Bargain Comic Reviews

New Reviews of Old Comics

Tales of the Teen Titans #56 (Aug. 1985)

Purchase price: $1

I have to admit I was never much a Teen Titans fan back in the main collecting days.  I had friends who thought this title was just the best thing going, but I didn’t even have the inclination to give them a try.  At the time I thought Teen Titans was some new off-shoot group with the all-grown-up Robin, the weird looking Cyborg dude and some chick who leaves a chemtrail of hair when she flies.  I can’t explain why that seemed more ridiculous to me than any of the X-Men or Avengers I loved so much back then, but it did.  Yeah, a read a couple issues here and there when there was a crossover or an “event” issue, but they just never clicked for me.  Now I see the Teen Titans have actually been around a long time with various incarnations and my inner comic book historian wants to know more.  While I wouldn’t exactly call this issue “historic” in any way, shape or form, I figure it’s laying some ground work for me.

The ever prolific Marv Wolfman wrote “Fearsome Five Minus One!” and Chuck Patton drew the nice pictures with Mike DeCarlo; it is the beginning of a story arc called “The Last Days of Cyborg!”  Yes, exclamation points remain a requirement for comic book story titles.  Raven is sets the stage for the story as she sits in an eerie looking dimension with creepy rocks and lightning, mentally spying on events. Elsewhere STAR Labs is receiving a delivery of something important enough to warrant a heavily armed escort.  Heavily armed incompetents apparently since other heavily armed people break in to steal the delivery (a radioactive person).  Raven shows up and tries to save the day.  She fails, but does cure some sick kids before hitting the road so that’s nice.

Who is the deaf guy with the giant mutton chops, and the green guy?  He can’t be Braniac-5, can he?  I feel lost.

Elsewhere, Cyborg is helping handicapped youth by coaching basketball while the Fearsome Five are breaking into a prison, leaving Nightwing (all-grown-up-Robin), Starfire (the chick with the hair) and Wonder Girl (who looks WAY more “woman” than “girl”) to fight the Five on their own.  This doesn’t work out so well for Nightwing who gets injured and rescued by the girls.  Starfire, his girlfriend, then drops him off well away from the fray to keep from being injured more, a move he is less than happy about.  With coaching done, Cyborg heads to STAR LABs for a procedure to make him not look like a Cyborg, which I can understand.  Starfire and Wonder Girl track down the Fearsome Five, but since this is just the beginning of the story arc they lose in a bad way.

Tales of the Teen Titans is far from the best thing I’ve ever read, but it was definitely “good enough” and I am interested to see where the storyline with that person the Fearsome Five stole is headed.  We don’t even know who it is yet!  I have to say I didn’t like the chick in the Fearsome Five; with that giant orange poofball on her head, she was kind of ugly and the relationship with the brother is disturbing.  The cover, which makes it look like the Fearsome Five is physically ripping Cyborg apart, has absolutely ZERO to do with the story.  I find that annoying in a comic book.  Besides the cover, though, as I said, this was a decent read and I’m sure gets better as the story arc develops; Marv Wolfman doesn’t write many bad comic stories.  So now I’m on the lookout for #57, and probably 58, 59 and 60 too to finish the story.


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