New Teen Titans (vol.2) #47 (1988)

New Teen Titans (vol.2) #48 (September, 1988)
“Past Tense”
Writer – Marv Wolfman
Penciller – Kelley Jones
Inker – Romeo Tanghal
Letterer – Albert De Guzman
Colorist – Adrienne Roy
Editor – Barbara Randall
Cover Price: $1.75

Remember when Cousin Oliver showed up on The Brady Bunch?  Well, the Teen Titans had one’a them too!  Today we’re going to meet Danny Chase… which reminds me of the only compliment I could ever give Terry Long…

At least he’s not Danny Chase.

Let’s do it.

We open with the Titans getting their computer system updated by their hippie-dippy IT guy, Peace.  It’s a pretty strange scene.  After tech support heads out, Kory inquires whether she and Dick still have a movie date that evening.  Gonna be a Bogart double feature… or a double-Bogey, if you will.  The other Titans decide a movie night sounds like a good idea, and before we know it… date night becomes gang’s night out.  Everyone’s down to go except Joey, who has a date, and… oh hell, Danny Chase… who has homework.

Later that night, Danny is bored to tears by his schoolwork and decides to head to bed… where he sits awake for awhile.  The full-page spread here is really cool.  We get to see some of Danny’s comic collection (including an issue of Daredevil!  How did that get in here?) along with some assorted comic book related tchotchkes.

Unable to sleep, he rises from bed, pours himself a tall glass of 7-Up, and heads on down to the Titans computer system to see if it has “Archinoid” on it.  I’m guessing the poor dork means Arkanoid, but I’ve been wrong before.  Anyhoo, it’s a moot point anyway… he logs on and decides that perhaps he ought to check out the “Personal Histories” file, which leads to a book that Jericho is writing about all of the team members.  He is startled by Joey’s arrival… home early from his date.  Danny asks him for some advice, but hasn’t a clue how to communicate in ASL.  I should mention that it seems as though Danny’s not the only person logged into the system right now…

Anyhoo, the fellas turn their attention to the computer… the first history we are about to relive is Jericho’s!  He hear about the experiment which granted his father, Slade Wilson his powers.  Joey’s kidnapping, and having his throat slit.  It continues, delving into Adeline’s later life as the founder of Searchers, Inc. and Joey discovering that he had mutant powers of his own.  It’s a real quick ‘n dirty history… which, is kinda the theme this issue.

As Jericho’s story ends, Danny understands that they have a few things in common insofar as where their powers originated from.  He also suggests that perhaps Joey fudge the information a bit in case it finds its way into the wrong hands.  Prophetic boy, that Danny Chase.  Anyhoo, the next history is… ZzzzZzzzZzz… ahem, um… yeah, Raven.  It’s another quick ‘n dirty… her mother Arella was fooled into “getting with” Trigon… Azar trained Raven during her childhood… yadda yadda yadda.  Danny thinks it’s really cool that she is the daughter of a demon… the C.B.I. files on her were rather lacking in information.

Back in the Tower, Danny mentions that he doesn’t think Gar likes him all that much.  Couldn’t imagine how anyone wouldn’t like Danny Chase, but anyhoo… he asks if it’s because the last snot-nosed kid to join the team turned out to be a no-good Judas… Joey’s all “nope, not having this conversation.”

The next history is Vic Stone.  He starts off as a gaudily-dressed high school student who falls in with some bad dudes.  He managed to leave his gang lifestyle behind, went to college and began training for the Olympics… that is, until there was an accident at his parents’ lab.

Next up, Nightwing.  Danny actually yawns… he already knows all about Nightwing… except for, ya know… who he is under the mask and all.  We get the basic information on Batman and Robin, however, Dick has ensured that all real names were changed in Joey’s “history” of him.

After Nightwing comes Starfire!  Hers is a story I find kinda dull.  Not as boring as Raven’s origin, but it’s a lotta Space Princess stuff… which really isn’t my thing.  Titans-in-Space stories are some of my least favorite.  Anyhoo, we hear about Kory and her sister Komand’r… their battles, their being used in experiments, all that jazz.  I should mention that Danny is quite alert and attentive while watching the Kory bits.

When Starfire’s story wraps up, we see that the rest of the Titans have returned for the evening and are watching Danny’s lesson in Titans’ History.

Our final history is Gar Logan, and we revisit his Doom Patrol origin.  His parents, Mark and Marie were researchers, young Gar gets bit by a Green Monkey, and is put under a curative ray… after which, he is able to change his shape.  He would be kidnapped by an African Witch Doctor and forced to commit crimes on his behalf.  After escaping, he joined the Doom Patrol, where he was adopted by Steve Dayton and Rita Farr.  From here he would join several iterations of the Teen Titans.

Danny expresses some regret for busting Gar’s chops… even going so far as to say he feels sorry for him.  He is unaware that Mr. Logan is within earshot… and he ain’t pleased at all by Danny’s words.  During their argument we can see that the other logged-in party has downloaded all the information they require.  Before Gar and Danny can come to blows… the Titans computer, well… blows!

Nightwing calls the team to order and sends them throughout the Tower to see what’s going on.  It looks as though all of Titan’s Tower’s tech has gone haywire!  Even the T-Jet is spewing fire!  The team manages to escape the Tower just as smoke overtakes the place.

We head into the first of two epilogues… in which the hippie-dippy IT guy is taking a look at the Titans’ system to see who or what caused the rather sizable hiccup.  The Titans turn their back for a moment… and then notice a latex mask of the hippie-dippy IT guy laying on their monitor!  There is also a note, informing them that the one behind the tech-attack was the… Wildebeest!

We then head into our second epilogue, in which Danny asks how come there was no Titan History for… uh-oh, Donna Troy!  I thought we already got that answer… but it seems, perhaps DC decided to change the question…

Yeah… not feeling this one.

Not only for the inclusion of the completely unlikable Danny Chase, but for just how unnecessary this entire issue feels.  I mentioned The Brady Bunch in the preamble, but there’s another sitcom similarity we can discuss… the recap episode.  This issue served to fill folks in on the origins of each Titan, framed by a snotty little twit perusing and commentating over computer files.  If I were reading New Teen Titans back in the Summer of 1988, I’d have felt completely ripped off by this issue.

Not only did it feel like filler… it felt like “off” filler.  Like I had to flip back to the title page to make sure Marv Wolfman was listed as writer, because this really doesn’t read like his work.  It’s not bad… it’s just “off”.  Perhaps he was changing his “voice” because much of this issue was supposed to be “written” by Joey… and if that’s the case, I’m down with it.

The art here nice, however I never really glommed onto how odd the colors sometimes look on these Baxter paper books.  Everything looks quite flat because of it.  Throughout this issue, several faces were meant to be shaded, however… the flat coloring made it look almost purposefully ominous when I’m not sure that was ever the intention.

Overall… definitely not my favorite issue of Titans.  Seems like the series is trying to find itself at this point… perhaps treading water until issue #50, where Marv and George move the team into their next status quo.  I feel bad faulting the book for that, however, if I’m paying $1.75 in 1988, I’m thinking I’d expect a bit more.

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