Teen Titans

Annual #1

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FDC Presents Teen Titans
"The Big Bad"

By David Marshall

“Come on Amon! You can do it man!” Static yelled.

His teammate Amon Tomaz inched his way down a pair of parallel walking bars. Most of his weight was distributed to his arms and shoulders as his hands gripped the stainless steel rails so tightly his knuckles were white. His face wrinkled in agony as he tried to find just the right amount of weight to give his crippled legs.

Static looked on, hopeful for his friend’s success. “That’s it! You got this!”

Amon didn’t reply. He was hyper-focused on the task at hand. Drops of sweat beaded down his face and he gritted his teeth between grunts.

“What’s going on?” M’gann asked as she strode into the state of the art gymnasium in Titans Tower.

Static pointed to Amon. “Big A here is kicking these bars’ ass! That’s what’s happening!”

M’gann smiled and joined Static in rooting for their teammate. He was once Osiris, by far the most formidable of the Teen Titans in raw strength, thanks to the magic of their world’sBlack Adam. An extra-dimensional traveler named the Jubilee Stone somehow severed his link to his benefactor back on their earth and changed him back into his non-godlike form, Amon Tomaz. He closed himself off to almost all of his teammates but Static learned through bits of conversation that he was kidnapped, enslaved, and broken by Intergang on their old Earth. His life changed when the Marvel Family foe, Black Adam, fell in love with Amon’s sister, Adrianna. Adam wrought vengeance upon those responsible for his brother in-law’s condition and then shared his magic with Amon in much the same way Captain Marvel shared his with Freddie Freeman. That power was stripped from him not long after the Titans arrived on the new Earth and left him unable to use his legs.

The three Titans were joined by their teammate Rose Wilson. She watched Amon closely, her eyes narrowing as he inched along the bars painstakingly. “Your toes are pointed in,” said Rose.

Amon glared at Rose but forced his feet to straighten. He fell hard and let out a loud groan.

“Rose!” M’gann shrieked. “You distracted him!”

As usual Rose wouldn’t be swayed or convinced she had done wrong. “We can’t coddle him if he wishes to walk on his own.”

Static shook his head in disbelief. “Thank you very much, Little Miss Sunshine! Isn’t there somewhere else you could illuminate with your brand of gloom? Like the Antarctic where you can do no harm?”

“Call ‘em like I see ‘em,” Rose replied. “His toes were pointed in.”

Static and M’gann helped Amon sit up. A nasty bruise popped to the surface of his left shoulder.

“You okay, bro?” Static asked. “She’s an idiot!”

Amon winced as Static and M’gann draped his arms over their shoulders to help him stand. “Rose is right.”

“Huh?” M’gann asked.

“I don’t need the kid gloves,” Amon replied. “I need someone to push me and tell me how to improve. She tells it like it is.It’s why I voted for her over Beetle.”

Static couldn’t believe his ears. “You voted for her?”

Amon nodded. “Sure did. I couldn’t vote for myself so my choice was obvious.”

“Why?” Static asked, helping Amon to a seat. He released his hold on his teammate, giving M’gann his weight while he pulled the seat out for him. “I don’t get it.”

Amon held tightly to M’gann so he wouldn’t fall. “We were stranded on a strange, new world. Who knew what to expect? Jaime’s a great guy but I wasn’t sure he was tough enough to lead us against the unknown.”

“Jaime’s a good leader,” Static replied.

Amon dropped his head. “I wouldn’t know. I was changed into this pathetic cripple not long after we arrived.”

M’gann helped Static sit. “Don’t talk like that. You’ll get your legs back.”

“We don’t know that,” Amon answered. “It used to be so easy. I’d just call his name and the power would be mine. Black Adam! Just like that and I could move a mountain!”

Static searched the air for a hint of the magic lightning that would change his friend into the mighty Osiris but sensed no electricity in the air of any kind.

“See?” Amon asked. “Not a damned thing! Black Adam! Black Adam! Black Adam! I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve spoken the magic words since the Jubilee Stone transformed me but I haven’t felt even a spark of magic.”

Rose approached the trio with her hand outstretched. “Which is why you need to keep working hard.”

