Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Teen Titans #28 - Aug. 1970

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According to the 1976 DC Comics Calendar, today, March 6, is Aqualad's birthday! Since Garth generally gets the short shrift--both by the Shrine and DC Comics--I thought we should take at least a moment or two following Mera Month to talk about the first member of the extended Aqua-Family.

Instead of a piece of merchandise or a series of goofy random panels, we're going to look back at this issue of Teen Titans, which judging by the cover certainly seems like a big moment for Aqualad!

This issue's story, "Blindspot", is by two gentlemen well-versed in Aqua-History, Steve Skeates and Nick Cardy. The artwork by the latter is so drop-dead gorgeous that I'm going to present the first chunk of it as is, sans commentary:
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Aqualad goes looking for Robin, showing up on the grounds of his college campus. But without even trying, he finds the Boy Wonder--engaged in a fight with several men!

Aqualad helps his teammate take the gang of toughs out, telling him about Sharon, who is Donna (Wonder Girl) Troy's roommate. Garth says one of the goons chasing him was a minion of Ocean Master, which means big trouble! So Aqualad is turning to the Teen Titans for help.

But Robin says that the Titans might not be able to get involved. Aqualad demands to know why, and Robin says all will be explained shortly:
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Aqualad wants to tear into the lot of them, but Donna Troy steps in and says that the team took a vow, a vow to never use their super-powers again after their involvement trying to contain a riot caused the death of an innocent man. Aqualad, who has not been with the team for several months, is shocked at his former comrade's decision, accusing them of being "chicken."

Aqualad does convince the Titans to suit up and come visit Sharon, thinking hearing her story will change their minds. They agree, and the empath Lilith attempts to peer into Sharon's mind to see what she saw:
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Aqualad feels that Sharon's plight is compelling, and asks again for the Titans to intervene. When they once again seem unwilling, Garth flies into another rage and takes off, determined to get to the bottom of this case himself.

He goes back to the proverbial scene of the crime, and finds his first clue:

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Wow! Flying into a rage, Ocean Master, getting hit in the head...it's like reading a regular Aquaman comic!

All seriousness aside, this is one fun comic book story. Everybody's emotions--especially Aqualad's--are cranked up to 11, and the artwork by Nick Cardy is some of his best, and that's saying something. Aqualad--after having been away from the title for a while--returns to take center stage, and fighting a classic Aqua-Villain, to boot.

But since this is Aqualad's birthday, we're not going to leave poor Garth tied up against that tree, no sir! We will be covering Part Two of this story this Saturday, March 10, so make sure you come back for the gripping conclusion, entitled "Captives!"

8 comments:

Anthony said...

Happy birthday, Garth!

I like the cover to this issue...

Tempest127 said...

This is one of the most iconic of Teen Titans covers; it was even the one chosen for Vol. 2 of the Showcase compilation. I remember how thrilled I was at seeing Garth take center stage after having been missing in action in the title for awhile. (I think that was during the time that his arm was healing from the wound he suffered in Aquaman 40, but I could be wrong). His "Hot-headed Arthur" side is all over the place in this issue and, given that this is the Titans during their kooky Mr. Jupiter phase, who could blame him?

Thanks for posting this, Rob---and many happy RETURNS (hint! hint!), Garth!

Anonymous said...

Now this is the Teen Titans at their best! I still remember how thrilled I was when I'd tracked this issue down in a comic shop in the 70's. Aqualad is so confident here, and kicks some serious a**! I wonder if this issue is his finest moment? Well, discounting that whole tied to a tree thing at the end...

The art has to rank as one of Nick Cardy's finest jobs, too. It's gorgeous, especially Liliths's psychedelic mind probe. Thanks for posting this, Rob!

James Chatterton

Orin's dad said...

What a great issue. Awesome art, fun story, and it's great to see Garth back with a 6-pack of whup-a** (at least, like James said, till the end with the whole tied to a tree n left to die thing). But I'm pretty sure he gets out of it. lol
Still, this is a great issue!

Earth 2 Chris said...

Great cover, great comic, just great!!! Although Garth should have slugged Roy or Wally. Robin was the one active Titan that DIDN'T go in for Jupiter's "Training Program". I never had quite understood how that worked. It's more responsible for them NOT to use their powers? Say what?

Chris

wich2 said...

I tend to just recall Cardy's servicable later covers (where he's often sorta kinda trying to ape the other artists' "feel" of the book), and forget that - as you say, Rob - his own interior art is pretty_damn_hot.

Thanks,
-Craig

Joseph Brian Scott said...

^It was easier for Mal than the others, I think.

Cardy really was at the top of his game here, gettin' all groovy with the shadows and panel layouts.

Some Guy said...

I'm always suprised when I see the art form the early teen titans, it looks so ahead of its time, like something you would see in Swamp Thing. Really great.