BHOC: TEEN TITANS #48

The next comic I bought at my local 7-11 was the next issue of TEEN TITANS. This particular era of the series is pretty maligned–the story goes that it sold well enough, but new publisher Jenette Kahn was so embarrassed by the content that she cancelled the series anyway. I’ve always been skeptical about this story, but it does give you a good idea as to the low-esteem this particular era was held in. And this issue in particular, for all that it’s a fun read, shows why.

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The issue picks up where the previous one left off–with Robin and the Joker’s Daughter prisoners of Two-Face. In order to save their lives the Joker’s Daughter reveals her great secret: that’s she’s actually the daughter of Two-Face himself. Now, given that she’s previously posed as the Riddler’s Daughter, the Penguins Daughter and Catwoman’s Daughter, this certainly seems to be in character for her. But in this instance, it also appears to be the truth.

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Duela reveals that, after Harvey Dent became the villainous Two-Face, her mother took their infant daughter and fled, a fact that Two-Face himself seemingly confirms. Now, let’s stop here a moment and think about this for a second: Robin was there for Two-Face’s origin, he’s a part of that first story. So if Duela Dent was an infant at that time, how is she now a full-grown teen and Robin’s peer (especially when Robin himself hasn’t aged much at all.) It’s a plot flaw that everybody involved, characters and creators, all drive past, but it sinks the backstory completely.

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Anyway, Two-Face reveals that he’s got two missiles set to obliterate New York and Gotham City, with the idea being that,based on which metropolis has the most survivors, he’ll either become a model citizen or a full-time evildoer. Robin manages to free himself and drive off Two-Face, and he calls the other Titans back at their Gabriel’s Horn restaurant headquarters for back-up in heading out to those two locations to stop the missiles. Speedy gets to emphatically and repeatedly reiterate his distrust for the Joker’s Daughter as the team heads out–only to be waylaid by another costumed figure, the Bumblebee!

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From context, the Bumblebee is secretly Mal’s girlfriend Karen, though that full-on reveal will need to wait until next issue. But she sows up, kicks the Titans around for a while, and then, having put them all to sleep, exits in what most be one of the most inconsequential fight sequences in comics. It’s not even a factor on teh upcoming pages when the missiles are about to flatten New York and Gotham–the delay isn’t really a factor at all. So while this sequence does show off the new character, it’s narrative nonsense.

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Anyway, Kid Flash and Mal join Robin in New York at the Guggenheim Museum, which Robin figures is the target of the missile based on sketchy logic only two degrees removed from what might once have appeared on the 1966 Batman television program. They help evacuate the building, and the Mal is able to use his horn to blow the incoming explosive far out to sea, thus saving the city. In Gotham, the Joker’s Daughter is joined by Wonder Girl and Speedy–and she deduces that the second missile won’t be coming from the sky, but rather from below, because of the way Two-Face thinks and operates.

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She is, of course, correct, and the three heroes join forces in blasting a path for the missile through the Gotham Gottanham Museum so that Wonder Girl can lasso it and, like its counterpart, throw it out to sea as well. In the one-page epilogue, it’s clear that the Titans have also rounded up Two-Face–and now that her true identity has been revealed, the Joker’s Daughter crafts her own new identity, becoming the Harlequin. But it’s not all smiles and giggles–in all of the excitement, nobody remembered to fill the tank of water in which the seriously ill Aqualad was recovering. Now, tat tank has evaporated (those missions must have taken a LONG time!) and as a result of the Titans’ blunder, Aqualad is dying! And that sad note is what we go out on.

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