Friday, March 31, 2017
Electric Warrior #1 (May, 1986)
"The Whole Nasty Night"
Writer/Co-Creator - Doug Moench
Artist/Co-Creator - Jim Baikie
Letterer - Annie Halfacree
Colorist - Tom Ziuko
Cover Price: $1.50
Going to chat up one of those wacky mid-1980's New Format books today. This one gets a bit mature toward the end... just thought I'd give a warning.
We open with some strange looking fellas rappelling down to some elevated tram tracks. Once there, one mounts some gel on the line. Moments later, a medi-car rushes down the way... and there is a terrible explosion when it reaches the ghetto napalm. The track breaks... ad the "bullet" plummets toward the ground. I gotta mention, the two geeks speak in this strange and nearly indecipherable argot. The word "zig" is said at least 700 times. The medi-car crashes into the ground, and before long it is swarmed by dozens of these strange "ziggie" transients, looking for a fix.
We shift to a wide shot of the city... and we can now see that those ziggies live in the warrens, which is the "old" and what we might consider to be the "modern" city. Atop the buildings sits a new city. It is clean and futuristic. We also can see that outside the city limits is a wilderness, where men can live among nature... men, like Derek Two-Shadow.
From the palace of the Council of Cities, a woman named Quintana petitions to head into the wilds. She is given the okay, however, she must be accompanied by some Electric Warriors. Oooh, that's the name of the book! As she leaves, she learns of the "bottom-dwellers" attack on the medi-car. This scene is juxtaposed with Derek Two-Shadow going for a swim. We learn that he lived in the city until he was nine... but escaped. That was twelve years ago.
From here we get some vignettes. Quintana arrives at her destination, and decides to send her escorts packing. We shift to the Electric Warrior barracks, where it seems one of these robots might be... dreaming? That's probably going to be important. In the warrens, the bottom-dwellers discuss an attack on the power station. Meanwhile, Two-Shadow is fetching some art equipment he'd hidden under a large stone.
He unpacks an easel, and begins to paint. A blonde woman approaches... and upon noticing this fact, Two-Shadow stashes his supply under the stone. While this is going down, Quintana is setting up a strange looking camera mounted on a tripod. Nearby, another wilderness dweller named Simon attacks her... fearing that her device might be a weapon. There is a brief struggle before she convinces him that she's no threat. He looks at the holographic image she'd snapped, and sees Derek Two-Shadow in the midst of painting. Satisfied, he allows her to accompany him back to his village.
Meanwhile, back in the city... the ziggies silently break into the power station.
In the village, Quintana is doing a wonderful job entertaining the wilderness children with her "techno-trash". The same blonde from earlier is on the periphery... and appears to be intrigued by Quintana's voodoo. Here we learn that her name is Amber Brightstar... which definitely sounds like a sci-fi leading lady, don't it?
Again, back in the city... the ziggies are affixing their crude napalm gel to the machinery... and the workers! At the same time, outta town... Two-Shadow heads out of the village. Quintana is not far behind.
She follows him to a waterfall where she learns a bit more about his backstory. They discuss their similar origins, but drastically different journey/destinations. Both came from the warrens, both (sorta) left the city... however, only one will be going back. This chat feels a bit contentious...
Back in the city, word of the terrorist act has gotten back to the council. Rather than look into it, they decide to send the Electric Warriors out to take care of business. The 'Leks awaken... and go to work. One of these bots, however... just ain't feelin' it.
Back at the village, Quintana is looking at her holographic images. She questions why Derek Two-Shadow would hide his artwork when Amber Brightstar hit the scene. The images continue with Derek and Amber making love. It gets a bit weird here, as Quintana flips through her Holocorder instruction manual, where it advertises that the images captured are so lifelike... you can feel it. A-hem.
