After being cancelled in 1972, the Teen Titans made a couple of appearances in Brave & Bold as its members went their separate ways. However during the 52 and 100 Pagers, several of their stories were reprinted, most with that gorgeous Nick Cardy art. After sales and letters of DC Super-Star #1 and Super Team Family #1 and #7 came in, DC was convinced to give the Fab More-Than-Four another shot, reviving the series with #44 (N'76).

They reunited Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder GirlSpeedy and Mal, supposedly not seeing each for two years. And not being with Speedy since his drug addiction from Green Lantern/Green Arrow #85-86 (S-N'71), despite their early 70s Teen Titans and B&B adventures! Kid Flash and Speedy immediately start rutting as soon as they see Wonder Girl who plays along. Mal is upset that he's been tending to the Titans HQ all by himself even though he volunteered to do so! He namedrops Lilith, Gnarrk, Hawk and Dove as "whatever Happened To...".

But their reunion was all a trap by DOCTOR LIGHT whose weaponry (and dumb luck, to be honest) allows him to capture Robin and Wonder Girl and escape. This causes the other three to snipe at each other and split up.

Doctor Light tortures them to get the coordinates of the Justice League Satellite (of Love) so he can destroy it with a giant, orbiting magnifying glass (no, seriously!) then captures Kid Flash and Speedy separately, gathers them up and polishes off the Flash way too quickly.

Mal, angry about being left behind, goes through the other Titans' trophy cases and gets a super-strength giving exo-skeleton (from Batman #192) and the costume, helmet and shield of the Golden Age Guardian, thus becoming the Guardian II (or III, depending on the Golden Guardian from Jimmy Olsen). He flies the Titans' mini-rocket to the JLA Satellite, distracts Doctor Light, frees the other Titans and saves the day. The Titans decide to stay together!

The story was uneven and the art was rough. No one looked good here. Kid Flash and Speedy were more concerned about scoring with Wonder Girl, Wonder Girl keeps forgetting that she has super-strength, no way Robin tells any of this to Batman and Mal...

Well, I liked Mal as Guardian but it took him two years to realize that he needed to step up his game to hang with the Titans? Really?

Mister Jupiter gets referenced but Aqualad does NOT! 

The text page was interesting as it mentions Beast Boy though he wasn't a member. And hints that Hawk & Dove may have retired.

Next: Just Call Me Angel of the Mourning! OR Blow It Out Your Ear!

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I have my Teen Titans out right now and have easy access to Superman Family. I have DC Super Stars #1 but don't want to dig for it. The Teen Titans already went through "Romeo & Juliet" in #35-36 (O-D'71) so "Macbeth" might have been too much!

#48 (Ju'77) has art by longtime Wonder Woman artist Jose Delbo.

Robin and Joker's Daughter (JD) are literally glued to some chairs by TWO-FACE who is equally chatty in both his personalities and explains his whole scheme to them. Villains just can't help themselves! He stole priceless antiques and valueless copies in both Gotham and NYC. He has stored one set of each in one city then plans to blow up both cities with missiles! If, in the aftermath, more originals remain intact, he'll go straight (despite the mass murder) and if more copies survive, he'll remain a criminal (and a mass murderer)! Apparently JD can get mental flashes from her Double-Sided Daddy of his crimes (family bonds don't work that way!) Robin stands up with his chair and JD's and attacks Two-Face but only manages to knock himself and JD out!

But the Teen Wonder awakens and alerts the other Titans while they're at Gabriel's Horn watching over the still unconscious Aqualad and arguing over JD's loyalties. The foursome of Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Speedy and Mal rush out to stop the missiles but are instead confronted by...the BUMBLEBEE whose gold and purple armor allows her to fly and she battles and defeats them with her honey-gun, specialized buzzing and, and, and...her butt-stinger! Yes that's what bees do but still! She uses her droning buzzing to put them to sleep!

Meanwhile, Robin heads off to the Guggenheim Museum in NYC, lamenting the missing Batman who is away on a Justice League mission (JLA #141-142) where he is met by the revived Kid Flash and Mal who is referred to for the first time as HORNBLOWER. Yes, really! They combine their powers to stop Two-Face's Double-Bomb Missile and send it into the Atlantic Ocean!

At the same time, at Gotham's Gottanham Museum, Wonder Girl and Speedy meet up with JD, and after the Arrogant Archer once again openly distrusts JD, the trio dispose of the other Double-Bomb Missile by hurling it into the Atlantic! 

They capture Two-Face who wants to go straight and reconcile with his daughter who has now totally changed her costume and name (though that was spoiled on the cover) to become ...The HARLEQUIN (yet another DC heroine taking the name of a Golden Age villainess!). 

While all this is going on, Robin is shocked to find Aqualad's tank empty and their colleague almost as lifeless as a carnival goldfish!

