Teen Titans (vol.2) #14 (1997)

Teen Titans (vol.2) #14 (November, 1997)
“Then & Now, Part 3 of 4”
Story & Art – Dan Jurgens
Finished Art – George Perez w/Larry Stucker
Colorist – Gregory Wright
Enhancement – Digital Chameleon
Letters – Richard Starkings & Comicraft/LA
Associate Editor – Dana Kurtin
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $1.95

Ready to find out who Omen really is?!

Well… about that…

Picking up a handful of minutes after we left off, we open inside of Haze’s “neighborhood”.  We’re with Tempest and Risk as they’re questioning a down and out wino.  They ask him how he came to be here… to which he spins a yarn about Haze tricking him into a date by posing as a pretty young thing.  He claims that there are hundreds of others Haze ganked off the streets here, and also explains that Haze is something of a Psychic Vampire, drawing from his captives to fuel his own powers.

Just then, some of Haze’s rent-a-cops burst on the scene (what, you can’t even chat up a wino anymore?)… Risk is stompin’ for a showdown, but Tempest suggests he settle his tea kettle.  Ya see, if Haze really is feeding off of energy, the last thing they ought to do is expend more of it!  Garth grabs Risk, and they dive into some nearby raw sewage to flee into the sewers.  Man, that Haze has thought of everything… even sewers!

While in the muck, Risk begins to come around to Tempest’s methods… and they make nice.  While attempting to rearrange some pipes, a trap door opens below them… and they fall into the purple “ishy, gooey” water below.  While submerged… they are confronted by their fears… again.  Getting tired of that yet?

We shift scenes to Wally and Prysm, and they get to know one another.  Then… they see some dead bodies, annnnd lights out!  Prysm freaks out, and somehow Wally is now wearing Barry’s version of the Flash costume.  After being confronted by the Jupiter Father and Son, Wally is overcome with the lightning bolts on his costume… and Prysm is wrapped up in an outfit not unlike Doomsday’s original duds post-break out.

Next stop, Nightwing and Argent.  They dodge some gliders as they attempt to infiltrate a tower.  Get this… Dick is confronted by Batman… again.  Argent is haunted by generic-looking aliens, all claiming to be her biological father.

Dick seems like he’s going to be able to snap out of it… but is then attacked by Haze himself!  Haze resorts to some dirty tricks and puts Dick in a state of Vertigo, before kayoing him with right fist.  He then backhands Argent before dragging Dick away with him.  Argent is left behind because… really, why would you need her?  Devin Grayson ain’t writing the book yet.

Next… Arsenal and Joto.  You remember all the chuckles when we found out this dude’s name was “Joto”?  Weird stuff.  I suppose I ought to mention that Joto is Swahili for “Heat”… which makes sense.  Don’t urban dictionary it though.  Anyhoo, Isaiah and Roy plan to fire a bolt into Haze’s tower after Joto works his mojo on it… this way they (or he) can “see” inside.  Despite Roy’s crossbow not having the penetration power of his old bow, Isaiah is able to get a snippet of what’s going on.

Turns out, however, that’s all a ruse!  The real Haze isn’t even there… in fact, he’s here!  Haze hits Roy with an awkward-looking superkick before haunting Isaiah with visions of Argent.  After giving Joto the kayo, Haze haunts Speedy with… you’ll never guess… visions of his time as a — junkie?!  It must really suck to have like one event in your life define you from that point on.

Anyhoo… we next check in on Atom and Omen… lotta four-letter team-members here… Atom, Omen, Joto, Risk… hmm.  Argent comes to, and sees them… however, they don’t see her.  Before she can call out, they disappear.  We wind up inside Haze’s “office”, where he has his collection of Teen Titans… new and old.  Also, Mr. Jupiter.  He sends his rent-a-cops off to find Omen… but, not so fast, kemosabe… just then, the Atom tears the roof off the place.

Haze is initially rather surprised (perhaps even impressed) with the fact that the Atom can now grow huge.  Then… it’s hoo-doo time!  Ray is haunted by the laughter of his former JLA teammates.  This gimmick, man… getting tired.  Haze then threatens to kill Mr. Jupiter in front of everyone.

Suddenly the Titans are able to move again… and Omen is revealed to be… Raven!  No, make that Phantasm!  Err, maybe Lilith!  Um, or the Hornblower!  Ya see, each Titan sees Omen as a different person!  The newbies are as confused as we are!

So, yeah… the gimmick is kinda getting played out.

How many pages do we need to spend on the Titans (new and old) being confronted with their fears of letting people down?  I think we all get it by now.  Perhaps if these visions added anything new I’d feel different… but, really… it’s just the mentors telling the Titans that they’re failures over and over again.  Well, that and Argent’s dad might be an alien.

It feels a little bait-n-switchy on the Omen reveal… which might be a weird thing to say in 2018… we’ve known who Omen really is for over 20 years at this point (where did my life go?).  I mean, it’s some good intrigue, I suppose… but, not the payoff promised in last issue’s “blurb”.

Really not much more to say about this one, I mean… it’s a “Part 3 of 4”, we’re just putting pieces in place.  At least not anything that we won’t expand on tomorrow when we wrap this up.  Is it worth checking out?  Sure… I mean, the gimmick is beyond played out… and it feels a bit like we’re filling pages… but, I feel like there is a solid story worth being told at its core.

We’ll wrap up “Then & Now” tomorrow!

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