We return to the Electric Warriors as they make their way into the power station. 'Lek 9-03 suggests they pull back, lest they destroy the station themselves. It's made pretty clear that 9-03's opinion wasn't solicited. And so, they bust in... and start blasting away at the ziggies and the gels. As one might imagine, there is a sizable explosion... and the lights go out, city-wide. There's a really interesting exchange here between some council members. They discuss that the folks from the warrens had so little to lose, that risking their very lives wasn't all that big a deal to them.
The Electric Warriors leave the scene... all except 9-03, that is. He sees a dead body, and decides to move it... even straightens its leg, giving the corpse some dignity. An older woman notices the act, and calls out to him. She sees something in him... something different than the other 'leks. 9-03 charges his blaster and takes aim... after all, the orders were to kill 'em all. At the last moment, 9-03 turns and releases the blast at an Electric Warrior billboard.
We wrap up back in the village, where beastmen begin their descent.
I'll be honest... this one took a few tries for me to get going.
In opening with the bottom-dwellers taking down the medi-car we were positively hammered over the head with dweller lingo. It was incredibly hard to follow without any context. It wasn't until they blew up the bullet that we knew what they were on about... which made me have to reread the opening bit a few times. I will concede that it may just be my density... but, boy... this was a toughie.
Later scenes with the ziggies, while annoying, weren't nearly as confusing. We kinda knew what they were planning to do, and so it wasn't too terribly difficult to fill-in any "dweller talk" blanks.
Sticking with the dwellers for a bit... I really like the way the council members described them. They fight like they have nothing to lose... because, honestly... they don't. Every act is a means to an end... and, hell... it didn't even seem they were sure what result they were seeking. While gelling up the power station, they were chatting among themselves about what they were going to demand. Isn't that something you usually work out before committed a terrorist act? Well, not when you come from the warrens, it seems.
The warrens... and the new city. I love the design here! It's so cool that they just build a brand new city atop the architecture of the old one. Such an obvious concept, but not one I can recall seeing before. I will say my sci-fi game is totally weak, so this might be somewhere between old-hat and cliche for some folks... but, I really dug it.
The wilderness scenes were a nice bit of contrast... but, it didn't really hold my attention. The idea that Derek Two-Shadows is kind of a man without a country is pretty novel... he fled the city, and yet doesn't quite fit in with the villagers. He refers to himself as their "mirror" and "observer", which is interesting... especially when we consider that he is a super-secret artist.
I suppose we ought to discuss our Electric Warrior with a conscience... 9-03. I'm really not sure what to think, as my immediate reaction was "sigh...". Seems like such a cliche, right? I dunno... I probably shouldn't judge it just yet, we've only seen 9-03 briefly thus far.
Overall... despite the complaints listed, I enjoyed this. I must say I'm actually intrigued as to how all of these disparate concepts are going to mingle. I thought for sure that Derek Two-Shadow was somehow going to be the Electric Warrior... otherwise, why spend so much time on him, right? I might have to track some more of this series down to find out how it all shakes out. I'd say, if you see this in a cheap-o bin, you could do far worse. Definitely worth at least a flip-through... even if it's just to check out the character and location designs. They're worth a look!
(Not the) Letters Page:
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Superboy #134 (December, 1966)
"The Scoundrel of Steel!"
"Krypto's First Romance!"
Writers - Leo Dorfman & Jerry Siegel
Artist - George Papp
Cover Price: $0.12
Got a couple of firsts today... we've got our first Imaginary Story (and it might not be the one you think), and it's our first Jerry Siegel story!
Let's get to it!
We open with a quick and dirty origin of Superboy. Really, it's just four panels. Today that'd be a trade paperback! Anyhoo... it's the story of how on the anniversary of Clark's arrival, his adoptive parents thought it would be a great idea for him to wear a costume made from the blankets found in his rocket ship, and fight crime. Wonderfully simplistic... we don't need to think much harder on that. Anyhoo, we interrupt the story in progress to start another... and IMAGINARY STORY!
