Monday, March 30, 2015


Writer: Marv Wolfman | Layout Artist: Keith Pollard
Embellisher: Romeo Tanghal | Letterers: John Costanza & Todd Klein (#36 assist)
Colorist: Adrienne Roy | Editor: Len Wein

The Plot: Sarah Simms' ex-boyfriend, Mark, accosts her on the street. When a police officer attempts to break it up, Mark grabs the cop's gun and escapes with Sarah into a nearby store. As police surround the building, Sarah manages to contact Titans' Tower. Cyborg, Raven, and Changeling respond immediately. After Cyborg is shot in the shoulder, Changeling infiltrates the building but is unable to reason with Mark. Raven next enters and begins to negotiate as Cyborg tries a new route through the roof. In the end Mark surrenders after Raven and Cyborg talk him down.

My Thoughts: Geez; George Pérez must've been under a deadline crunch or something! THE NEW TEEN TITANS has skipped a month, jumping from August to October. In my experience, this sort of thing was unheard of in the eighties -- at least at Marvel. I would assume it was similar for DC. Anyway, now we have a fill-in artist for two installments, leading me to the above assumption that Pérez was responsible for the delay.

Anyway -- when Mark popped up, he appeared to be Cyborg's romantic rival for Sarah. Now it turns out he was just an extremely unstable guy with abandonment issues. I wouldn't have minded if there'd been more to him than met the eye, but not this. The issue feels like a sub-par episode of a prime-time cop show, rather than another soap operatic issue of THE NEW TEEN TITANS. And with this plotline now complete, it seems painfully clear that Mark was little more than a wrench created by Wolfman and Pérez to artificially delay the Cyborg/Sarah relationship.

Speaking of George Pérez, he takes this issue and the next off, allowing Keith Pollard to fill in on pencils. Pollard lacks the flash of Pérez, and his layouts remind me very much of a mid-tier Marvel comic from the seventies, but with Romeo Tanghal remaining on inks, at least the characters look just as on-model as ever. In particular, the Pollard/Tanghal Cyborg is quite impressive, and I like their rendition of Sarah, too.

The Plot: At S.T.A.R. Labs, Thunder and Lightning undergo treatment for the disease which threatens to kill them. Their powers overloading, they break free and fight the visiting Titans until Raven stops them by absorbing them into her soul self. Within that dimension, Thunder and Lightning are touched by their father. When they return to the real world, they know where to find him.

Leaving the weakened Raven in Kid Flash's custody, the rest of the Titans follow the guidance of Thunder and Lightning to a H.I.V.E. lair, where their father -- in actuality an alien more than 600 years old -- is being held. The H.I.V.E. scientists escape and release the twins' father, under their control. The alien goes on a rampage, taking all the Titans out until Thunder and Lightning are forced to kill him.

Later, back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Thunder and Lightning are cured thanks to some blood extracted from their father's corpse. They return to Vietnam to see their mother.

My Thoughts: Well that was.. something. The first Thunder and Lightning story wasn't all that impressive, and this one is no better. They're kind of uninspired characters, and now they've been fitted with a somewhat absurd backstory, to boot.

Unfortunately, probably due to Pérez's absence, this issue and last both feel like filler, as if Wolfman is merely treading water while waiting for his collaborator to return. Both stories resolve plots begun in previous installments, but neither plot is very compelling. I noted that the story regarding Mark felt unnecessary, and here the reveal of Thunder and Lightning's true parentage feels silly.

Thus we reach the end of the shortest post to date in my NEW TEEN TITANS series, simply because these issues are so lackluster. But on the plus side, George Pérez returns next time, bringing with him a crossover between TITANS and BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS. That should be fun!

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