New Teen Titans #34 (1983)

New Teen Titans #34 (August, 1983)

“Endings… and Beginnings!”
Writer/Co-Creator – Marv Wolfman
Layouts/Co-Creator – George Perez
Finisher – Romeo Tanghal
Letterer – Todd Klein
Colorist – Adrienne Roy
Editor – Len Wein
Cover Price: $0.60

Every New Year’s Day over the past several years, it would happen.  Like clockwork, I’d resolve to pick up on my writing/blogging again… going as far as actually setting up a new blog every year.  One year it would be my Justice League International Bwa-ha-blog!, the next my From Claremont to Claremont X-Men blog…

With the subject of my latest batch of reviews, it’d probably be little surprise to learn that this year, I was planning on a New Teen Titans read-thru blog.  I’m happy to finally have a place where I can write about some of these excellent stories… and happy to be able to share the next chapter in The Life and Times of Tara Markov.

Don’t worry… I’m not going All-Titans, All-the-time…

Guess we should be thankful he was wearing anything at all under the robe!

We open with the reintroduction of an old friend.  Wintergreen delivers a precious tiny drink to one Slade Wilson… Deathstroke the Terminator.  They chat about his still-pending H.I.V.E. contract on the Titans, Slade’s ex-wife Adeline, and his dumping of a video game company stock… did Deathstroke forsee the video game crash of 1983?

We shift to Titans Tower, where a despondent Terra is on monitor duty.  We see her fellow Titans lurking in the hallway… before they surprise her with a sweet sixteen birthday celebration!

The sarcastic gal actually appears to be moved by the sentiment, however, quickly twists the thoughtful gesture into a way for her to complain about still being something of an outsider among the group… because she doesn’t have her own chair in the meeting room, and isn’t yet privy to the Titans secret-identities.  Thanks for suckin’ the air outta the room, kid.

One Titan is missing from the party… the team leader, Robin!  He’s somewhere out toward Montauk breaking into drug-lord Scarapelli’s compound with the beanie-wearing District Attorney, Adrian Chase.  Robin expresses discomfort that he’d agreed to actually “break in”… it’s easy enough for the pair to finally corner the fat man.  Dick is surprised to find out that the whole time, Chase was packin’ an arrest warrant with Scarapelli’s name on it.  Robin being duly deputized is able to arrest the man… and does so, but he ain’t happy about it.

Back at Terra’s (pity) party, she plays up her “woe is me” backstory… only to learn that Starfire had been a slave for five years, and Raven is the daughter of a demon.  Donna tells her that a troubled childhood is hardly a novelty among the Titans.

Donna excuses herself… she’s gotta give Terry her answer as to whether or not she’ll marry him.  Along the way, she meets a deep-in-thought Kid Flash.  He thinks he’s finally made an important decision himself, and he’ll likely be transitioning off the team in the near future.

We get a brief look at the Terminator as he stalks his latest target… some Wall Street bigwig.

At City Community College we witness a clearly mentally deficient co-ed throw herself at Terry Long.  Boy, is she disappointed when Ms. Troy sashays into the scene wearing the rock he gave her.  Don’t look so glum, Sally… you don’t know the milquetoast bullet you just dodged.

Donna and Terry take a walk through the park so they can go neck.  Nearby we see an elderly couple smiling at their public display of affection.  I’d have to believe the old fella (whose name appears to be Romeo) is only smiling because after seeing one old man pick up a young lass, he knows there’s still hope for him.

Move along, Romeo… nothin’ to see here… trust me…

Back at the Tower, Terra’s gone into full blown tantrum mode… tears and all.  She threatens to walk if the Titans don’t cough up their secret id’s… and gives them a one-week ultimatum.  Damn T, dial it back a touch, eh?

Amid the tears, the phone rings.  It’s Sarah-from-the-Special-School, and she’d like to talk to Vic.  Vic is all “pshhh, woman“, and Gar tells her Vic would love to talk to her… but he’s on the toilet.  Does/can Vic use a toilet?  Anyhoo, Sarah’s fiance Mark is none too pleased to see his betrothed trying to call another man… so he gets a bit physical.  Luckily, Sarah can take care of herself just fine, and knees him in the crotch before tossing his skinny ass out of her apartment.  Guess he wasn’t as nice a dude as we thought…

Back at the Tower (man, I’m saying that a lot today), Gar and Tara’s conversation is interrupted by a video screen message from… Deathstroke the Terminator.  He’s got a hostage, and offers a trade… his captive’s life for the lives of the Titans.  Who does he think he’s talking to, the Doom Patrol?  Well, I guess, technically, he is talking to a Doomie.  Anyhoo, Terra seeing this as her big opportunity to show her stuff, karate chops Gar, and heads out to stop Deathstroke all by her lonesome.

Moments later, Deathstroke is shocked to see he’s being attacked by some little girl.  They have a pretty awesome battle that sees Terra use her powers with great precision, and Deathstroke parry with his wits and arsenal.  

This goes on just long enough for the Titans cavalry to hit the scene.  Through some Titanic teamwork, Slade winds up held by an earthen fist… which appears to be Terra’s “go to move”.  Deciding it’s better to live to fight another day, Deathstroke uses his power staff to cause a potentially fatal explosion.  When the dust clears, he’s nowhere to be found.

Terra, still shaken by the event, excuses herself.  She’d like to be alone for a moment.  Behind her, the Titans realize that Terra is now “officially” one of them… and they’ll tell her everything she wants to know tomorrow.

We follow Terra… follow her back to the horrid little Brooklyn apartment where she was being held captive by the terrorists.  She’s not alone, however… she smiles, and removes her mask.

… and we learn that she’s been working with Deathstroke, the whole time.

After that sobering bit, we close out the issue with Robin and Chase having a contentious back and forth.  Robin feels used, and Chase is all “whattayagonnado?”  The issue ends with Adrian Chase’s apartment exploding… a story which will be picked up in the 1983 New Teen Titans Annual… which we will not be covering.  (psst… he survived)

Well, there it is.

This is such a great way to reveal Terra’s double-agent status.  If I’m not mistaken, it’d been a couple of years since we’d last seen Deathstroke at this point… having Terra first arrive on the scene during the interim… and acting as though she doesn’t know who or what this “Who’sinator” is was perfect!

What’s better yet, is that Terra hasn’t exactly “crossed the line” yet.  Yeah, we know she’s infiltrated the team at the behest of the Titan’s worst enemy… but, there isn’t any blood on her hands just yet.  It’s not too late for her to reform… to turn on Slade and show her true allegiance to her fellow Titans.

The fact that this is all occurring on Terra’s birthday makes the situation all the more poignant.  The Titans show Terra that they care… like, for real… will that stay in the back of her head?  Will she remember that these are… her friends, when it comes time to decide whether or not to “pull the trigger”?  So much wonderful ambiguity.  I could not imagine reading this as it was released… waiting (at least) a month Terra’s story to continue would have been torture!

In other news… We learn that Sarah-from-the-Special-School’s fiance may not be as nice a dude as he appeared to be when Vic met him on New Year’s Eve.  We also learn that Terry Long’s students throw themselves at him… which, in my opinion, renders them far too stupid to be attending college.  We also learn that… hey, Adrian Chase is kind of a jerk.  Go figure!

The clock is ticking closer to midnight… just one more stop on the road to Judas… and it’s a doozy!

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