New Teen Titans #28 (1983)

New Teen Titans #28 (February, 1983)

“Terra in the Night”
Writer/Co-Creator – Marv Wolfman
Artist/Co-Creator – George Perez
Inker – Romeo Tanghal
Letterer – John Costanza
Colorist – Adrienne Roy
Editor – Len Wein
Cover Price: $0.60

On next week’s Cosmic Treadmill segment on the Weird Science DC Comics Podcast, Reggie and I are gonna break down the Judas Contract.  Figure I’d try and work a little sorta-kinda comics-blog-synergy by covering some Terra-centric issues of New Teen Titans. 

So, let’s roll on with more of the “Life and Times of Tara Markov”.

We open with Terra fleeing from the Bank of Greater New York with several bags of cash.  No worries though, a flirtatious  Changeling is hot on her trail.  This is really a cute scene… Terra’s unflinchingly serious about her caper, while Gar is… for lack of a better term, picking her up.  Just as in her first appearance, Terra claims that she not acting of her own volition.  She expands on that here… if she doesn’t commit these crimes, her parents will be killed.

We shift scenes to Brother Blood’s Cathedral of Death… it’s hard to believe that people ever willingly followed a fella who went by the name “Brother Blood”… it’s like getting your prostate checked by a “Doctor Doom”.  Inside, Sister Sade, follower and occasional lover of da Brudda envisions herself wrapped in snakes… scaring herself literally to death.  

Another follower gets a bug up his ass and starts shooting up the rest of the crew.  Luckily, a few other followers enter and are able to take him out.  They struggle to wrap their minds around what’s brought about this sudden fear attack… and the Brotherhood of Evil present themselves.  What follows is a decent exhibition of powers by the baddies.

We shift scenes to the penthouse apartment of Wonder Girl and Starfire.  Following a rather tasteful Donna Troy in the shower scene, Dick Grayson arrives for his date with Kory.  Donna eludes to the fact that her teammates are perhaps about to get it on, and excuses herself to have her own date with… Terry Long.

Meanwhile, at the Central Park Zoo Terra is still fleeing.  Terra uses her powers and winds up accidentally freeing all of the lions.  Lucky for her, Changeling in the form of an elephant is in the vicinity, and he neutralizes the feline threat.  Amid the distraction, he bops Terra on the head and, taking the form of a large bird, flies off with her.

So much for the afterglow… back at Kory’s apartment, Dick is lamenting the fact that reporter Bethany Snow is always on their case.  He even goes so far as to say he’d like to pop her in the nose.  This all plays in with the ongoing Brother Blood plot, and it appears that Dick will check in with the Titans on-again off-again associate Adrian Chase to follow up.

Back at Titans Tower, Raven’s meditation is interrupted by one Wallace West.  He’s upset that, by all appearances, his buddy Dick’s got it all together… if only he could see him now, eh?  They hear a frantic Changeling call for assistance, and hop to attention.  He’s brought Terra to the Tower, in hopes that the Titans may help her locate her missing parents.

Terra, feisty thing she is, socks Gar in the gut and attempts to flee.  Wally uses his super speed to make a vortex of air around her head, which robs her of oxygen.  This is a neat way to use his powers, I don’t think I’ve seen it since.  Terra continues to run her mouth as she hits the ground… right at the feet of Cyborg.  

She still ain’t done, however… she lets out one final earthy assault, before… unmasking and breaking down.  She shares the story of her parents.  They are heads of a foreign nation, and she also has a brother named Brion.  Hmm, I think there’s an Outsider named Brion… with Earth powers… I wonder… Anyhoo, there’s a gang who she’s supposed to report to in order to keep her folks safe.

We shift scenes (I’m saying that a lot today) to the apartment of our main man… Terry Long.  Donna enters while Terr’ is hashing things out with his ex-wife.  Donna, being ya know, a decent person offers to leave.  Terry, being a selfish twit, insists she stay.  Marcia, the ex-wife makes an offhand (but totally accurate) comment about how young Donna is in comparison to her milquetoast former hubby.

We also meet Terry’s daughter, Jenny.  She hands her pop a drawing she made of him, which looks almost too good to be him, and inquires about the tall, dark Amazon standing in the living room.  They conclude that Donna is “daddy’s friend”, and Wondy takes that as her cue to jet.

Next stop, the subway… where the Titans are about to confront the gang threatening Terra’s parents.  It’s not a terribly long or difficult battle… one of the hoods claims that the parents have been… dead the whole time.  The whole deal ends with Terra using her powers to create a giant earthen fist to crush the baddies.

Gar hops to and gets Terra to cool her jets.  They embrace and she calms down.  The Titans seem to have too many questions to truly celebrate this victory… they all feel (Raven especially) as though something isn’t quite right here…

Another great issue from THE classic run on the Titans.  Just so many things done right here.  I used to think, coming from my X-Laden adolescence that nobody in comics could do superhero soap-opera better than Chris Claremont.  It wasn’t until “discovering” this run that I began to think otherwise.  From the pacing and dialogue, to the dynamic art be it in civvies or spandex… this was such a great time for Titans fans… I lament the fact that I was barely 4-years old when this hit the racks.  Gotta wonder how my “comics upbringing” would have went had I been at the right age for a book like this.

I mentioned “soap opera” just now… and please don’t take that as a slight.  I mean it in the best possible way.  Ya see, around the turn of the century, my girlfriend-now-wife introduced me to this wacky thing called Days of Our Lives.  Yeah, yeah, yeah… it’s not that it’s a great show… (please don’t get it twisted, I’m not comparing Titans to Days on a quality basis) but there’s a format to it… that is quite similar to the way New Teen Titans is paced.  It’s almost completely comprised of vignettes… disparate scenes that advance individual plots, sometimes crossing over with others… sometimes not.  I guess that argument can be made for “most comics”, but for whatever reason, I feel it most appropriate here.

Here we bounce from Gar and Terra’s story, to Dick and Kory’s, to Wally and Raven’s, to Donna and… Terry’s, before everything comes to a climax.  Masterfully done, none of the characters feel left out… and 23 pages later, you actually feel like progression has occurred.  I know I’m not communicating this as eloquently as a more talented writer would… but, hopefully you get the jist of what I’m trying to get across.

I mentioned yesterday that the Kory-Dick romance was the “one thing” missing from contemporary post-Rebirth Titans… it really didn’t take me long to reconsider that!  Changeling is most definitely missing as well… and I know he’ll be a TEEN Titan, but he really belongs with the Titans gang.  I’d also say I want Cyborg on the team… but, gotta face facts… at this point, we ain’t never getting him back.

The Terra storyline progresses nicely here.  I really enjoy how all the pieces fall perfectly into place… You can tell that this arc was planned out well in advance.  Marv Wolfman himself said that he and George Perez had the Terra plot planned out to completion before even introducing the character.  That’s truly amazing… I guess that’s just something that could be done before the Internet took over.  These days, they’d spoil the whole thing months in advance.  If I could change one thing here… just one, I’d change the final panel where Raven senses “something” about Terra.  Or, maybe move her thoughts to a different page.  Having the issue end with those thoughts, I dunno, kinda gives something away… to be fair, I’m reading this three decades later… and for the skatey-eight hundredth time… so, it could be just me.

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