Monday, June 20, 2005

THE NEW TEEN TITANS #29, DC Comics, 1983

I always dug The New Teen Titans when I was a kid. Much like the X-Men, they have since squandered and defecated on a lot of that childhood goodwill by too many trips to the well – I really didn’t need to see New Titans or Team Titans at all, thank you very much. Although the new Titans series is okay, I still prefer the old school Titans of the Wolman/Perez era. That’s because I’m an old man in his thirties who thinks that Everything Was Better When I Was A Kid. I’ll cling to my narrow-minded nostalgia all the way to my grave! And when I’m done writing this, I’m going to go play Battlezone on my Atari 5600. None of those new-fangled graphics for me!

I had a point… Oh, right. I loved The New Teen Titans even more than The X-Men when I was a certain age. They were just so colorful and fun, and their villains were equally exotic. It was like a big superhero Mardi Gras.

The Brotherhood of Evil were among my favorite Titans villains. How could you not like a supervillain group led by an evil disembodied brain and his gun-toting ape bodyguard? If you were a communist maybe you wouldn’t like that, but Dave Campbell is no communist my friends! I guess the Brotherhood technically were Doom Patrol villains at first, but they really came to life under the guidance of writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez.

Not to be confused with Marvel’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the Brotherhood of Evil were a team of superhumans whose powers pretty much dictated that they had to be evil. I mean come on, if you’re a walking pile of corrosive goo that melts people’s flesh like Plasmus – sorry, you’re a bad guy. No hero is going to have powers like that. Plus, he’s got a German accent: bad guy.

I particularly liked this issue when I was a kid because the Brotherhood of Evil are practically the protagonists. I just thought it was so cool that a comic would spend time chronicling the adventures of the bad guys. In New Teen Titans #29, The Brotherhood of Evil is locked in a super-gang war with Brother Blood’s cult. Under the instructions of The Brain, a strike team consisting of Plasmus, Warp, Houngan, and Phobia have been destroying Blood’s temples and slaughtering his cultists. This pisses Brother Blood off, because “none shall ever punish my believers, save Brother Blood himself.”

After trashing one of Brother Blood’s churches in his native Zandia, the Brotherhood takes off in a jet piloted by a robot who tries to crash the damn thing. We know this because Plasmus melts the robot’s face. How can you not like Plasmus? Here is our favorite motley crew of villains in jeopardy:

“I vant him – more dan ever!”

The Brotherhood do not die, because Warp um, warps them to a tropical island before the plane blows up. Phew.

We get a little back story about the Titans and who loves who, and then we switch back to the good stuff. The Brotherhood get ambushed by a bunch of Brother Blood’s goons. The villains massacre the cultists and jack their rides, heading off to Titans Tower on a mission to kidnap the “goth” heroine Raven.

Here’s the villain Plasmus in action against Speedy and Kid Flash:

And here is Houngan, a techno-voodoo villain who creates electro-voodoo dolls. By my way of thinking, that power is so specific that it almost makes you useless. I mean, sure, if you know you’re going to fight Kid Flash on Tuesday, you’re in business. But what if you have to fight Doug the Redneck? Don’t got a doll for that, do ya Houngan? You gotta wonder how much good Houngan was in the fights against Brother Blood’s cultists earlier this issue. Does he have like, a generic “laser carrying thug” voodoo doll that he uses? Or does he just hit people with his dolls?

Here we have Phobia, who can summon your deepest fears and just generally freak your shit out. Plus, she has these insane Julie Newmar eyebrows. I imagine Phobia has a Transylvanian accent, like General Kala, the evil chick in Flash Gordon that says, “Dispatch War Rocket Ajax to bring back his body!” Anyway, Phobia hits Speedy with his worst nightmare – being a junkie again! That’s right, she’s making Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy relive his darkest hours of heroin hell!

Ride the snaaake, Speedy!

If only this issue had featured more of The Brain and his henchman Monsieur Mallah, the ape with the assault rifle, bandolier and beret. Mallah had a whole French Resistance motif going on, didn’t he? Kind of unusual for an ape. Didn’t he wear a beret, or am I wrong? Anyway, if this issue had that, it would be perfect. The Brotherhood of Evil rules!


Kevin Church said...


Be my huckleberry.


Or am I going to have to reduce your miserable flesh to its basic protoplasmic slime, you schwein?

I thought so.

David Campbell said...

Allright, damn it, I'm your huckleberry.

David Campbell said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DougBot said...

I believe that Monsieur Mollah did, in fact, wear a beret. Mostly since the cover to Doom Patrol #34 is burned into my brain.

(It has one of my favorite panels ever, where Mollah throws the Brain at Cliff Steele's disembodied brain. For BRAIN VS. BRAIN COMBAT.)

That issue also got a lot of reactionary hate mail a couple of months later, if memory serves.

Anonymous said...

Atari 5200...

and yes, the NTT were RAD!

Greg said...

"Who loves whom," by the way. (I'm an English teacher - sue me.)

Anonymous said...

Okay, you're Plasmus, riding in your jacked-up skycraft, on your way to do some bad-guy business. It turns out the pilot is a robot, placed there by someone that wants you chopped into tiny pieces. After melting its face, you realize that you just broke your pilot, which is bad because no one in your evil crew can or will pilot the ship, and it's spiraling toward the deep blue.

Of the following, which of these phrases is the last to come out of your mouth?

"Mein Gott in Himmel! Mutti!!!!"
"Phobia, I've always loved you, you scary bi..."
"Damn Brother Blood! Dis time he has..."

Plasmus is one hard-core, stone cold, semi-gelatinous glop of plasma. Leave it to him to complain about Brother Blood going too far.

It's like he's saying "Okay bee-bee, the robot was cool as far as deathtraps go, but leaving me without a pilot? That's just wrong, man. You've got no class."

David Campbell said...

SW wins.

Brian Cronin said...

Man...this title was so good.

Then Perez had to screw it all up by leaving.

Then we had to have a DECADE of bad stories from Wolfman.

Ponder that for a moment - a DECADE!!!

Anonymous said...

"That issue also got a lot of reactionary hate mail a couple of months later, if memory serves."

That reminds me when I picked up all those Hawkworlds out of the quarter bin and read all those strange letters decrying Ostrander for having Shayera have sex early on in a relationship.

At Wizard World Philly earlier this month, Ostrander told me, "I still get those letters."

Anonymous said...

Sadly you thought wrong, Mr Campbell. Phobia is British and has a very British accent. Monsieur Mallah, Brain, and Plasmus have all recently died on Salvation Run. Some people will miss them. But not me.

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