Many people dislike Bumblebee, George Perez included, but I thought that she was pretty good. Granted her weapons needed some modifications. Honey-Gun? Butt-Stinger? Still she was DC's first female African-American super-hero. (At least I think she was. She was before Vixen. There was a Supergirl or Lois Lane supporting cast member who had a solo story or two but does that count?)

No matter, the Buzzing Beauty was later revived and is part of the DC Super Hero Girls franchise and Teen Titans Go!

Harlequin is another matter. Despite her wonky lineage and timeline, she never was one of my favorites. Beyond her improbable survival, I can't believe that Julius Schwartz approved her and allowed her to be the continuity blip that she was designed to be! I'll speak about some other concerns later.

Next: Clothes Do Make the Man OR Shreddin'...Our Reputation!

These stories, as well as one of her earliest appearances in Batman Family, have Duela state that her choice of identity as "Joker's Daughter" was meant to irritate Two-Face, who apparently hated Joker at this point in time.

They were shown to be antagonistic as of Joker #1, but that was more than a year before her first appearance (and more than two years before this story).  In the meantime - shortly after Duela's first appearance, as a matter of fact - they worked together again in Brave and the Bold #129.

Probably just a plot point that was not followed up.

The foursome of Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Speedy and Mal rush out to stop the missiles but are instead confronted by...the BUMBLEBEE whose gold and purple armor allows her to fly and she battles and defeats them with her honey-gun, specialized buzzing and, and, and...her butt-stinger! Yes that's what bees do but still! She uses her droning buzzing to put them to sleep!

This reminds me of the observation that Spider-Man's web should come out "back there."

She should be Wasp Woman or something. If she's a bee the sting would disembowel her.

I am reminded of Astro Boy's rear-mounted machine guns.



Richard Willis said:

The foursome of Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Speedy and Mal rush out to stop the missiles but are instead confronted by...the BUMBLEBEE whose gold and purple armor allows her to fly and she battles and defeats them with her honey-gun, specialized buzzing and, and, and...her butt-stinger! Yes that's what bees do but still! She uses her droning buzzing to put them to sleep!

This reminds me of the observation that Spider-Man's web should come out "back there."

She should be Wasp Woman or something. If she's a bee the sting would disembowel her.

I find it mind-boggling that Bumblebee wound up becoming one of the most long-lasting legacies of this incarnation of the Titans (the other one won't show up until #50).  I was actually ok with the honey-gun, if only because Marvel already had two female "bug" themed heroes with wrist mounted stingers, and "Honeybee" might have made a better name for her than "Bumblebee".  Her tail gun, tho, was pretty much emblematic of no one really thinking things thru before sticking them in the book--aside from the ick factor of her basically farting darts at her foes, that had to have been a nightmare to aim, and how did the poor girl sit down in that rig?  Karen was DC first African-American super-heroine, since Melba from Lois Lane wasn't super, and Nubia from Wonder Woman was not yet a heroine, and she pre-dated Vixen by a few years.  Vixen was supposed to debut in the "DC Explosion", so obviously that didn't happen, and she didn't make her actual first appearance until Action #521 (July 1981).  Mal & Karen were also the first African-American super-couple, and I can't think of any other DC or Marvel team that's included another one, except for that brief period when Black Panther & Storm replaced Reed & Sue in the FF.  As much as Bumblebee benefited from the steamlining she received post-Crisis, it's a shame she wound up being literally reduced to a cheap copy of the Wasp.

I always thought that Harlequin had potential, but that it wasn't going to be realized if Rozakis kept over-using goofy gimmicks that seemed to come from Batwoman's old "crime-compact"--she needed more joy buzzers & whoopie cushions than powder puffs & lipsticks.  She could easily have become something very much like the Tangent Universe's Joker.  The Two-Face connection didn't bother me too much, because all the DC characters who carried over uninterrupted from the Golden Age all began their Earth-1 existence in medias res, with backstories that were mostly the same, but not necessarily identical to their "Earth-2" counterparts, so for me, that left enough wiggle room for Duela.  Your mileage may vary.  As for the "mental hunches"/ mind-link with her father--yow!  That was a really bad idea.  My head canon is that Mr. ESPer was actually spying on Two-Face and sending Duela "whispered" clues like he had with Batman back in the day.  This would have been part of his groundwork leading up to his master plot some issues later.  Hey, it's better than anything the comics gave us!

I just tripped over this thread, and I'm sorry I haven't been in the game until now.

I do remember these issues, and remember being disappointed. After Nick Cardy art, Pablo Marcos and Vince Colletta were a real step-down. I also didn't like Speedy chasing after Wonder Girl (and her not minding), because I always thought of him as a jerk. He was, in fact, a loudmouth showoff in his guest appearances in early Teen Titans, probably written as unpleasant to forestall fan demands he join the team, which they obviously had no plans to do. (Beast Boy was similarly jerky in his guest appearances.) I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that Mort Weisinger wouldn't let them have Speedy.

