B&B 2-in-1 Round 2: Teen Titans vs. Deathlok

Batman scored an easy 1-0 in the first round over the blue-eyed Thing who, it must be said, kind of lay down and took it. Can Ben Grimm make a comeback and tie it all up? His strategy: To get several guest-stars on top of the advertized team-up. But wait, Batman's bringing a whole team to the fight.

In the black corner... it's Batman and the Teen Titans, written by Bob Haney and drawn by Nick Cardy, Brave and the Bold #94, Rebels in the Streets.

In the orange corner... we have the Thing and Deathlok, written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Ron Wilson and Pablo Marcos, Marvel Two-in-One #27, Day of the Demolisher!

Ready or not... DING DING DING!

The Stars
Batman has ostensibly walked into one of Bob Haney's Silver Age Teen Titans stories, and with the president's backing, must race the clock to keep angry ghetto kids from exploding an atomic bomb in the heart of Gotham City. It's teenager vs. the adult establishment, and the "Top establishment symbol" is Batman. Why else would there be a statue of that square in Gotham?
And yet, he's sympathetic to their cause - it's a rough life in the ghetto, and the conditions there are only breeding criminals and terrorists - it's just that the Commish's hard stance on protestors is ruining his credibility with the kids!
It may be 1971, but Haney is writing a 60s story, and so the superhero is motivated by insuring his popularity. Where are you parades now, old man? And yet, Batman shows he's ready to walk to walk, is willing to make himself a hostage, intercedes on their behalf with the courts and the White House, and does everything he can to avoid a nuclear holocaust. +6 Bat-points
I'm a bit disappointed. The comic gets the Thing in a tux for President Carter's inauguration, but he takes it off to guard POTUS and have his big punch-up with a mind-controlled Deathlok at the end! Furthermore, he doesn't get the win the fight, because the Invisible Girl has had enough and isolates the cyborg assassin in a force field. Come on, Ben! You've got to work at it a little harder than that! Trying to get a date with the president's daughter Amy for Franklin Richards is a step in the right direction (but a 10-year-old is a bit out of the 4-year-old's range), but Ben loses those points again for having a strange phobia about badly-drawn dinosaurs.
Well, they ARE kind of terrifying, in their way. +3 points

The Villains
Batman is up against STOPP (the Society to Outlaw Parent Power), teenagers who have taken over Gotham's ghetto and given the the adult establishment an ultimatum: Take us seriously or we nuke the city! How easy is it for kids to get a hold of a nuke, given the Internet doesn't exist yet? Pretty easy!
It's a wonder we haven't been blown up yet! Among STOPP's demands - which Batman characterizes as "things that should've been done long ago" - are prosecuting all slumlords, rounding up known pushers, cleaning up the slum's garbage, closing ghetto schools and releasing STOPP prisoners. And they get what they want! You sort of want to respect that, even if their methods are terrible. And when the situation's been defused, the true villain of the piece comes out: Linda of whom Lilith says "she's so uptight, I doubt if I can crack her wave-length". Abandonment issues can make a girl do crazy things... +5 Bat-points

Mentallo and the Fixer have brainwashed Deathlok to act as a Manchurian candidate from the future who'll use a mind control gun on Jimmy Carter so they can own the White House. Well at least they have ambition! Will they be able to share all that power though? I mean, they're rather competitive with each other:
"I'm the one with the most exposition!" "No, I am!" Guys, while you were jawing about things we already knew, the FF snuck up behind you and sent you to jail. +5 points

The Guests
Though Haney created the Teen Titans, he wasn't writing that book in '71, so it's a little weird to see Lilith among their number. Well, it's lucky she doesn't wear a costume, because Batman specifically asks for two Titans in civies (Robin is the other), and two in costume (Kid-Flash and Wonder Girl). While the costumes look for the bomb maker or bomb all around town - Wonder Girl "makes every scene in town", if you know what I mean -
Dick and Lilith infiltrate STOPP, which isn't easy given their "well-fed establishment faces". Jeepers! These kids can smell privilege a mile away! Bonus points for using C.B. call signs like Birdboy (he'll be a movie when he grows up), Twinkletoes and Bracelets (Batman is Cowlman), though none for Lilith? That's too bad because her magic telepathy is the key to getting through to the distraught girl who would blow up the city. +6 Bat-points

Ben Grimm has several guest-stars, but Deathlok is the featured character, though hardly an ally! His computer mind off-line and his human brain set on "Angst", he's the villains' puppet. And yet, there's a sequence where he keeps dropping the rifle and picking it back up. He's in there, fighting!
And he's finding loopholes to escape his conditioning too! Since the villains never said anything about stealth, Deathlok races to the Inauguration podium mind control gun blazing...
...and quoting Spock in Star Trek VI, awesome... which defeats the whole purpose. And President Carter DOES get shot!
Oh Sue! What are you talking about? Your power is INVISIBLE FORCE FIELDS!!! YOU failed the president, not Ben! Ben gets busy punching Deathlok over and over and over while the cyborg shouts at him to fight HARDER! So badass. But there are even MORE guest-stars! Nick Fury, back for another round, but not doing much more than ALSO no preventing POTUS from getting shot, and - surprise! - the Impossible Man who came very close to being inaugurated as president of the United States!
Now THAT'S a story I would have liked to read. But shame on Reed Richards who, hearing that two morts like Mentallo and Fixer are going to maybe shoot the president, looks pale and shaken and calls a third party for help... WHEN HIS WIFE HAS INVISIBLE FORCE FIELDS GAHHHHH!!!!! The FF does its best to drain Deathlok's (and Impossible Man's) points, but they're in this to fail. +8 points

Odds vs. Ends
From Brave and the Bold:
-Nick Cardy was the original Teen Titans artist, and was still drawing the book at this point. Love, love, love his art. +2 Bat-points
-Gotham City really is the worst place on Earth. I mean, we know it has slums, but the ghetto looks like they ALREADY dropped the bomb on it. +2 Bat-points
From Marvel Two-in-One:
-Whoo, Jack Kirby cover! And Reed gets it right in the armpit! (Yeah, okay, not his best, but I eat his stuff up.) +1 point
-A point for coming out two weeks after Jimmy Carter's actual inauguration happened, though that of course means it can't possibly look like the real event. Why did they even set it on a band stand in the White House's back yard instead of the Capitol steps? Or does it move around on the president-elect's whims? +1 point

Farewells and Scoring
Friendly farewell: Batman doesn't say goodbye to the Titans at all, but he has a hopeful chat with Commissioner Gordon. +1 Bat-point
Unfriendly farewell: Just a sneer from Deathlok - the contempt, the contempt! - and Nick Fury finally says goodbye, or rather just turns his back and hurries off to SHIELD HQ.
And while Ben doesn't have to say goodbye to the Fantastic Four - they're his team - he IS embarrassed Reed called in the Imp to save their collective bacon, and gets told to SHUT UP.
That hurts. +3 points

The teenagers net Batman 22 points to Deathlok's 21! Oh, so close! But still a solid Batman victory and once again, it's because Ben Grimm himself isn't doing so well. Does Marv Wolfman not love the character? If so, it's going to be a rough ride and a short fight. But we're committed. Next time, we'll find out of water can beat plastic and win one for the Orange Rock.



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