We join Superboy's anniversary again... however, this time his first mission has nothing to do with stopping a runaway train, but instead... a chunk of red rock soaring through the sky. Superboy makes short work of this crisis, grabbing the crag... and sending it into space! As he returns home, he notices that his body is tingling... could the rock have affected him? A helpful editorial note tells us, that wasn't an ordinary meteorite... it was a chunk of Red K!
Superboy returns home, and it would seem a young hero's job is never done. He heads off to assist in a prison break at Alcatraz. The officers are happy to see him arrive, however... should they be? Instead of herding the baddies, he pushes the entire island to the mainland to aid in their escape!
Back at the Kent farm, Jonathan and Martha (or is it Eben and Sarah?) are huddled around the radio... crying. They cannot believe that their boy would behave in such a way. In mere moments, Superboy comes crashing through the living room window. He demands food, however, when it arrives... he tells his mother how he really feels about her cooking!
The next scene is pretty amazing. Pa Kent decides he's had enough of Clark's sass, and so he puts him over his knee for a paddlin'. It doesn't quite go according to plan.
The following morning, Superboy decides to attend school... in costume. He crashes through the window and demands that the teacher learn him something. She puts on a filmstrip about King Arthur yanking Excalibur out of the stone. Superboy has had enough and decides to lash out... and even teach his "classmates" a new poem.
Outside he rings the school bell which draws all of the students out of the building. Superboy's next trick is... using his super-breath to blow down the schoolhouse! He also finishes his poem... "No more teacher's sassy looks?!" I don't remember it going that way... growing up it was always "No more teacher's dirty looks" I dunno, maybe that was the New York variation.
Superboy returns home and has himself an apple. Pa runs in and threatens to call the police... to which, Superboy yanks the phone out of the wall. To further ensure his parents don't squeal, he proceeds to dig a moat all around the farm... which, would definitely buy him... what, a half-hour? When he finishes digging, he notices through the use of telescopic vision that the military has declared him public enemy number one (which seems to happen quite a bit). At the proving grounds, the soldiers are taking aim at Superboy statues... which they made really quick, right? I mean, the kid first appeared... yesterday!
Seconds later, Superboy arrives at the grounds... and topples all of the statues. The soldiers proceed to just riddle him with ballistics. That doesn't work out too well. Superboy swipes the statues and deposits them at the Kent farm.
Days later, Superboy flies out to the Rock of Gibraltar. He is met by a naval fleet, and so he lifts the entire rock out of the water and slams it down creating a terrific splash. As he heads home, he sort of gets his wits back about him. He doesn't understand what he's doing flying over the ocean... and so, he returns home.
He throws on his Clark Kent duds, and heads to school... oh wait a sec, the school is just a pile of rubble! The best part of this is, the teacher is conducting class in the middle of a field... with a chalkboard and all! Before Clark can mingle with the group, he is bum rushed by his father and some FBI agents. Pa Kent spills the beans about his son's dual identity... and poor Clark gets cuffed.
The FBI agent reads Clark his list of crimes... and somehow, the boy puts two and two together... realizing the meteor was Red Kryptonite. He recalls the events of the past few days, and comes to the conclusion that all of his crimes had to do with "rocks". Oooh. He begs the G Men to let him off the hook, and he will fix everything he'd broken... and, wow... they do!
After all is set right, Superboy knows that there's no going back to the way things were. His secret's out... and everybody is afraid of him. He decides to exile himself from Earth... and find his home elsewhere.
Our second tale (tail?) starts with Krypto taking off from Smallville and heading into space, where he destroys a bunch of meteors. We shift to the planet Mogar, where some Lanthian scientists are loading a dog into a rocket. The pup wears Lanthia's flag like a cape, so that these fellas can send her to the moon... and then claim it in the name of their nation. Sounds pretty solid, right? Oh yeah, and the dog will likely die upon impact... so, there's that.