Further, I had a crush on Donna thanks to Cardy's art, and she got even sexier when she got her red, skintight outfit in Teen Titans #23. (I had a similar crush on Mera. And the only time I found Black Canary really attractive was when Cardy drew her in Brave & Bold. Man, Cardy was so good at sexy girls.)

Years later, Donna and Roy became an item when she slept with him to show everyone she wasn't a goody two-shoes, or something like that. I hated that. I guess my crush wasn't done yet.

Anyway, the one thing I approved of in this run was the absence of Aqualad. He was really useless in the team's first incarnation, and replacing him with a landlubber like Speedy just made sense. Also, the main characters on the team all had a lot of red in their costumes, so he fit right in, uniform-wise. Aqualad's blue trunks always stuck out to me, reminding me he really didn't belong on this team.

Or perhaps I was just finding reasons to dislike him. Because I did. He was useless! And he had ugly hair!

Anyway, I'm with whoever said that Mal should've figured on upping his game LONG before now. It was really obvious to me as youngster that he was only there for diversity, a term that had yet to come into being. (As far as I know.) I didn't mind him on the team -- most comics fans don't care about social issues, they just want good continuity -- but he needed to pull his weight. He was definitely in Aqualad territory, even when he was Horn-Blower or whatever. The Guardian thing was a real step up, as it not only made him useful, but it was a legacy name/outfit that instantly made him more important. The younger me approved.

As for stories, as others have said, a lot of bits were initiated with no follow-through. It's not like the first run was a model of great storytelling, but it didn't leave a bunch of half-stories unfinished.

All in all, this run was a disappointment to the younger Captain. I bought them all, of course, but the stories and art were both let-downs after Haney/Cardy. And I couldn't really get excited about Joker's Daughter and Bat-Girl and whoever.

When I saw house ads proclaiming the "New Teen Titans" in 1980, my first thought was, "Not again." I expected more half-baked mediocrity. Boy, was I in for a surprise!

Dave Elyea said:

I was actually ok with the honey-gun, if only because Marvel already had two female "bug" themed heroes with wrist mounted stingers, and "Honeybee" might have made a better name for her than "Bumblebee".

I suppose that you could argue that "Bumblebee" makes a kind of sense as a name (in British English, at least), since her weapon is mounted on her bum.

Hey, at least it gives her dibs for a superb entrance theme.  "Flight of the Bumblebee" rocks.

Even if it has itself been taken for another superhero.

My gut instinct is that this incarnation of the team came into existence only because the sales figures on the Titans' issue of DC Super Stars convinced enough suits that there was still life left in the concept, so they should try to cash in--who knows, Mego might have even been interested in licensing Titans figures already, so they might have needed a book to go with it.  In any event, with a series that went thru 3 editors and 5 art teams in only 10 issues, I don't think anyone on a creative level was heavily invested in the series here, and it kind of shows.  We have a Mad Tea Party of series with so many potentially good ideas that were never developed, bad ideas that never should have made it to print (however much we may disagree as to which was which), and too many new characters introduced before the previous ones could get much definition.

The timing is probably noteworthy as well.  1976-1978 is the same time period when DC revived the Metal Men and just before the DC Explosion and later Implosion.

I get the sense that DC felt generally confident that it was worth giving some books that failed in the early 1970s deserved a second chance.  Toy marketing licenses may have had something to do with it.  The Teen Titans had, if nothing else, a measure of public recognition that not too many other books had.


I've always been a fan of the idea of junior partners for superheroes even though I know they're ridiculous (so are superheroes when you get right down to it). I've also always bristled at calling them "sidekicks" as well. To me, a sidekick is someone like a Woozy Winks or a Doiby Dickles, a character whose primary purpose is to make the hero look good and maybe provide some comic relief, as well as give the hero someone to talk with so as to make exposition more fluid. 

Reading back through the adventures of Robin and Speedy, both were more than capable of being independent and resolving things on their own. Kid Flash would defer to an adult on his team ups, but usually he worked alone. 

And then there's Aqualad. 

I remember reading through volumes of Showcase Presents Aquaman and being absolutely gobsmacked by how little Aqualad brought to the table. He never even attempted to take any initiative, never did anything on his own, never once rescued Aquaman from a predicament--and on top of that, he wasn't even funny. Topo was a better sidekick; at least he never made anyone wonder why he was tagging along. 

Aqualad was worse than useless: he was a liability. 


Captain Comics said:

Or perhaps I was just finding reasons to dislike him. Because I did. He was useless! And he had ugly hair!

There are people who thought of the Teen Titans as future Justice Leaguers-in-training, which I don't understand. Like Randy, I saw them (most of them, anyway) as capable heroes in their own right, albeit young and possibly more prone to making the kinds of mistakes you make when you don't have years of experience.

But readingTeen Titans because you think they'll grow up someday and replace the Justice League? Why not read the real thing?

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