Review: The New Teen Titans #18

The New Teen Titans #18 cover
Cover by George Pérez

The New Teen Titans #18
Published and © by DC, April 1982

Title: “A Pretty Girl Is Like a … Maladi!”
Synopsis: The Titans face off with the Russian Starfire who is in the United States on a tragic mission.

Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciler: George Pérez
Embellisher: Romeo Tanghal

Review: Cold War politics often lacked subtlety, a fact on full display in this awkwardly written issue of The New Teen Titans. It’s understandable why writer Marv Wolfman would want to introduce political diversity to the Titans’ roster, but the rushed repositioning of Kid Flash as an outspoken “Midwestern conservative” is jarring. It’s not Wally West’s politics but rather his angry, chip-on-his-shoulder attitude that makes the character unlikeable in this outing; the political exchanges feel forced and pull readers out of the story. On the upside, the tragic ending, though not surprising, is well handled and packs a heartfelt emotional punch.

Grade: B

Cool factor: The guest appearance by the Russian Starfire offers a fun callback to the Teen Titans’ original Silver and early Bronze Age adventures.
Not-so-cool factor: Speaking of those adventures, it’s hard to imagine this Wally West ever riding around with his superpowered chums in a hippy van.

Collector’s note: According to MyComicShop.com, there is a Mark Jewelers variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “Look, I don’t put you down for being liberals. Why attack me for being a Midwestern conservative?” – Wally West, Reagan Republican

Editor’s note: This review was written May 10, 2023.

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