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Friday, 14 April 2017

Teen Titans 31 - controlling college kids, and a Hawk & Dove story

George Tuska joins Skeates and Cardy for both of the stories in Teen Titans 31 (Jan/Feb 71).

The lead story deals with a university, and reflects the heavy protest culture at campuses at this time in the US. It's got a great kicker opening, with a struggling student being advised to have brain surgery to help him.

Kid Flash's grandfather, Professor West, makes a cameo in this tale, coming to the university to give a lecture, and bringing Wally West so he can check out the school as a possible place to attend when he finishes high school. Wally sees a boy being chased by a bunch of other students, and comes to his aid as Kid Flash. The boy explains how he is being hunted for refusing to get a brain operation, and Kid Flash hides him in a cabin, and then calls up Speedy, Wonder Girl, Lilith and Mal Duncan.

This is one of the few stories where the lack of costumes works, partly because they only use the drab purple jumpsuits when they are trying to go undercover. When they go into action, Kid Flash, Speedy and Wonder Girl all don their proper costumes. They uncover the dean's scheme to control the students and keep them docile through electronic implants in their brains. The plan all goes wrong after he sends the students to try to kill the Teen Titans. Not a bad story, I just wish it didn't have Tuska on the art.

Hawk & Dove make their final appearance in this book in a story of their own as a back-up. Although their departure from the Teen Titans is never clearly stated, one can look back at how they split from the rest of the team during the Ocean Master story, and see how Hank Hall's displeasure with the passive nature of the group under Mr. Jupiter, and Aqualad's harsh words to them, probably egged him on to leave, and drag Don Hal with them.

In this story both Hank and Don are cruising around, looking to use their powers. Hawk wants to find and beat up criminals, while Dove wants to protect victims, a nice delineation for their characters. Hank spots a man getting twenty dollars change from a one dollar bill, and this piques his interest.

It turns out he has stumbled onto a counterfeiting ring, and the way the fake money gets sold to those who will pass it. Once again, the only thing dragging the story down is Tuska's art.

Hawk & Dove are not seen again for six years, returning in the revival of the Teen Titans book, as part of Titans West.

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