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Comic Review: 80’s Flashback With ‘The New Teen Titans’ ‘Cloak and Dagger’ ‘Dark Knight’ & ‘Shaman’ | Rachel McGill

Rachel McGill Lv141Rogue | The Black Lion Journal | The Black Lion

by Rachel McGill

I figured I’d delve into one of the more harrowing and frankly one of my favorite eras of comics. Known as the Bronze Age of comics, they are filled with the traditional heroes of the Silver Age but filled with darker storylines and culturally relevant plots. The Bronze Age also saw the rise of minority superheroes; most notably Luke Cage (cue gorgeous hunk of a man Mike Colter) and none other then Teen Titan – Cyborg.


The New Teen Titans #1

Rogue Rating: 🗯🗯🗯🗯🗯

Comic Review: 80’s Flashback With 'The New Teen Titans' 'Cloak and Dagger' 'Dark Knight' & 'Shaman' | Rachel McGill | BL | Black Lion Journal | Black Lion

My entire understanding of Teen Titans comes from the early 2000’s Cartoon Network series. In fact, the plotline of The New Teen Titans #1 by Marv Wolfman and George Perez is recycled in episode 46 of that very series. (I couldn’t find any high quality videos of the episode on the tube of you, but trust me that it’s very similar and just as awesome.)

The first few thoughts upon reading this were, “Holy shit, Starfire is wearing nothing and super bodacious” and “Raven and Beastboy aren’t a thing”. Alas, The New Teen Titans #1 begins just outside the Titan Tower where the gang are taking part in their version of war games. We find Beastboy, Starfire, Nightwing and of course Cyborg, along with two others I didn’t recognize, and Wonder Girl — sidekick to Wonder Women and Jericho who has the ability to take control of almost anyone by making eye contact. Suddenly and without much warning, Raven bursts forth both panicked and afraid. Her face is gaunt, almost evil-looking — and Cyborg and Beast boy realize this. Has Trigon finally come to claim his daughter and all that she holds dear? The art-style is much like other comics of the 80’s; all the heroes are olympic athletes with well-detailed, chiseled jaws and curves for days. (I have to admit the scantily-clad thing is not my favorite part of the bronze age but most of the scantily-clad women were really badass regardless of how bad their wedgies were or how often they had to adjust their boobs.) There are so many rich colors in this comic and the art is in many ways fantastical. In one particular scene in which *spoilers* Jericho and Trigon fight, it looks as if it’s a scene right out of Heavy Metal. It’s pretty epic. I really enjoyed the writing and the storyline, so seeing as I already own four more issues of this series I’ll definitely continue.

Cloak and Dagger

Rogue Rating: 🗯🗯🗯🗯🗯

I have a confession to make, I love Cloak and Dagger but I must admit this is the first time reading any of their older issues/series. I first learned of Cloak and Dagger from my now very worn years old copy of Essential Official Handbook of The Marvel Universe (EHMU) and fell in love with Cloak and Dagger’s powers and origin stories right away. Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen — two runaways who were kidnapped and experimented on in order to create a new chemical addiction — led to the creation of Cloak who “has the ability to mentally create an aperture into a dimension” (EHMU, 2006) and Dagger who “has the ability to generate an unknown sort of luminous energy which she can hurl from her fingertips”(EHMU, 2006). If those aren’t the dopest powers you’ve ever heard of stop reading.

Comic Review: 80’s Flashback With 'The New Teen Titans' 'Cloak and Dagger' 'Dark Knight' & 'Shaman' | Rachel McGill | BL | Black Lion Journal | Black Lion

Cloak and Dagger #1 July 1985 begins with a narration about the gentrification of New York’s Times Square which will “force the sleeze out”. A man enters an adult video shop and proceeds to pay 25 cents to see “sixty seconds of fantasy” only to find Cloak and Dagger consoling and protecting the girl within the viewing booth. Known for helping children and teens in danger, Cloak and Dagger rescue all the girls within the adult video shop. But for some reason, it’s not enough for Cloak who believes all sinners should be punished. Has Cloak finally lost it and let his darkness consume him? I don’t have much to say on the art. It’s pretty standard when it comes to comic art of this era. The story is fantastic and I enjoyed the writing. Plus, it’s two of my favorite characters, so I’ll continue this series — I recommend you trying out a little Cloak and Dagger yourself.


Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight & Shaman

Rogue Rating: 🗯🗯🗯🗯

Comic Review: 80’s Flashback With 'The New Teen Titans' 'Cloak and Dagger' 'Dark Knight' & 'Shaman' | Rachel McGill | BL | Black Lion Journal | Black Lion

Finally the icing on the cake — the anti-hero everyone loves — Batman!

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight and Shaman by Denny O’Neil, Ed Hannigan, and John R. Beatty begins with a death. Willy Dogget — tracker and bounty hunter — and Bruce Wayne are climbing the side of a mountain when Dogget is shot in the head. He tumbles off the side into the snow covered wilds of Alaska. This is just one in several Batman Origin stories and boy is this one neat. After a difficult fight, the death of his travel companion and the loss of all his gear, Bruce Wayne is taken in by a native Alaskan tribe. A sacred story of a bat healing a raven is told to Bruce by a powerful healer in a bat mask. After returning home Bruce strikes out to fight crime only to flounder on his first night. But once his suit is complete he BECOMES the Batman. Their are lots of red and purple hues within this comic which sets up the somber mood of the series. Other then the scenes depicting the healing story, there was nothing that stood out to me in terms of art; but, it’s very well done. Comic Review: 80’s Flashback With 'The New Teen Titans' 'Cloak and Dagger' 'Dark Knight' & 'Shaman' | Rachel McGill | BL | Black Lion Journal | Black Lion Being an origin story, there’s not a lot of suggestions on what the series as a whole might look like. That being said, I think having a shamanistic aspect to the Batman story is pretty cool. If I come across more in this series I’ll more than likely pick it up.

Well folks that’s all I have so far! Did you watch the Teen Titan series? Are you in love with Cloak and Dagger? What’s your favorite batman origin story? Let me know in the comments!


BL | Black Lion Journal | Black Lion | Christina Lydia

Review By Rachel McGill Of Lvl41Rogue: Comic Books & News | The Black Lion is a humble interdisciplinary journal that values your voice. Visit the submissions page to learn more about submitting to the Journal’s sections or to The Wire’s Dream Magazine. | Copyright Policy



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