Last week’s Retro Review showed us the time that the Teen Titans sorta/kinda appeared in the pages of the DNAgents.  This time, we learn…

…the REST…  of the story.  Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Tales Of The Teen Titans #48 awaits!

TalesOfTheTeenTitans48CoverTALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #48
Writer: George Perez/Marv Wolfman
Penciler: Steve Rude/George Perez
Inker: Al Gordon/Mike DeCarlo
Colorist: Adrienne Roy
Letterer: Todd Klein/Ben Oda
Editor: Marv Wolfman/George Perez
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: 75 Cents
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $4.00

Previously in Tales Of The Teen Titans: When the threat of the extradimensional demon-lord Trigon arose, kid sidekicks Robin, Kid Flash and Wonder Girl joined forces with Trigon’s daughter, the former Beast Boy of the Doom Patrol, an alien refugee and cybernetically-enhanced former athlete Victor Stone to become the New Teen Titans.  Things went poorly with their first recruit, a young lady named Terra, leaving the team to pick up the pieces, and gaining the services of Jericho, while Kid Flash retired and Robin took on the new identity of Nightwing. None of them are in evidence as this issue opens, however, as we begin with a focus on three all-new heroes…

As someone who bought this issue off the stands in 1984, I can tell you I was super-impressed with the amount of work that clearly went into the creation of the RECOMBatants.  It was a few years before I actually read my first issue of DNAgents and identified them as the clear character basis for this one-shot team’s appearance.  In last week’s issue, the DNAgents were already on the run as the story began, while this one begins with the RECOMBatants being sentenced to death, before one of them rebels against his programming…


With Aurora’s illusionary powers covering their exit, the four artificial beings make their way out into the world.  Not long after, Cyborg of the Teen Titans is accosted by goons while walking through a bad part of New York City (long story short: he makes short work of them, and their switchblades) only to receive the call to action…


Dayton Labs (owned and operated by Beast Boy/Changeling’s adoptive father Steve Dayton, aka Mento of the Doom Patrol) has called in the Titans to take the RECOMBatants into custody, just as Project: Youngblood was called in to find the DNAgents last time.  They even find themselves in the same setting, as the neophyte superhumans end up on the Las Vegas strip…


The resulting jackpot causes people to nearly riot, and sends the RECOMBatants running right into a Titans ambush.  The first portion of the battle even follows the same basic plot, with Dreadnaught/Tank taking out Cyborg/Roboto, only to find Wonder Girl/Amazing Girl is more than his physical match as well…


Dreadnaught/Tank even busts through a Vegas magic show (though this one is promising to materialize a tank, rather than an elephant, in a sly reference to Dreadnaught’s inspiration.  Pseudos even goes head-to-head with Nightwing the save way Sham did with Black Owl, meeting his match in Jericho just as his alternate self did with Heartstring…


Steve Rude handles the art in this story, by the way, and the sight of a confident Jericho putting the stop to Psuedos’ plan is one of my favorite Teen Titans moments ever.  (It’s the “If you only knew…” look on his face that really sells it for me.)  And, just as it did in last week’s Retro Review, the battle comes to a halt because one of the Titans stops long enough to hear what their opponent is actually saying to her…


“Wilma Mineux” and “Mark Evans” are, of course, references to the DNAgent’s creative team of Will Meugniot and Mark Evanier, only these scientists are kinda jerks.  Having created the RECOMBatants as disposable labor, they have now deemed the experiment a failure, and are prepared to dispose of their failures…


The Teen Titans, however, aren’t going to stand for such perfidy, confronting the scientists long enough to allow the four artificial beings to escape, and for Amber to make the decision to destroy the machinery that created them with her magnetic powers.  This causes an overload in the reactor that powers the facility, and by the time the Titans arrive, it’s far too late to save their new friends…


Having guaranteed that their creation can’t be duplicated, the RECOMBatants succumb to the energies within, burning to death just as Project: Youngblood did in the other half of the story, and leaving the five Titans to wonder about the true nature of life and humanity…


The backup story in this issue is actually several vignettes drawn by regular artist George Perez, dealing with the buildup to Donna “Wonder Girl” Troy’s wedding, which comes in issue #50 (which long-term Spoilerites may recall we’ve already looked at here in Retro Review corner), showing us the whereabouts of the missing Raven and Changeling.  The initial effect of this issue back in ’84 was to wonder why they created such cool characters, only to kill ’em off at the end, and to be honest, the faux-DNAgents come across as a lot more memorable and sympathetic than the alternate Titans did.  In fact, Tales Of The Teen Titans #48 is a standout of the second half of the run, with some excellent guest-art and a story full of heart, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall.  As unofficial crossover stories go, this one is one of the best-written, with a strong emotional payoff…



A truly touching tale, with a stellar guest-artist and some familiar guest-stars...

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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