Thursday, September 8, 2016

New Teen Titans #8 (1981)

New Teen Titans #8 (June, 1991)
"A Day in the Lives..."
Writer/Co-Creator - Marv Wolfman
Artist/Co-Creator - George Perez
Embellisher - Romeo Tanghal
Letterer - Ben Oda
Colorist - Adrienne Roy
Editor - Len Wein
Cover Price: $0.50

Today I'm gonna give the devil his due... we're going to discuss the first appearance of the Red Menace himself, Terry Long... in all his hairy-chested creepin' glory.  Hey, he even makes the cover!


We open up on Starfire soaking in some of the "delicious" terrestrial weather while on her way to meet with teammate Donna Troy for brunch.  As she descends, she runs through in her mind how puzzling it is for her to not call Donna "Wonder Girl" when around people... and not to call her "Donna" when they're "on the job".  I never really consider how weird concepts like secret identities would be to... well, anybody who doesn't read comics.

We shift to Ms. Troy while she's working her day job as a photographer.  Today she's shooting what appears to be a topless jeans ad, featuring a trio of uncooperative models... particularly the one named Candy.  As Donna sends an assistant for a handful of aspirin, a Mr. DeLevi (likely Mr. Levi's Italian cousin) enters and reads Donna the riot act for making'a his'a Candy look'a like a spagett' in the photos.  Donna's about had enough for this day, and is about to tell this goofball off when... Starfire makes an appearance.  Suddenly, Mr. DeLevi thinks maybe'a his'a Candy is skinny like'a spagett... he now wants Ms. Anders as his Golden Jeans'a Girl!

Before we can get a solid commitment from Kory, she and Donna head out to their early lunch... this is where it happens, folks.  The first appearance of Terrence Long.  He's got quite a bit of "New York" hanging out in these panels.  I suppose I should qualify that... he's got a whole bunch of chest hair peeking out of his shirt.  Several years ago, I was working on a government contract as a quality assurance and logistics manager.  A really good friend of mine worked with me, and one day... I suppose I missed a button on my shirt.  Out of nowhere... from across an entire warehouse I hear his voice boom out "Ey Boss... ya New York's hangin' out!"  My first thought was to check my fly... but alas, he meant I was showin' off some chest hair.  Anyhoo... where was I?  Oh yeah, Terry's got his New York hangin' out.

We pop back in on Titan's Tower, and find Robin sayin' see ya to Raven.  We learn... or at least I learn that Robin is back in the circus game... which I must have forgotten ever happening.  

Raven retires to her room and does her meditation/soulself thing to check out Manhattan University.  At this point Kid Flash had been encouraging her to attend college.  Raven's soulself flies off and finds that the school is currently under terror... er, revolutionary attack.  They've placed bombs... for some reason.  A funny aside, they're shocked that the students haven't sided with them... because that's what kids are supposed to do, right?

Raven's soulself takes care of the bombs, and heads back to rejoin her physical body... however, it takes her just one second too long to make the return flight... and so, her soulself is... shunted into another dimension?

We get a one-page interlude featuring a grandfather and grandson entering a toy story where they'd received a message about receiving a free puppet.  The creepy toyseller hands over an equally creepy puppet.. while an even more creepy... Charlie McCarthy lookin' puppet looks on.  Man, Terry Long isn't the creepiest thing about this issue... Good on you, T.Long.

We shift scenes to Vic Stone's cruddy apartment where he and Gar are hanging out.  We learn that due to Victor's father's patents he's come into a fair amount of money.  Gar gets a phone call from Questor, who delivers some bad news... turns out that board members of (Steve) Dayton Industries are droppin' like flies, and young Master Logan is needed.  So he leaves... and stops a pair of street toughs from stealing his ride... by charging at them rhino-style.

We stick with Vic as he goes to visit his old girlfriend Marcy.  This is quite the unpleasant scene.  She hasn't seen him since he got all shiny and metally... and doesn't really react the way Vic would have hoped... she can't bear to look him in the face, and even goes as far as to ask why he didn't just die.

Vic knows when he's not wanted... and he leaves.  As he wanders through the park, lost in thought... he is beaned in the head by a baseball.  This is where we meet Sarah from the Special School, and the kids from the Special School.  Before Vic can make time with the cute blonde, he's swept into a game of baseball with the tots.

Now... we rejoin Raven... as she floats in the nothingness, and I kinda lose interest.  This goes on for a couple of pages... and will go on for a couple more later on... she's ultimately able to escape, and resist her hereditary evil.

