Sunday, September 25, 2016

Teen Titans #48 (1977)

Teen Titans #48 (June, 1977)
"Daddy's Little Girl Crimefighter!"
Family Plotter - Bob Rozakis
Children of the Arts - Jose Delbo & Vince Colletta
Colorful Kid - Jerry Serpe
Cover Price: $0.35

Ya know for being such a big fan of the Teen Titans, I've never read some of these later issues from the pre-Implosion days.  Let's fix that.


We open, presumably picking up where we left off last issue.  I don't have the previous issue, so I'm only guessing.  Robin and the Joker's Daughter are tied to a chair while JD's father, not the Joker but Two-Face paces around them.  He refuses to believe that this young lady (who looks more like an old lady... or Cesar Romero) is in fact his daughter Duela Dent.  The name "Duela" is so funny here... ol' Harv presumably named her well before he became Two-Face, right?

Duela gives her dad (and us) the quick and dirty on how she wound up where she is.  She claims that she became a hero as a way to get back at her old man.  Yeah, not sure this is somebody I want watching my back if I'm a Teen Titan.  Two-Face begins talking out of both sides of his face... one moment he's rational Harvey Dent... the next the maniacal Two-Face.  It's quite a well done scene.

Two-Face suddenly decides to leave his own fate to chance.  He claims that he is planning on bombing a location in New York and one in Gotham City.  One location has original works of art stashed away, while the other has duplicates.  If more originals survive the bombing, he will walk the straight and narrow... however, if more phonies make it... he'll fully commit to the criminal lifestyle... ay yai yai.  Anyhoo, Robin flips out and tells Dent that millions of people may die just so he can make up his mind!  Robin and Duela struggle in their chair, and are able to both knock daddy Dent back and break free.  Dent flees, however, for whatever reason mentions that his bombs are set to launch at 2:22.  Sounds like somebody wants to get caught, eh Harv?

Back at Titans Tower Gabriel's Horn Discotheque, the rest of the Titans are hanging about.  The hot topic of conversation is whether or not they can trust Joker's Daughter... I know I'm just the reader, but I'd vote no.  Mal Duncan tries to call his... is she his girlfriend at this point?  Karen Beecher, who we know as Bumb nobody just yet.  She is not home.  All this blibber blabber is going on while Aqualad is convalescing in a tank of water trying to get over his... Hydro-Asian Flu.  Oi.

Shortly, the receive a call from Robin.  He tells them of Two-Face's plan to "blow Gotham and New York off the map" and advises Speedy to send half the team to the Guggenheim and the other to the Gottanham.  Before the team can split, however, they are ambushed by... Bumblebee!  Hey we (don't) know her!  A battle ensues, and the Bumblebee more or less shrugs off all of the Titans' offense.  She then fires a dart (from her butt... maybe?) at Donna.  It's pretty much a stalemate until the Bee buzzes the Titans to sleep.  Not sure what the point of this scene was... but, here we are.

We rejoin Robin as he heads New York way.  He instructs Duela to remain in Gotham for the titanic reinforcements.  Only moments later he arrives at the Guggenheim where he runs up and down the halls yelling "Bomb!"... nah, he tells a couple of security guards.  Kid Flash and the Hornblower arrive... which begs the question, why put them to sleep just one page prior?  The trio runs to the roof just in time to see the missiles approach.  Wally runs in super-speed circles to stop them from falling while Mal uses his horn to blow them into the water.  It's all very convenient, eh?

Back in Gotham, Speedy and Wonder Girl meet up with Duela.  Roy mentions his trepidation over working with a "J.D."... which either means Joker's Daughter, and is very specific... or juvenile delinquent, which could be just about any kid.  They run to the roof at first, however, there are no bombs.  A lightbulb goes off over Duela's painted dome... they're dealing with Two-Face, so let's think about the opposite.  This bomb's gonna be in the basement... and wouldn'tcha know it... it is!  Duela uses her bubble pipe to blow the roof off the Gottenham, and Donna lassos the rockets into the water.

We wrap up with Two-Face being hauled off to prison.  Nobody seems to know where Joker's Daughter has ventured off to.  She suddenly emerges from the next room wearing some new duds... and wants to be called by a new name... the Harlequin.  Her looks have gone from Cesar Romero to Carol Burnett... so, I guess that's something of an upgrade.  Meanwhile, nobody remembered to refill poor Garth's tank... and so he lays dying.  Whoops!


Silly but fun.  This is an era of Titans of which I have very little knowledge.  Characters like Mal Duncan and the Joker's Daughter are basically strangers to me.  I know Mal in his "Herald" incarnation, but as the... heh... Hornblower?  Yeah, this is all new stuff.  The Joker's Daughter caused a minor speculatory stir during DC's Villain's Month back in... I wanna say 2014.  That's really the only version of the character I've read.  This... Cesar Romero-esque take is another one that I'm just now meeting for the first time.

It's neat reading late-70's Titans as it feels like of like an embryonic take on the Wolfman/Perez era.  Dick is still very much the leader, and Speedy is still a jerk.  The story itself was pretty much just there.  Multiple bomb threats, so split the team for a bit.  No big deal.  I was surprised by the appearance of Bumblebee... as a villain!  Her showing up felt kind of shoehorned in... it doesn't really effect anything.  She puts the team to sleep... but they still get where they need to be on time.  Dunno, must've just expected something more from it.

The Joker's Daughter character... ehhh... don't dig it at all.  Granted, this is my first exposure to her, but her whole deal is pretty off-putting.  Not a fan of her design either... both as JD and the Harlequin.  Just so goofy... and she looks more like an old lady than a teenager.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with some of my favorite characters from a period in time before they were.  If you dig the Titans, this underrated era is worth your time.


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