Static didn’t like Rose. She was rude, brash, and generally unpleasant to be around. Sometimes he swore her dissonant personality was unfit for a team environment. But then there were times he understood why the Titan leaders from their own Earth placed so much faith in her. This was one of those times. As much as it pained him to admit it, Rose was perhaps Amon’s best chance of ever walking again.

Monitor Control Room

“Come on, Jaime,” Traci begged. “We finally have a day off. Let’s go do something that doesn’t involve saving the world.”

Jaime shook his head as his fingers danced over the keyboard. “I have too much to do around here, sweetheart. Roy asked me to update the files on this new Five and Donna wants me to get with Gar to catalog the temporal changes surrounding the Doom Patrol in case any of us ever lose memory of it happening.”

Traci threw her hands in the air. “Why do I even bother?”

Jaime whirled around in his chair. “Come on, Trace! Don’t be like that. You know I have a job to do!”

“If I had known you getting elected leader meant I would become a superhero widow, I would have voted for Rose,” Traci replied.

“What do you want me to do?” Jaime shot back. He didn’t mean to sound so hateful but Traci’s nagging was getting to him. She’d been at it for weeks. Surely she understood the importance of keeping their files up to date? What if some sliver of seemingly minor information tucked away in those files proved to be their ticket home?

“What I want you to do is… You know what? Just keep doing what you’re doing!” Traci shouted. “But don’t expect me to wait around until you’re sucked completely up Roy’s butt!”

“What does Roy have to do with any of this?” Jaime asked, not appreciating the inference.

“Make of it what you will,” Traci replied. “I always thought you were your own man but the more I get to know you, the more I realize how insecure you are! I bet if Roy asked you to polish his little Speedy booties, you’d be quick to whip a bright, clean cloth out of that armor of yours!”

“I have responsibilities!” Jaime shouted. “They include making sure none of us are killed on one of these missions! And if that means…”

“If it means what?” Traci asked. “Go ahead, say it!”

Jaime dropped his head and sighed. “You’re not being fair.”

“And you’re not being much of a boyfriend,” Traci replied as she walked off.

Jaime watched the door whisk shut behind her. No sooner than they closed shut than he heard a whistle behind him. He turned to find Arsenal standing in the opposite doorway.

“How much of that did you hear?” Jaime asked as he slumped down in his seat.

“Enough,” Arsenal replied. “I wish I could tell you leadership would get easier but I can’t.”

“There are so many demands on me,” Jaime explained. “I feel like I’m failing them, you, the senior team, the…”

Arsenal held up his hands. “Whoa! Take a second to catch your breath, Sport. You’re not failing anybody, least of all me.”

“It doesn’t concern you that the team is fracturing around me?” Jaime asked.

Arsenal smiled and entered the room. “Fractured? You don’t know fractured! You should have been around in the old days! Every guy on the team had the goo-goo eyes for Donna. We fought like cats and dogs over simple things like who would sit beside her during team meetings. And then when the new team started up and some of us founders weren’t asked to be a part of it… Dude, it’s not the Titans if somebody’s not pissed at somebody else. It means you’re becoming family.”

“Family?” Jaime asked. “Do you have any idea what it’s like having a wildcard like Rose on the team? Afraid she’s going to either kill one of our foes or one of us? She’s uncontrollable.”

Arsenal started counting on his fingers. “Duela. Terra. The original Hawk. Golden Eagle. Raven’s gone off the deep end more than once and when she goes off the deep end it’s the universe that suffers not just the team. Hang in there. You’re doing great.”

“I’m surprised you still have confidence in me,” Jaime admitted.

“And why wouldn’t I?” Roy asked. “I can’t tell you how happy I was when the others elected you. You’re the stability they need.”

“But what about Traci?” Jaime asked.

A big grin spread across Arsenal’s face. “I think you should spend the day with her.”

“What about my responsibilities?” Jaime asked.

“Look kid, when I was your age I would have left Green Arrow tied up over a boiling pit of acid if I knew Donna was going to call. Go get your girl!”

“But my responsibilities…”

“Can wait,” Arsenal replied. “I’ll finish up here.”

Jaime felt a flood of gratitude rush through him. “Gracias, my friend.”

The Gym

“Black Adam!” Amon called. “Come on, big guy! Where are you? Black Adam! Do you hear me? Black Adam!”