We shift scenes to the West home in Blue Valley where Wally is considering hanging up the tights to become a full-time college student.  His parents... are really cool... they leave the decision up to him.  They talk about how proud of him they are regardless of the choice he makes.  It's really a nice scene... which ends with the symbolic passing of the "Man of the House" title from father to son when Wally is asked to carve the turkey.

Back in New York, Donna is snapping some very tasteful photos of Kory as Terry looks on.  Here we learn that Terry has been divorced... and that Donna "madly loves" him.  Wow, that was quick!  Kory tries to hide the fact that she's a superhero, but Donna says that Terry already knows what they are... and by that, I figure she means "teenagers"... creep.  Okay okay, she means he knows they're the Titans.

Kory takes her leave, and comes across a runaway horse pulling a carriage and causing all sorts of havoc in Central Park.  She does a fly-by stun-zap and halts the horsey right before it tramples a child.

We close out our "day off" by revisiting the family from the interlude... guess what?  The puppet kills granddaddy.  Wonder if he works for Dayton, hmmm....


Man it's like putting on a most comfortable pair of jeans.  This series... especially early on, just feels like home.

Issues like this are some of my favorites.  Love these relatively "quiet" issues following big bombastic adventures... the Titans haven't really had a break yet!  The X-Men are rather famous (at least to me) for having issues like this following their big crossovers... especially during the era in which I came into the fandom (Lobdell/Nicieza).  That's probably why I feel a special affinity for this one.

I suppose I'll get my one negative out of the way... and no, it's not Terry Long... it's Raven's vignette... I dunno, her other-dimensional stuff always puts me to sleep.  I mean, these pages aren't even especially text-heavy, and yet they still feel like something of a chore.  Don't get me wrong... I dig the character, in the context of her being on the team and going out on adventures with the team... her Trigon stuff though... ehhh... it's a bit of a bear.

I liked how little Robin was in this.  Like, if we... the readers... don't need to "follow" one of the Titans, it's Dick.  We know him well enough... though, I will admit that I didn't remember him getting back into the circus game.  Him only getting a passing scene here really allowed for the non-Batman sidekicks to get some screen time here.  Really liked that.

Vic's scene was especially gripping... and sad.  It was crazy seeing how his old girlfriend lashed out at him because she couldn't handle his "new look".  Actually wishing he'd died... that's some cold stuff... and really, in a way quite a human reaction to this.  It's as though she had mentally and emotionally let him go... and now, here he is standing in front of her.  It's pretty heartbreaking, because we know that Vic realizes things can go back to normal (with a cybernetic asterisk)... but she'll never get "there".  We also do get to meet Sarah from the Special School here, which is pretty neat.

Starfire's adapting to her new home world was fun to watch.  It's really interesting to listen in on her thoughts... particularly those regarding secret identities.  I suppose we comics enthusiasts take it for granted that superheroes have (or had, before they went out of fashion) secret identities to protect their loved ones and what-not.  For an outsider... which Kory still very much is... that must seem ridiculous... and clearly, it does.  I still always laugh when I see her in her civvies.  I mean, she's six foot whatever... with golden skin... and gigantic hair down to the floor... no matter how you dress her up, she ain't going unnoticed.

Wally's scene was nice.  I always thought Blue Valley would be a great little town to live in.  I figure if I could live in any DC town, Blue Valley would be in my top three... along with Ivy Town and, of course, Happy Harbor.  We don't really get a good look at Wally's parents too often.  Usually he's just Iris West's nephew.  I really like how supportive his folks are here... actually encouraging him to make his own decision as to whether he should continue hero-ing, go to college... or try and fit in both.  It was touching when his pop deferred to him to carve the turkey as well.

And then there's Long.  Okay, not quite yet... we've still got Donna.  She's having a pretty rotten day dealing with some really unpleasant uppity models.  I like seeing this... realizing that this kinda stuff might be going through her mind while she's throwing kicks at Psimon or something.  What better way to unwind after an especially rough day at work... why, dinner with Terry Long, of course.  He wasn't especially irritating here... and if this issue were in a vacuum, I'd probably have to say I... didn't hate him.  So there's that!  He's got one up on Danny Chase right there!

Overall... great "downtime" issue of New Teen Titans... wonderful writing... amazing art.  Just an all-around must read for fans of the series.


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  1. I consider this one of the best comic issues ever made--period!

  2. Ok, what's with "delicious"? Is that a thing for Starfire? She says it in Teen Titans Rebirth #1, too. I'm sure that's not a coincidence.


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