Monday, May 4, 2015


A DC Comics Production
Marv Wolfman: Writer/Co-Plotter | George Pérez: Penciler/Co-Plotter
Dick Giordano: Embellisher (Special Thanks to Mike DeCarlo)
Lettered by John Costanza | Colored by Adrienne Roy
Edited by Marv Wolfman & George Pérez

The Plot: Surrounded by their family and friends, Donna Troy and Terry Long are married.

My Thoughts: Usually the double-sized anniversary issue of a comic features a big fight or a shake-up to the status quo or the culmination of a long-running plotline. TALES #50 doesn't really contain any of those things. There's no fight whatsoever, and Wonder Girl getting married is more of a change to the "window dressing" than an actual modification of any status quo. I suppose the nuptials are the culmination of her engagement, which dates back to issue 30, but that's really just the end to a minor sub-plot, rather than the conclusion of some big, ongoing story.

All that said, this is mostly a very nice little issue. Things like this would become commonplace within a decade or so, but at this point in time, dedicating a full issue of a superhero comic to a wedding is extremely unusual, and something of a bold move. Fortunately, Wolfman and Pérez have spent so much time getting us to care about the Titans as people that the idea doesn't backfire.

I do find it odd that the story goes through every single stage of the wedding day, however. We start with Changeling overseeing final preparations, then we see hair being done and guests arriving, followed by the ceremony and even the introduction of the bridal party to the reception, the first dance, the cutting of the cake, etc. as I read through all these things, I kept thinking, "Yup... this is what happens at a wedding." I'm not sure why the decision was made to commit all of it to paper, however.

The real meat of the issue for me is seeing the characters' interactions against the backdrop of the wedding. In particular, there's a nice scene where Dick asks Bruce Wayne why he never adopted him, as he recently attempted to do with Jason Todd. Bruce has no real answer, other than that perhaps he was too young when he first took Dick in to consider himself a father. But the conversation leads to a lovely reconciliation between the two, as Bruce finally tells his ward just how proud he is of him.

There are a ton of folks at the wedding who are clearly meant to be recognizable, but who I, with my limited DC knowledge, don't know. I definitely caught certain DC staffers in attendance, including Marv Wolfman, George Pérez, and Adrienne Roy, as well as a mustachioed gentlemen I'm pretty sure is Dick Giordano. There are other "real people" as well, such as the videographer and his crew, but I have no idea who they are.

As far as fictional characters in attendance, I noted the presence of Wonder Woman (naturally), Clark Kent with Lana Lang as his date, the afore-mentioned Bruce Wayne, Aqualad and Aquagirl, Speedy (yay!), Hawk and Dove, Duela Dent, Wally West and Frances Kane, as well as a young lady named Lilith who I seem to recall will factor into an upcoming arc spotlighting Raven.

We also see the former Guardian and Bumblebee, a pair of characters I know solely from the YOUNG JUSTICE TV series. I had no idea they'd existed as members of the original Teen Titans! I just assumed when watching that series that they were relatively new creations (probably because, sadly, I don't really associate Silver Age DC with a racially diverse stable of characters). I'm sure there are other characters at the wedding meant to be recognized, but I have no idea who they might be.

All the Titans other than Raven make the wedding, but the group's resident demon sorceress keeps herself hidden as she continues to battle the darkness within her. It fascinates me how long Wolfman and Pérez keep certain plots running in this series. Raven first gave in to her dark side during the outer space storyline circa issues 21 - 25, and has since been struggling to keep herself under control, even shunning the use of her power occasionally for fear of Trigon's influence. That's over two years of an ongoing sub-plot! I don't think I've ever seen anything like this before in a superhero comic. Yes, Chris Claremont was well known for such extended plots, but his style was usually to introduce them and let them go, revisiting them only occasionally. Wolfman and Pérez, on the other hand, have brought Raven's struggle to the fore numerous times over the past several installments. Robin's transformation into Nightwing, while told over a smaller number of issues, was done much the same way. On one hand it occasionally makes one feel like the story is treading water, but on the other hand simply playing such a long game is appreciated.

