Titans #29 (2001)

Titans #29 (July, 2001)
“Kid Stuff”
Writer – Jay Faerber
Penciller – Paul Pelletier
Inkers – Bud LaRosa & Dennis Janke
Letterer – John Costanza
Colorist – Gregory Wright
Separations – Heroic Age
Assistant Editor – Harvey Richards
Editor – Andrew Helfer
Cover Price: $2.50

Last week, before my trip… I introduced you to the D.E.O. Kids (or the D.E.Orphans as someone on Twitter dubbed them).  We left with them being sent away… but returning just a couple of pages later.  Let’s see what they’ve gotten themselves into…

We open with Tempest arriving home to Atlantis to meet with his new wife, Dolphin and new baby, Cerdian… and boy does she give him an earful.  They get into it a bit about his not ever being home… which gives him the opportunity to catch us all up on the recent goings-on at Titans Tower (ie. The D.E.Orphans).  She ain’t buying much of it… and implies that her hubby’s priorities are all sorts of outta whack.  Just then… wouldn’tcha know it, his Titans Communicator starts beeping.

Back at Titans Tower, the gang is trying to figure out what to do with their returned house guests.  If you recall, last issue Donna dropped them off with Child Services… only to find that they beat her back to Titans Tower.  Dick asks how they did it… but doesn’t get much of a response… so, they get locked in the Conference Room until they decide to fess up.

Worth noting (I guess), Argent is taking Apex… which might be a dietary supplement… might be COCAINE?!!!… not sure yet.  Either way, it makes her feel great.

Left to their own devices, the D.E.Orphans start arguing among themselves, until… they begin to exhibit their super-powers… natch.

The Titans rush back into the Conference Room to calm the kids down… amid the confusion, Nikki (the Autistic child) wanders out of the room…

… and into an elevator, passed some pervy repairmen… and into the Titans’ Sys-Ops security center.  Where she uses her nebulous powers to cause the Towers’ defenses to go pretty crazy.

We get a few pages of the Titans trying to fight off their own security measures… and see that none of said measures are trying to inhibit the D.E.Orphans.  They immediately deduce that Nikki is probably behind the fracas, and head off to find her.

On their way to the Sys-Ops center, they pass by those same repairmen, one of whom is currently having a heart attack.  Grace tells Eli to use his “stupid-power” to slow down the man’s heart so it doesn’t explode out of his chest.

The Titans finally arrive to help the kids with the repairman… and Eli goes along to the hospital with them to keep that heartbeat on pace.  Elsewhere, Grace and Donna find Nikki… it’s confirmed that she has Austism… and Donna starts having either pangs of the maternal variety… or maybe it’s just guilt.

Either way… later that evening, the Titans discuss what they ought to do with their orphan-infestation.  Epsilon (the non-Titan) offers his two-cents… which Dick quickly shuts down.  Donna, however, sides with the geek… and thinks maybe they should house the kids.

Dick thinks on it a bit… and actually considers that these D.E.Orphans might just be the next generation of Titans (heaven help us).  Buuuuut, none of the Titans know anything about dealing with an Autistic child.  Donna’s all “ehhh, we’ll figure it out”, which seems like a well-thought out and highly responsible thing to say, considering the Autistic girl nearly killed everyone in the Tower earlier that day.

They put it to a vote (that we’re not privy to), and it turns out the “ayes” had it… the D.E.Orphans can stay.  Hoo-rah?

Later yet, we join the D.E.Orphans hanging out at the docks when… something approaches!  They rush off to inform Tempest, who is just as surprised to find that… it’s Dolphin and his son.  Worse yet… they’re moving in!

Welp, we’ve only known the D.E.Orphans for about twenty minutes… and they’ve already worn out their welcome.  I wonder what sort of wacky hijinks they’ll get into next?!

This is definitely a case of “making chicken salad”, because really… whatcha gonna do when your editor insists you add this painfully uninteresting and unfun element to your comic?  You kinda have to illustrate that they have powers… and that they can “hang” with the rest of the group.  You gotta throw in a flaw or two… I mean, all of the “nuts and bolts” are there… but at the end of the day, it’s still not fun.  It’s still not a group of people I care to read about.  Having the Titans on the periphery… but not as the driving focus here feels kinda like adding insult to injury.

Let’s talk about the potential for things to go wrong for a bit… because that was my main takeaway from this issue.  Nikki, the Autistic girl has demonstrated some pretty amazing powers here… powers, that nearly killed a man… and put the lives of all of the Titans in danger.  Donna’s nonchalance over how they should work with Nikki comes across as rather ignorant.  It really is tantamount to “ehh, we’ll figure it out”.

I mean, I’ve got a saying I use facetiously sometimes… “We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it”… but, that’s said (mostly) as a joke.  This feels pretty much like that, however Donna’s being genuine!  How many near-dead bodies is it going to take to realize that maybe a team of adventurers and crime-fighters might not be the best equipped to educate, aid, and guide a super-powered Autistic child?

… Especially when one of those crime-fighters might be hooked on diet pills???  I kid, I kid… but, I’d pop if we get a scene of a frantic Argent singing “I’m so excited”!

Worth mentioning… still love the art.  Pelletier turns in his normal great work.  The D.E.Orphans still look completely uninteresting, but it doesn’t seem fair to lay that at the artists’ feet.  Feels like there were a few more fingers in the pot than usual when it came to their “design” (or lack thereof).

Overall… can’t really say that this one is “must reading”.  The D.E.Orphans feel like they have enough “staying power” to fill a one-off… and I’m not looking forward to seeing them become a main focus moving forward.

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