enjoy seeing him interact with his old friends, Robin and Kid Flash.

But the biggest takeaway from this issue is that, if the Teen Titans ever make it to the world of live action motion pictures or television, there can be only one choice to portray Kid Flash, as evidenced by George Pérez's art at left: Jon "Napoleon Dynamite" Heder.


  1. I too was aware of Terra before reading her actual storyline.
    Ah, the former Mrs. Long. Her chief character trait will be knife-twisting comments to her younger rival.
    You're right about Wolfman and Conway starting the developments for the Robin change. According to Wolfman (BACK ISSUE#50 Aug 2011), Wolfman convinced Editor Len Wein and Conway that they make sensations by passing the mantle of the first sidekick while he keeps Dick Grayson. Conway had Dick working at the circus and meeting the Flying Todds and their son Jason (here with red hair) while making Batman more driven, harsh, and isolated, setting the stage for his need of a sidekick to lighten his darkness. This comes to a head in Conway's final story in DETECTIVE COMICS#526, where Jason's parents are killed (by Killer Croc), Jason goes to Wayne Manor, finds the secret passage to the Batcave, puts on a some discarded Robin suit (with pants), secretly stows away in the Batmobile, and helps the Bat family (plus Catwoman and Talia) take down an army of Bat rogues (while learning his parents' death). Then Bruce decides to adopt Jason (after Dick makes the offer to adopt the kid himself).

    1. Again... someday I will read the full Conway BATMAN/DETECTIVE run. I don't know when, but it will happen.

      I've only read a few issues of BACK ISSUE! for my "Spider-Man by Roger Stern" reviews, but I was very impressed with it. I may have to pick up #50, too.