Elsewhere on Mogar, we join Lanthia's arch-enemies, the (fruit?) Rollops. They are watching the doggy launch, and are lamenting the fact that their attempt at sabotage didn't work. Krypto notices the Lanthian craft, and decides to investigate. He sees what's about to happen to this "cute" dog, and decides to redirect the craft back to Mogar and lands it safely.
After landing (and an introduction... her name is Kolli, by the way), the Rollops approach with the goal of killing the pink pup. Krypto ain't gonna cotton to all that, and so, pulls the (cement?) rug out from under them.
After the Rollops run away, Krypto remembers that there is a planet with a super-power giving pond. He asks Kolli if she'd like some powers, and she's down with it. He flies her to the planet of Zena, and directs her to drink.
She laps up the magical water... and, wouldn'tcha know it, she's now got superpowers! She can fly, and even has x-ray vision. She sees a giant skeleton deep underground, and decides to dig it up so she can have a bone. Moments later, she bumps into Krypto... which, to his surprise, hurts him! He's lost his superpowers!
Krypto wracks his brain to understand what's going on. He concludes that because of Kolli's newfound powers, mixed with science, his powers have been stolen. Moments later a lightning-breathing dragon-ish thing attacks. Kolli launches into action while Krypto flees. Clumsily, Krypto runs into a boulder... and the boulder splits! His powers are back?
Krypto now realizes that as long as Kolli is nearby, his powers will be gone... and so, he decides to desert her on this dangerous planet. What a dog! We wrap up with both pups looking skyward crying over their losses and what might have been.
Now... if I were to tell you we've got a pair of stories, one has Superboy acting erratically due to exposure to Red Kryptonite... and the other is a romance story starring Krypto, which one would you think was the Imaginary Story?
Had a lot of fun with this issue... as ridiculous as it was. There's something to be said for the simplicity of the Silver Age. These stories just "happen"... there isn't a need to explain everything to the nth degree, things are just accepted. Superboy's origin is told in four panels... and it's ridiculous, but even looking at it with 2017 eyes, I accepted it and moved along into the story.
I don't have much experience with Imaginary Stories... and I'm not one who subscribes to the "aren't they all?" philosophy. I think the first time I saw that Moore quote I thought it was pretty mind-blowing... that sensation has passed. I think there is a marked difference between a silly story a writer wants to tell, and a story which adds to the overall lore of a character or franchise. Imaginary Stories are all in good fun... they're harmless, though, I will say that if I were a kid in 1966 waiting for the next issue of Superboy... and received a "fake" story, I'd probably be disappointed. Hell, maybe not... I dunno. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that if I plopped down $3.99 for an issue of a contemporary book, and it turned out to be a story that "didn't happen" or "didn't matter", I'd feel ripped off. I'm probably comparing apples to elephants at this point, so I should just move along.
Our main story provided so many moments that I actually struggled with what pictures to include. There was so much fun, and so many great lines... I think to get the full effect, folks are going to have to actually track down the issue. So weird, crazy, and fun. You gotta wonder if artists were chomping at the bit to draw Superboy as a delinquent. I would assume the creative team had a ton of fun here too.
The backup story... that "really happened". Oy. Lotsa leaps of logic here... and yeah, I understand how silly that sounds when we're discussing literal "puppy love". At the end of the day, this wasn't written for a dude in his mid-30's to unpack and analyze... it was fun, less fun than the Scoundrel of Steel, but fun enough. I think the neatest part was that it was written by Jerry Siegel. I have precious little from him in my (single issue, non-reprint) library. Even though the issue is ridiculous, it still feels like I'm holding a piece of history.
Overall... ehh. If you come across any Silver-Age book for a buck or two, of course I'm gonna say you should consider nabbing it. I doubt this has been collected, and as far as I can tell, it hasn't been made available digitally. A fun little book, worth a look if you happen across it. Just be prepared to disengage your contempo-comics fan mind.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Tales of the Teen Titans #50 (February, 1985)
"We Are Gathered Here Today......."
