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Come and catch some good vibrations with the Titans – Teen Titans #15

July 5, 2010

Few series presented as many opportunities as this one for an adult creative staff to pander to a younger audience.  Our heroes in this instance are teens, after all — it says so right there in the title!  You can almost picture the writers turning a chair around so that they can sit in it backwards, leaning their arms on its back, and saying “Rap with me for a sec, kids.”

This is issue is a prime example of that.  And when I say prime, I mean prime.

“Captain Rumble Blasts the Scene” was scripted by Bob Haney with pencils from Lee Elias and inks from Nick Cardy (who did the cover as well).  All the events in the issue are chronicled by a hairy hipster troubadour (more on him in a second), and we have his running commentary throughout.  The Titans make their way to “Hippieville, U.S.A.” (that’s what it says in the comic — I didn’t just make that up) to take in the scene and try to find a runaway named Ken Matthews.  Ken is making ends meet as a messenger for some local gangs, and the Titans promptly stumble upon and capture him.  This leads to some stiff “groovy” talk from Robin:

Then the bald motorcycle villain from the cover, Captain Rumble, shows up and he and his gang start terrorizing the hippies — it’s a one-sided showdown between two divergent anti-establishment groups.  The Titans break up the fracas but Ken slips away in the confusion.  Our heroes realize that Ken is being victimized by a local criminal enterprise and decide to break it up, in the process hopefully killing two birds with one stone.  Their bright primary colored costumes will be no help to them in travelling incognito, so they put on disguises and adopt cringe-worthy hippie names:

They find Ken, but he gets away again, this time with his girlfriend, and everybody — Titans, kids, hippies, bikers — winds up in a park.  A big brouhaha breaks out and the Titans whip off their god-awful disguises and start kicking ass.  The troubadour even gets into the action — he goes all Bluto Blutarsky/El Kabong on Captain Rumble:

The Titans find Ken and he helps them break up the crime ring.  Ken decides that he’s not cut out for the non-square life and has a reunion with his folks, and the Titans get in some final unhip hip-talk to end the issue:

This is one of those issues that I just roll my eyes at, but kind of in a good way.  I wasn’t alive when flower power swept the land, so I guess it’s not my place to judge whether the dialogue rings true, but it sounds so forced and clunky to me.  And I certainly won’t begrudge creators an attempt to connect with their readers, but I can’t picture a kid picking up this book and thinking “Hey, these guys get me!  They get my generation!”

It’s still an enjoyable read.  I think it fails to form any sort of connection to a younger audience (a younger audience of the time), but its profound failure is what entertains me.  I’ll add it to the “so bad it’s good” pile.

“Operation the Most” indeed.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2010 3:12 pm

    Those guys get me! Of course it’s about 50 years too late. These older books were lying around when I was a kid and they never struck me as being particularly badly written. Now that I’m in my 40s they hurt to read but I didn’t really notice back then.

    • July 6, 2010 1:16 am

      So maybe I was off base. Maybe they did connect with the younger set. Thanks for the first hand account.

  2. September 17, 2013 6:36 pm

    Production of a James Wan Film, The Conuring Wan commits the sin of telling and not showing, and the film is based on a true story,
    the film is weaker for it.

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