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Saturday, 15 April 2017

Teen Titans 38 - Lilith reads her teammates' minds, and joins the circus

Haney, Tuska and Cardy provide the two new stories in Teen Titans 38 (March/April 1972).

Robin, Wonder Girl, Lilith and Mal Duncan are featured in the cover story, which begins with Lilith listening to The Doors, until someone grabs the record off of the record player. The Teen Titans all insist that they did not do it, and tell her to read their minds to prove it. She does, and then announces that Mr. Jupiter was the one to take her record. She barges into Jupiter's lab and gets into a big fight, then storms off.

Then Mr. Jupiter puts on a different record. The Titans groove to this for a while, then go outside and buy some balloons. The balloon man warns them that the balloons will open the doors of destiny! And by this point, it ought to be clear that this will be a weird tale.

The story then follows each of the three Titans who bought the balloons. Sure enough, the next door each one passes through brings them into a hallucinatory situation where they must confront their greatest fears. For Mal, this involves being out in space again, and gives the character a fear of wide open spaces, something no previous story ever indicated.

Wonder Girl winds up in a spy adventure, where she has to cut off her hair to pass for a man. It attributes her as being scared of anything that decreases her femininity, and has her all worried that the spy she is working with won't love her if she doesn't look womanly. Awful.

Robin's is about the best of them, as his fear is in admitting failure. He gets put into a situation where he fails to rescue some other pilots, and has to confess this to his superiors.

Then the Titans come back to the lab, and Mr Jupiter and Lilith reveal that this was all planned anad executed by them. Jupiter was the balloon man, and the balloons were filled with a gas to induce hallucinations. Lilith, when reading their minds, saw their biggest fears, and so they decided on this cruel, manipulative game in order to "help" the Titans overcome these fears. Or, you know, completely destroy them.

Lilith also features in the back-up story, which follows on her previous one. Lilith leaves home in order to search for her real parents, and winds up joining a travelling carnival, getting a job as a mentalist.

She gets taken in by a couple who work for the fair, a skeezy barker and his fake mentalist wife. Seeing how much press Lilith is getting, after identifying a wanted felon at one show, they pull a fairly obvious scam to make Lilith think she is the woman's real daughter.

The scam doesn't work for very long. Indeed, it really only worked because Lilith was hoping it was true. As soon as she uses her powers she learns that they are lying to her. The story gets dark and violent in the last page, with the barker killing his wife. It really didn't need to go there.

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