Teen Titans Spotlight #12 (July, 1987)
Writer – Doug Moench
Penciller – Ernie Colon
Inker – Romeo Tanghal
Letterer – John Costanza
Colorist – Adrienne Roy
Editor – Barbara Randall
Consulting Editor – Marv Wolfman
Cover Price: $0.75
Welcome to another installment of The Life and Times of Terr… er, -y Long? Yup, everybody’s favorite (and not at all annoying) character takes center stage here… while the cover copy says this is a spotlight on Wonder Girl, I think we all know better, right?
It’s morning, and the… Longs are having some breakfast. The pair are discussing the possibility of getting away for a little while. Donna suggests perhaps heading somewhere romantic, to which Terry posits El Salvador! Donna doesn’t quite get it… and so, Terry continues. He’s just received a letter from his friend Denny Heiman who writes about an archaeological dig for Mayan relics and treasures. He even refers to Denny as his “best friend forever”… couldja even begin to imagine the non-stop thrill ride being Terry Long’s B.F.F. must be…
Donna’s not too keen on spending their romantic vacation diggin’ in the dirt… but, it turns out she’s not even invited! It looks like it’s gonna be a boy’s week out. After dealing out a bit of a tongue lashing, Donna excuses herself to go “work off some steam… like a man”, whatever that means.
Well, what that does mean is heading back to Titan’s Tower and pushing her body and powers to the limit. While hoisting a bit of machinery, she considers how phony the fellas can be… even those new-age sensitive types like Phil Donahue and Alan Alda!
During her workout a news report comes over the radio. It would appear that El Salvador is in the midst of a drug war… and so, Donna decides that nope… Terry ain’t goin’ nowhere. Or is he? Donna returns home to find… not Terry, but a letter written by him. He’s already gone! Uh-oh.
Donna notices the letter from Denny on the ground by the table. She picks it up and notices that there are faint marks between the lines, and so decides to channel her inner Dick Grayson, and do some detective work. She heats the letter up… revealing that Denny used the ol’ invisible ink trick. His secret message involves his being held captive… it also pleads with Terry not to come for him, but to instead alert the State Department.
Unfortunately, Terry didn’t know well enough to heat up the paper and instead heads down to El Salvador to play in the sand with his buddy-pal Denny. He is captured in record time. No duh.
Lucky for him, his wife Donna is here to pull his fat outta the fire. She drives to a vantage point and then flies until she can see the smoke from a campfire rise through the trees. That fire comes from an occupied Mayan city, where… Terry is taken into captivity, and tossed into the same hut as his B.F.F. Denny. What luck!
The enemy soldiers/drug lords/whatever the are decide that it’s that time… time to die! And so, they drag Denny out of the hut first. Moments later, they return for Senor Long. He is taken into a clearing where three baddies are about to make like a firing squad, when… Donna swings in to save his bacon. Dammit.
Donna advises Terry to run, while she deflects a hail of bullets with her bracelets. Terry runs off behind her… and falls into a pit. Whoops. Donna waits for the guns to empty before following him down.
She treks through the underground tunnel until she comes across something of an altar. On it sits… the head of Terry Long! I think this is my favorite issue of a comic book ever! A pair of soldiers follow and proceed to fire at Wonder Girl… which proves to be a bad idea. Believing they beheaded her dopey husband, she wrecks’em pretty good. Oh, and Terry’s not dead… he’s just sitting below an altar with his head sticking out because he’s an idiot.
The Longs reconnoiter and decide to try and save Denny… that is, if he’s still alive. They work their way through the tunnel, and find themselves before a well-guarded temple. Donna starts like she’s going to take out the army all by her lonesome, but Terry stops her… after all, just how many bullets can she hope to stop with her bracelets, right? She suggests heading further into the tunnels and burrowing up behind the baddies. And so, she does!
She runs up behind a tank and flips it onto a Jeep with hopes that it would crush the Jeep’s gas tank. With all the pieces in place, she lights a match, and…
Donna and Terry regroup and briefly celebrate their… victory (?) before the latter asks the former to put on some archaeologist duds as to not tip Denny off as to her dual identity. They head up to the top of the temple, and save Terry’s Best Friend Forever. Donna being the dutiful wife, gives her husband all of the credit… and we wrap up with a corny line that wouldn’t be out of place in a sitcom.
I know it’s cliche to “hate on” Terry Long… but, in reading this issue, I gotta wonder… are the writers in on the joke? I mean he’s written to be such a dippy jerk here. He turns down a romantic getaway with his new bride to hang out with his “best friend forever”… was “Best Friend Forever” even a phrase back in 1987, or is this just some serendipitous silliness? Anyhoo… he heads off to El Salvador just minutes after having an argument about… heading to El Salvador, leaving only a note for his wife. Oy.
But wait, there’s more… he lands in El Salvador and when a truck full of armed militia-types roll up, he doesn’t try to hide or flee… he instead approaches them! This dude truly is the worst. I’m not sure I even wanna discuss the sheer lunacy of him… I dunno, pretending to have been ritualistically decapitated? What in the hell would he hope to gain from such behavior?! Yeesh. Before all of this I thought maybe I (and the lot of us) were just overreacting with our Terry Long disdain… maybe not.
For the overall (non-Terry-focused) issue… hmm. Ya know how sometimes when folks are in dysfunctional relationships, they’re no longer in love with their partner… but instead, in love with the idea of their partner? That’s kinda where I stand with this book. I think the idea of Teen Titans Spotlight is awesome. I mean, who wouldn’t want extra stories and issues from near the peak of the New Teen Titans era? It’s just, in execution… this wasn’t all that great. I am glad it was a done-in-one, because nowadays this romp would be spread over at least four issues… with the same unsatisfying endpoint.
Probably for Titans completionists only.