Writer/Co-Plotter/Editor - Marv Wolfman
Penciller/Co-Plotter/Editor - George Perez
Embellishers - Mike DeCarlo & Dick Giordano
Letterer - John Costanza
Colorist - Adrienne Roy
Special Thanks - Carol Flynn
Cover Price: $1.25
Well, yesterday we saw Terry Long at his worst... I could say he's always "the worst", but the poor fella's unceremonious demise was the lowest of the low. Today we're going to celebrate him at his best... his wedding to Donna Troy!
We open on Paradise Island... the Temple of Athena to be specific. Inside Hippolyta has been praying for several days by this point. I'd make a snarky remark that she was praying for something unpleasant to happen to Terry Long, but today's not the time for that. Speaking of Mr. Long, we shift to the palatial Dayton Estate where his wedding ceremony is scheduled to occur that very same day.
Beast Boy has been tasked with catering the event, and is dutifully directing traffic. Steve Dayton's butler, Questor is somewhat skeptical as to whether or not young Gar is up to the job. His fears are only compounded when he sees the green lad greet one of the scheduled entertainers... Bonzo the Clown! The Q-Man attempts to intervene, but Gar informs him that the man in the big shows is there to entertain the fifteen children who will be attending! Maybe our boy is capable of pulling this off after all!
With the Clown outta the way, several other vendors begin ganging up on Gar. Questor offers to step in for a bit so Beast Boy can take himself a shower. As Logan leaves, Questor expresses disappointment in the way the vendors are conducting themselves... It's nice to see him proud of (and sticking up for) Gar.
We shift scenes to the home of Adeline and Joe Wilson. Mom wakes up, and goes to wake up her son... only to find that he's been awake quite some time. Joey has spent the night working on Donna and Terry's wedding gift... a painted portrait of the happy couple! Adeline presses Joey to allow her to set up a gallery showing for his work... but he doesn't feel he's ready just yet.
We shift again... this time to Raven, and she'zZzzzZzzZzzz *snort* oops, sorry about that, dozed off... she's in that Azar dimension... and I'm very bored.
|Yeah, c'mon Azar... give us a break here...|
Next Titan we check in on is our pal Vic. He's headed toward the wedding with his date, Sarah from the Special School. He is worried that he will stand out, given his appearance. She insists that he's got nothing to worry about.
Back at Dayton's, a very tackily-dressed Gar relieves Questor of his duties. The butler heads in to check on Mr. Dayton... who is having a pretty rough time of it these days. The former Mento has something of an addiction to his old helmet. Questor reminds Steve that he'd made a promise to Logan. More on that later.
Next stop, the bridesmaids' room, where some familiar faces are getting all dolled up. Of note, we've got Starfire and Lilith... and every time I read this scene, I remember that Terra was supposed to be part of it. The ladies are chatting, and our old friend caveboy Gnarrk gets name-dropped!
They also mention that Donna is engaging in some "girl talk" with her sister... Wonder Woman! Seems as though Donna's got a belly full'a butterflies... which, I would attribute to nausea having to live with Terry Long for the rest of her life (okay, okay...). Diana asks a few of the key "wedding day" questions, and between them they conclude that she's making the right choice.
Moments later, Dick Grayson checks in with the bridal party... and finally in on Donna herself. This is a wonderful little scene, where we see how much Dick and Donna love each other. It's really an amazing few panels.
We shift to the courtyard, where the ceremony is just about to begin. Terry is chatting with his family and posing for pictures. It isn't long before the music starts to play.
As the bridal party begins making their way down the aisle, we see some familiar faces... including the creators of the book! Hey, even Elmira from the orphanage Donna stayed up showed up. It's nice to see she's still talkative. Finally at the alter, Dick gives Donna away.
The ceremony proper begins, and the couple read their vows. This two-page piece is particularly well done! And so, Terry Long and Donna Troy become man and wife.
