079.Batman Cronologia – Teen Titans – Nightmares Begin

DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 & NEW TEEN TITANS #1

“WHERE NIGHTMARES BEGIN!” |”THE BIRTH OF THE TITANS!”
Writer-Co-Creators-Penciler: Marv Wolfman & George Pérez
Finishers: Dick Giordano (DCP #26) & Romeo Tanghal (NTT #1)
Letterer: Ben Oda | Colorist: Adrienne Roy | Editor: Len Wein
The Plot: In New York City, Robin comes to the aid of the authorities outside S.T.A.R. Labs, where terrorists are holding the building hostage. As Robin attempts to enter S.T.A.R., he finds himself drifting between his current situation and some other reality where he is a member of the Teen Titans alongside his former teammates Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, and Changeling (formerly Beast Boy), as well as three new teens named Cyborg, Raven, and Starfire. In this world, the Titans operate out of Titans’ Tower on an island in the East River, and they’re called into action to defend the city from an otherworldly blob-like organism.

Robin drifts back and forth between scenarios, but realizes the two worlds are connected when he and the Titans ultimately defeat the alien monster at S.T.A.R. Labs. Finally, Robin remains in the original version of New York, without the Titans, and wanders away after defusing the hostage situation, wondering if his encounter with the Titans was a dream. But his departure is observed by the mysterious Raven, who knows that his vision will soon make sense, as the new Teen Titans are part of his destined future.

My Thoughts: There’s a lot crammed into this fourteen page preview story! Starfire, Cyborg, and Raven are all introduced with moments to showcase their powers and, to some extent, their personalities. I’ll spare readers the long of it, since the characters can easily be Googled (and honestly, if you’re here you probably know something about them anyway), but quickly: Raven is a magical character; Starfire is a solar-charged alien; and Cyborg is… a cyborg.

The returning Titans also each have a moment to shine. Wonder Girl is basically Wonder Woman Jr. (complete with her own golden lasso); the green-skinned Changeling can turn into any animal; Kid Flash, like Wonder Girl, is a junior version of his senior partner, the lightning quick Flash; and if you don’t know what Robin’s deal is, that’s your own darn fault.

Wolfman wisely uses Robin as the POV character here, which makes sense since he’s easily the best known Titan. I’m of the belief that every team has its heart, and Dick Grayson, whether as Robin or Nightwing, should fill that role for the Teen Titans. And this is my favorite iteration of Dick, too. I don’t mind him as Nightwing and I enjoy him as Batman’s kid partner, but I love him as Robin the late-teen wonder, the college-age version of the character who spends most of his time at school or with the Teen Titans, and who only occasionally teams up with Batman. This preference is most likely informed by BATMAN: THE ANIMATED series, which was my go-to Batman continuity growing up.

Anyway — though most of the story is devoted to introducing our team and showing them in action, Wolfman drops a couple continuity tidbits into the mix as well, notably the fact that Robin recently quit college, creating a rift between him and Batman, and that the S.T.A.R. scientist who accidentally loosed the alien blob on New York — and who appears in both of Robin’s scenarios — is Professor Stone, Cyborg’s father and the man who turned his son into a half-man/half-machine.

Other than that, there’s really not much more that can be said about a short introductory preview story. The writing is fine and the artwork is decent, though not quite up to the standards I normally expect from George Pérez. This could be due to the fact that he’s inked here by Dick Giordano, whose rougher style doesn’t seem the best match with Pérez’s lush pencils. I believe the majority of Pérez’s Titans work is inked by Romeo Tanghal, and from what I’ve seen, that appears to be a much more favorable pairing.(Apenas essa está na cronologia)

The Plot: Starfire flees to Earth from a slave starship. Meanwhile, Raven gathers Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Changeling, and Cyborg together and the group rescues Starfire from the pursuing slavers. As they stand united, Raven informs the group that they must remain a team to combat some impending future threat of which only she is aware.

Unbeknownst to them, the group is observed by a young man named Grant Wilson, who had briefly harbored Starfire during her flight and who saw his apartment destroyed for his trouble, along with a shadowy figure representing a group called the H.I.V.E., which promises to destroy the new Titans for Grant.

My Thoughts: DC COMICS PRESENTS 26 was a “sneak preview” of the Titans, but this is still their first issue, so introductions are in order once again. But this time Wolfman takes his time bringing the characters in one at a time, rather than dropping them on us en media res as he did in DCP. Their powers are individually showcased again, and we learn a bit about their personalities.

In particular we find that Cyborg is bitter over his condition, having harbored dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete which were dashed by whatever accident forced his father to turn him into a cyborg. Also, Kid Flash has a peculiar crush on Raven, after she recruited him to the Titans off-panel following his declaration that he was done being a superhero. Not knowing what’s to come, my money is on Raven having used some minor mind control to woo the Kid to her way of thinking.

We’re also reminded that Batman is disappointed in Robin for dropping out of college, though this doesn’t come across in their brief scene together, as Robin departs the Wayne Foundation Building penthouse in Gotham City to follow Raven. Bruce Wayne is seen wearing a smoking jacket, puffing a pipe and reading a book (something all hip thirty-something playboys did regularly back in 1980, of course), and even offers Robin aid when he sees him leaving in costume.

And Wonder Girl receives a sub-plot as well, as she reflects on her origin: she was found by Wonder Woman as an infant in a burning tenement, two dead adults beside her, and — being an orphan — was taken to Paradise Island for Amazon training. Now, she finds herself wondering where she came from and who she is.

The story concludes with Cyborg blowing up the alien slavers’ ship, presumably killing all aboard. Strangely, no one has any objections to this course of action. They may have been merciless slavers, and sure they were reptilian aliens, but they were sentient beings! Doesn’t that go against most traditional superheroic values? I’ll be curious to see if this is revisited in coming issues, but I’m not holding my breath.

I’m two issues into THE NEW TEEN TITANS, but both issues are essentially “pilot” stories. I already have some level of familiarity with most of these characters, so their origins don’t much interest me. I figure that back in 1980, when this was all new, readers might have been a bit more enraptured by the proceedings, but right now, in 2015, I’d just like to get to the good stuff. Fortunately, I see Deathstroke the Terminator’s silhouette on the cover of the next issue, so I hope that means big things will be coming in short order.

 

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