Friday, February 7, 2014

Teen Titans #25

Teen Titans #25 (On Sale: November 1969) has a powerful cover by the late, great Nick Cardy.

The Teen Titans take a dramatic turn in "The Titans Kill a Saint" by Robert Kanigher and Nick Cardy. You might say that this is the issue where the Titans go from being a book about kid sidekicks to a book about a group of young adults. I'm actually pretty surprised that Kanigher is the one to pull this off, though most likely the change was initiated by Dick Giordano.

In an absolute classic art job by Cardy we begin with the Titans and the Hawk and the Dove watching a surgery take place and blaming themselves. Later in the recovery room they attempt to talk to the patient, Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Arthur Swenson, but as they do so, he dies. In shock and tears the Titans are called to the morgue for a meeting of some sort. When the dejected Titans leave a short time later they run into Lilith, onto whom they try to foist some of the blame for Swenson's death, but she will have none of their nonsense and splits.

The Titans think back to how it all began a few hours earlier at the Canary Cottage Discotheque, where they met a dancer named Lilith, who knew who the Titans were even in their civilian identities and asked to join the team. She said her power is that she just knows things, like she knows the Titans will open the door to death tonight. They blow Lilith off and leave running into a peace rally, where Dr. Swenson is speaking. As the crowd begins to get heated, the Titans head for a back alley to change only to run into the Hawk and the Dove doing the same thing.

Back inside they all do what they can to control the crowd but when a man pulls a gun, Speedy, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash and the Hawk and the Dove all jump him and try to wrest the gun from his hands. It goes off and the single bullet strikes Dr. Swenson in the head. Speedy rushes them all to the hospital, where our story began. We also learn that when they went to the morgue, they were confronted by the Justice League who told them that they had violated their most sacred duty and that something must be done about it. Superman tells them that they must act as their own judge and jury and Batman warns that if they do not reach a decision by the day's end that the JLA will execute punishment on their own.

The great Nick Cardy
The Titans wander the streets, finding themselves eventually at the docks, where they are met by a small boat containing Lilith and Mr. Jupiter, the richest man in the world. Jupiter says he has an urgent government mission that he wants the Titans to undertake, but that the mission may change them forever and may even cost them their lives. Lilith leaves them, saying she knows she is a reminder to them of what has happened. The Titans go with Jupiter back to his estate to hear more.

Jupiter explains that he is in charge of a secret training project to prepare teens for the task of handling the world's problems and asks them if they will join. Robin bows out, saying that he has already committed to college. Though he leaves, the rest of the Titans and the Hawk and the Dove accept and are taken to Jupiter's secret headquarters on the 13th floor of his skyscraper complex, a floor run completely by computers.

There the Titans once again meet Lilith and give up their uniforms and fore go their powers to join Jupiter's secret project. This classic story was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Teen Titans Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Dick Giordano.