I also need to note before wrapping up that George Pérez must've needed a lot of time to work on this double-length story. We already saw that he provided only a handful of pages for the past two issues, and now issue 50 is cover dated two months after #49! This is the second time this has happened during the run of NEW TEEN TITANS, and it's really surprising to me. I associate DC and Marvel, at least pre-1996 or so, with never missing a month. Ever. Even if it meant putting out a sub-par inventory issue to make the schedule. But maybe that was more of a Marvel-only thing?

Anyway, it doesn't disrupt the flow when reading these stories in an Omnibus thirty years later, but for the time when these issues originally came out, I'm surprised it happened. But then again (say it with me), when you let the creators act as their own editors...!


  1. I think what was even bolder is that this was one of the first superhero wedding that went without any conflict. Reed and Sue, Hank and Janet, Barry and Iris, Earth-2 Bruce and Selina, Betty and Ned, Garth and Imra, Pietro and Crystal, Bruce and Betty all had to deal with villains crashing the proceedings. There were some exceptions. Steve Dayton and Rita's wedding in DOOM PATROL also went without problem (although the cover of the issue has Madame Rogue threatening the proceedings) and the Clark and Lois of Earth-2 went without a hitch (then again, nobody knew Clark's secret ID, not even Clark himself during that time!). Still, Donna mentions such fears.
    Of the guests: hoping to re-form Titans West is Charley Parker, who was the Golden Eagle, a hero with a Hawkman-type suit, and Betty Kane, the original Batgirl (niece of Batwoman) before Babs made the role her own. Lilith was also a former Titan, something of a Jean Grey with psychic powers (I think she was originally half-asian, but this was forgotten). Her dead boyfriend, Gnnark, was a prehistoric caveman that the team picked up during a trip through time. Sharon Tracy was Donna's roommate when the Titans found her an apartment (after learning she had been sleeping in the HQ after Paradise Island made a temporary disappearance).
    The former Guardian (which was a WWII hero, DC's answer to Cap I presume?) goes by the more popular name of Mal. From his association with the team, one gets the idea the writers didn't know what to do with Mal. First, Mal was the nonpowered teammate (an African-American Wyatt Wingfoot), then he gets a magic horn from an Angel (taking the name Horblower), then he takes on the mantle of the Guardian. Later, they would retcon his history by making him a costumed hero the Herald (just as they would retcon Betty Kane into Flamebird).
    Note Clark and Lana. At this time I believe, or at least during Wolfman's run on ACTION COMICS, Superman and Lois Lane had a falling out, as Lois felt that Superman wasn't going to commit, and she wanted to keep her career. Also note Bruce's mention that he was rather young himself when he made Dick his ward. During the Neil-Adams run, Batman once commented that he was barely old enough to vote when the bat hit the window, so he must have been in his early 20s (before Miller retconned it to 25). Anyhoo, it is a sweet reminder of the days when the Dynamic Duo parting was a normal, mutually respectful one and not the ugly break-up in later retcons.
    Also noted is that after this event, Hippolyta and Diana had one major estrangement. Mommy did to daughter what Prof X did to Scott in DEADLY GENESIS...only, this was no retcon of a past event. Diana's Pre-Crisis boyfriend Steve Trevor went through several deaths. The latest tragedy had Hippolyta mindwiping her grief-stricken daughter's memory of Steve. Later, when a Steve Trevor from another universe came to this world, with Diana believing she's fallen in love for the first time, Hippolyta had Aphrodite pull a mind whammy to make the world accept this Steve. Then Diana found out the truth and was heartbroken by her mother's actions (believing that Hippolyta was being jealous and possessive about her daughter falling for a race her Amazon doctrines condemned), and put the serious outs with her. Hippolyta went into a depression, harming her reign and causing some Amazons to consider her abdication. I believe the original plan was for Hippolyta to go through a spiritual journey of hitting rock bottom and then rising back up to become a better person. However, the CRISIS and the plan to reboot Wonder Woman forced the abandonment of the plan, with the disgruntled Amazons going back to Hippolyta and mother and daughter reconciling at the final issue.

    1. Yeesh, That Steve Trevor stuff is nuts! Observing DC from afar, I've always been puzzled by the creators' obvious confusion/indecision as to what to do with the poor guy. I wonder if it's all because he was originally tied to World War II?