TEEN TITANS No. 42
|Guest Artist:||Peter Snejbjerg|
|Colors:||Tanya & Richard Horie|
|Asst. Editor:||Jeanine Schaefer|
|Cover:||Tony S. Daniel & Horie|
Slipping into the Oblivion Bar behind the lackadaisical door-closer Witchfire, Eddie Bloomberg, your favorite [Kid Devil] and all around impetuous youth, discovers, to his chagrin and consternation that the his idol, that fair-weather friend Dan Cassidy, otherwise known as the [Blue Devil], isn't on premises. Before getting tossed out on his leather-clad behind, Kid Devil catches a tip leading him to Sebastian Faust, son of Felix.
Sebastian occasionally hobnobs with Blue Devil, and was responsible for bringing him back to life once (see [DAY OF JUSTICE No. 4]). Sebastian knows that Blue Devil is on the hunt, and he mischieviously points Kid Devil in the appropriate direction, not before letting the kid know that his erstwhile partner in heroism has been intentionally avoiding him. But why oh why?
As Kid Devil does his tracking thing, internal monologue recounts for us, the fair readers, the life and times of Eddie Bloomberg: a rags to riches to rags...and back to riches tale of Dickensian proportions. Well, sort of. Here's the skinny. Eddie, sent as a child, by a mother and father short on parenting skills, to live with his movie director aunt, [Marla Bloom], quickly came to idolize the leading man in Marla's Blue Devil show. So much so that he did everything he could to emulate him, even fashioning a costume based on Dan Cassidy's original designs.
Of course, Blue Devil wasn't so keen on having to play hero caretaker to a twelve-year old, so he did his best to put the kibosh on Eddie's crimefighting career before it ever got anywhere. Not after long did Blue Devil join the Justice League, at which point he seemed to forget his old pals, like Eddie. Also, it didn't help that Blue Devil was dying all the freakin' time. Seriously. Enough already, guy!
Eddie, having lost his meal ticket when his aunt Marla died, struck out on his own to make it as a real hero, and had a little fun with Young Justice just before they disbanded. Washing out of Teen Titans try-outs and flunking the screening process for Lex Luthor's Everyman Program™, Eddie Bloomberg found himself out of money and out of hope, until a visit by a mysterious stranger landed him posession of a demon stick. So together with buddy Zachary Zatara, cousin to [Zatanna], he lit the candle and paid a visit to Neron (see [UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED]). You can probably see where this one is going.
Neron offers him a deal. Shocker! All the power Eddie ever dreamed on the condition that should Eddie's heretofore unwavering trust in Blue Devil ever falter, Eddie's soul would be forfeit to Neron on his twentieth birthday, and he would become Neron's protégé. Eddie, unwisely, takes the deal, becoming an honest-to-goodness Kid Devil, at which point Neron informs him that Dan Cassidy was indirectly responsible for the death of much-beloved aunt Marla. Eddie isn't buying it, but after Blue Devil continues to avoid him, he sets out to track him down and ask him the million dollar question. Which...he eventually does.
It's a rather ugly break-up as these things go.
Oh yeah—and as it turns out, Neron has the soul of Marla Bloom inside one of his little soul spheres.
Woof! That one was a beast to synopsize. Damn you, Geoff Johns, for stuffing so much content into this issue! Somewhat paradoxically, there isn't much that actually happens here. We're just playing catch-up for the late-comers, plus what new we learn about Kid Devil's demonic origin through a bargain with Neron. It plays well enough, though I'm a little tired of characters making bargains with lords of Hell and then being surprised when there's a twist ending to their life story. I mean...duh!
This issue is sort of what I've come to know as quintessential Geoff Johns. He takes something that used to be fun and puts a dark spin on it (he even managed to squeze in two standing-over-the-grave scenes, not including a fight that takes place in a cemetary). After all, that's life, right? It works on occasion. I'm not quite sure that it works here, however, though I do give Johns credit for weaving a coherent fabric for Eddie's life. It makes sense in a Geoff Johnsian kind of depressing way, though I have to admit that I never really thought to question why Eddie Bloomberg/Gopher/Kid Devil spent all of his time hanging out in Hollywood with his aunt, and I don't think I needed to know that it's because his parents were deadbeats. So you know, it's that sort of thing that tends to keep me from really warming up to Geoff Johns as a writer.
I see his point in a sense—the life of a superhero is bound to be pretty turbulent—for a superhero wannabe, perhaps, even more so. Psychologically, it holds a strange fascination to comprehend what drives young men in Eddie Bloomberg's ilk to a self-destructive life style in the same way that it's fascinating to deconstruct what leads power hungry egomaniacs and constant approval-seekers like Richard Nixon (or anybody else, really) to the presidency. Would a normal, well-adjusted youngster really go out of his way to follow in the footsteps of a guy for whom superheroism has, apparently, brought nothing but trouble? Good question, Geoff Johns. I just wish that for once, the ending could be remotely happy.
Also, while this issue demonstrates or implies solid emotional reasons for why Blue Devil has apparently been such a terrible friend, I still find it hard to believe he could be so hurtful.
That all being said, it's a good recap installment. Unless you're me, you probably haven't read BLUE DEVIL in a long time, if at all, so a refresher couldn't hurt. It goes almost without saying that Johns has done his homework, and he appears to have an affection for the old series, so I'll give credit where it's due on that. Though why is he always dissing Blue Devil? You'd think that in the Oblivion Bar, at least, the Blue Devil would have a little bit of street cred, instead of the patrons making statements like, "I thought Blue Devil was a sidekick." Okay, okay, running joke, Justin. I get it. I'll leave it alone.
Here's a quibble that has nothing to do with anything. It's odd that with the amount of research Snejbjerg did for this issue in portraying previous events, he drew Enchantress in her old green robe with the pointy witch hat in the Oblivion Bar sequence, when this would have taken place after the costume change accompanying the SHADOWPACT series. I don't mind that much. I have an strange affection for the witch hat, if I'm being honest. Maybe Enchantress simply rocks the old-school robe and witch hat combo when she's just chilling and doesn't have any heroing to do.
Last comment and then I promise I'm done. Blue Devil, at least as portrayed here, has pretty much become DC's version of Hellboy. I'll leave it at that.
This page last updated 3 September 2007.
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