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Saturday, 15 April 2017

Teen Titans 41 - a ghost tries to enslave Mal Duncan, and Lilith finds her brother?

Bob Haney writes both of the stories in Teen Titans 41 (Sept/Oct 72).

Saaf and Cardy illustrate the cover story, in which Mr. Jupiter brings Robin, Wonder Girl, Speedy and Mal Duncan to his spooky looking ancestral home in a hearse. Gotta broadcast that this will be another supernatural story right off the top!

Mr. Jupiter's "aunt," a family retainer since the time of the US Civil War, is dying. She had been a runaway slave taken in by their family and put to work, it seems. We do find out that Mr. Jupiter feels that the woman raised him, but I guess she got paid for it. Anyway, she dies pretty quickly, but not before freaking out when she sees Mal Duncan, and giving him her "moojum" doll. We find out much later that Mal looks exactly like the old lady's father.

Mal really gets to star in this story, as the ghost of a slave hunter, and his nasty dog, who probably barked as incessantly as my Mom's dog has been doing for the past hour or more, comes to claim Mal and drag him into slavery. Despite being a ghost, the chains he puts on Mal are physical enough to force him along, and also to be shot and broken by Mr. Jupiter. Couldn't it be one of the other Teen Titans who rescues Mal? No, they are all relegated to minor roles.

Robin puts together the pieces of the legend, and digs up the old lady's coffin to retrieve the moojum doll. It grows to giant size, and heads out to protect Mal and defeat the slave catcher ghost.

There is a climax on the ice, which must be based on Uncle Tom's Cabin. I don't know a lot about that story, but there is a chase across the ice, I know that. Anyway, the doll separates the ghost from his dog, which means that the ghost is vulnerable, so when the ice breaks and he sinks, he dies for good.

Mr. Jupiter stops appearing after this story, which is no great loss. He is next seen in a Wonder Girl solo story in the pages of Wonder Woman in 1980.

Lilith gets another instalment of her quest, with art by Bob Brown and Dave Cockrum. 

She comes to the aid of a red haired amnesiac boy who is being threatened by rednecks, and decides, on far too little evidence, that this must be her brother. He does share some psychic abilities, although nothing on her scale, as far as we see.

But the kid is just a runaway from a military academy, and he even dyed his hair. Lilith is saddened to find he isn't her brother. She fakes being killed in order to break through his mental blocks and read his mind, and then re-unites him with his parents.

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