After the ceremony, Gar runs heads out to see that the reception gets off to the right start. Questor notices some suspicious rippling in the pool, and heads over to shoo whoever might be loitering outta the water. He's surprised to find Garth and Tula... the aqua-teens (no, not those)... and, yeah... they're naked.
At the reception, Gar is emceeing and introducing the bridal party. Once Terry and Donna are announced, the music for their first dance begins... it's Annie's Song by John Denver, by the way.
Before long, the dance floor fills up... giving us the perfect opportunity for some cameos! We've got former Titans, Mal "Guardian" "Herald" "Hornblower" "Vox" Duncan and his wife Karen, Clark Kent and... Lana Lang... oh yeah, almost forgot this was pre-Crisis where Clark and Lana were a "thing"... also, we've got Sting? How about that, eh? I thought it might'a been John Constantine! Anyhoo, while this is going on, Vic is surprised that nobody seems to notice that he's mostly machine. Maybe Special School Sarah was right...
While Lilith chats with the Duncans, she gets an eerie feeling... at that very same moment, Questor feels a similar sensation coming from one of the "secondary" rooms. Elsewhere Roy and Wally are discussing how there're so few originals left in their "club".
We shift to Dick Grayson leaning over the balcony... he is soon joined by Bruce Wayne! Bruce notices that Dick's preoccupied, and inquires what's up. This is during the time where Bruce was trying to adopt Jason Todd... and Dick feels a bit strange because Bruce never tried adopting him. Sounds reasonable. The two work it all out, and it... like much of this issue... is quite touching. They end by toasting to both the Titans and the Outsiders.
Elsewhere, Vic is thinking on how nobody has mentioned that he's... ya know, a cyborg. He grows suspicious and heads over to Beast Boy. Here we learn that Gar asked Mento to don the terrible helmet to shield the way Vic really appears! Guess that was the favor... anyhoo, Vic becomes enraged and stomps away.
Ready for more cameos? Cuz we got some! Donna and Terry meet up with Hank and Don Hall, the original Hawk and Dove! Elsewhere, Dick Grayson runs into his old friend... Duela Dent! Wouldn't recognize her, as she's put on a few... Dick also realizes that she's far too old to be Two Face's daughter. She's all "duh"... but refuses to elaborate.
Back at the pool, several former Titans discuss "bringing the band back together"... that is, Titans West. Aqualad, Aquagirl, Golden Eagle and (the Golden Age) Bat-Girl, think on it... before realizing that some things are best left in the past.
Back to the balcony, and now it's Gar having himself a sulk. It isn't long before he's joined by a repentant Cyborg. Vic apologizes for overreacting, and the pals shake and make up.
Inside, Jericho is rocking out with the Waldos... and I dunno why I think that's so funny. Donna and Terry are looking on, however are pulled away... to that secondary room, where Questor and Lilith felt those bad vibes. They enter to find... Hippolyta! She is there to bless their union.
Time passes, and the day grows to its conclusion. After cutting the cake and the ceremonial tossing of the bouquet and garter belt, the guests begin to file out. The Titans remain and present Gar with a "Master Caterer" medal. Gar's old girlfriend, Jillian gives him a peck on the cheek to boot!.
Before we leave... I gotta mention that we get a look at the guest book. Several familiar names fill it... mostly, creative team members and their families. Of particular interest, some Titans super-fans were also included... such as one, Rob Liffield. Misspelling aside, yeah... it's that Rob Liefeld! Apparently, he was asked to send in a photo so he could be included as a guest... but he took too long to mail one to George Perez. Whoops... what could'a been.
|It's Rob Liffield, Maaaaaaaaaaaan!|
We wrap up with the Longs, Donna and Terry taking off on one of Steve Dayton's private jets... and it's heavily implied their both about to join the Mile-High Club. Guess they can't all end on a high note!
Now, what can I say about one of my favorite issues of all time? Had a wonderful time with this. I've read this story so many times, and it's always a pleasure. It's so well done that even its Terry-centric nature isn't a hindrance to my enjoyment. I also gotta mention that this is one of those books where I notice something new each time I read it.
This read-through made me notice the page where Terry and Donna are reading their vows... with each row of panels, they grow closer together... until the bottom where they share a single panel. Such amazing subtle symbolism to illustrate two becoming one. Though, as I often do, I'll concede that I can be a bit dense... and this may have been completely obvious to everyone but me.
I think this issue has several "themes", family and togetherness among them. The one that stands out to me though, it that of maturation. We can start with Donna and Terry themselves. They are entering into a new phase of life... Donna is now not just a new wife... but a step-mother to Terry's daughter Jennifer. This is perhaps less so in Terry... as it is, this is his second "go round" with the vows.
For the other Titans, let's start with our Master of Ceremonies... Garfield Logan. He accepted the responsibility of catering this entire humongous event... and did so with gusto! Why, even ol' Questor appeared to be beaming with pride for the boy. Everything went swimmingly... and he even made special accommodations for his teammates. Speaking of which... Victor. He had to overcome his fear of how folks would receive his extraordinary appearance. While Gar made it so nobody could tell... Vic didn't know that, and so he actually took the risk... and put himself in an uncomfortable situation to ensure he was there for his friend.
The old Titans West characters, in deciding to let the past remain behind them, showed a great deal of maturity. One would assume that these (still quite young) adults might find comfort being part of a familiar team. It may also give them a reason for being. Understanding that a part of one's life is behind them is something most (young and otherwise) adults struggle with. It might have been a throwaway scene... and I might be (as I do) thinking way too hard on this, but I appreciated its inclusion.
Dick's scenes here are brief... but powerful. Let's start with his bit with Donna. We can see an intrinsic... almost, I dunno... primal (?) love between them. It's not romantic, but something stronger... something permanent. Perez's ridiculously amazing art really punctuated this scene... the pride in Dick's eyes, Donna's lip quivering... man, what an awesome page! Later, we get a scene between Dick and Bruce that... to be honest, I'm surprised didn't happen in the pages of Batman. I guess it just goes to show what a tremendously huge book Titans was at the time. Another great bit... and answered questions that I am sure were on the minds of many'a fan during this era. Why would Bruce adopt Jason and not Dick?
The cameos were a great treat. Even after all my rereads, I was still surprised to see Duela Dent! I can't recall if her nebulous parentage was ever followed up on... but this was a neat little nod to longtime readers.
The only problem I had with this issue, and this is going to sound stupid... is the one-page with Raven. Not that it wasn't well rendered, it's just so often I open an issue of Titans... and there's Raven... knelt atop a craggy outcrop of rocks, with purple and red lightning-filled skies behind her... and it's never interesting (at least not to me). I really could've done without this here. But, hell... if out of a 40 page book, I've only got a problem with one... I think we're doing pretty good.
Overall though... an amazing issue. Wonderful writing and drop-dead gorgeous art. This is truly a celebration of the Titans... New and Original Recipe. The fact that the ceremony wasn't interrupted is another feather in its cap. Gotta consider that releasing a book back in the mid-1980's, with zero action... that's a somewhat risky proposition, right? Especially an extra-sized extra-priced issue like this one. Then again, maybe Jericho wielding an ax is all the action this book needs!
If you haven't read this one... I'd strongly recommend you do. Even if you only know the Titans from their current Rebirth incarnations, this is still something you should read. If you have read this... I'd encourage you to read it again. This is definitely part of my "comics comfort food" diet, and is one that I read (at least) annually. This has been collected, most recently in the Who is Donna Troy? trade paperback. That's a book you just can't go wrong with... it includes another one of my favorites, the titular Who is Donna Troy? from New Teen Titans #38. It has also been made available digitally. Also, like so many DC books from the 1980's... this can be found pretty easily in my favorite format (the single-issue) in the cheap-o (and relatively cheap-o) bins. Do yourself a favor and give it a look!