Rose Wilson walked behind Amon watching his feet carefully to assure they didn’t turn inward. “Have you considered the magic may not work the same way on this Earth?”

Amon held onto the parallel bars but turned to look over his shoulder at Rose. “Of course I have! But I have to keep trying.”

“Why?” Rose asked.

Amon’s face twisted. “What do you mean? I think it’s obvious why!”

“So you can walk again?” Rose asked. “Do you believe that’s the only way you can contribute to this team?”

“Of course it is!” Amon answered. “Without my powers I’m just a guy whose legs were crushed by Intergang! Black Adam!”

Rose looked to Static and Miss Martian who were standing to the side watching. Static shook his head. They were all hopeful he would feel the magic lightning tickling the air before it struck. Perhaps it was a farfetched expectation. They weren’t even sure the magic lightning gave off the same kind of electrical signature regular lightning produced.

“What the use?” Amon said. He dropped his hands and crumpled to the floor once more. “What’s the use? He can’t hear me! This Black Adam is a different person than the one who gave me my powers.”

“You can’t give up,” Miss Martian implored. “You have to keep trying.”

Amon looked angry. “Try? What do you know of trying? You can do anything you want, go where you want, without as much as thinking about it! Me? These bars support most of my weight and I’m lucky if I can move two inches without my toes turning in! Don’t talk to me about trying!”

“I’m… sorry,” replied a visibly-shaken Miss Martian. “I didn’t mean to..”

“Nobody means to,” Amon shot back his face snarled in anger. “But that doesn’t change the fact that the only way I’m ever going to walk again, be a god again, is to keep yelling his name and make him hear me! Black Adam! Black Adam! Where are you damn it?”

Rose wrapped an arm around Amon’s waist and whipped him around to face her. “She was encouraging you, Jackass! Look you can scream the Big Black Cheese’s name all day if you want but it’s apparent he either doesn’t hear a word you’re saying or he doesn’t give a damn! That doesn’t give you a right to talk to a teammate like that when all they’re doing is trying to support you! If all you can do is feel sorry for yourself then you’re more pathetic than even you believe you are!”

Amon’s shock turned to horror when the gym’s far wall crumpled. An alarm blared to life, alerting the Titans they were under attack. The Titans turned as one to gauge the threat. A moment later he stood among them and didn’t look one bit happy.

“Who is trying to steal my lightning?” Black Adam snarled.

Amon’s face brightened. “You came! You finally came! I knew you would if I spoke your name enough! I knew you wouldn’t let me down!”

“I don’t think he’s in a sharing mood, dude,” said Static.

“You, the pathetic cripple!” Black Adam said, pointing to Amon. “You dare try and weaken me?”

Amon’s fingers were even whiter on the bars than when he tried to walk. “It’s me…Amon.”

“I know no one by that name,” Black Adam hissed.

Amon inched along the bar toward Black Adam. “But you do. My sister is your queen.”

“You babble like a madman,” Black Adam answered. “And I don’t suffer madmen or fools! Were you a grown man rather than a useless invalid youth, I would rip you apart for toying with me!”

“No you don’t understand,” Amon argued. “I need your power to walk again!”

Black Adam crossed his arms and threw his head back in laughter. “You imagine me as benevolent as that fool Captain Marvel? Perhaps I should tear your body asunder and put you out of your misery!”

“That’s enough!” said Rose. She moved in front of Amon. “Take one more step toward our friend and you’ll wish you hadn’t.”

Adam made a show of taking the step Rose dared. “Now what,little girl?”

Swiftly enough to surprise even Black Adam, Rose moved her right leg behind Adam’s left and swept him off his feet.

“Oh crap! Rose!” Static yelled. “What the hell have you done? That’s Black Freakin’ Adam!”

“Just get Amon out of here now!” Rose replied.

For the first time, Static saw Rose as more than just an unbalanced threat to the makeup of the team. She was willing to sacrifice herself to save Amon from a being that could literally, as he threatened, “rip” any of them apart.

“I’m on it,” Miss Martian cried. She flew to Amon and grabbed him beneath his armpits. “Let’s get you out of here.”

“No!” Amon argued. Though his legs were useless he put up quite a fight, flailing away at M’gann with both arms. “My fate is in the hands of Black Adam!”

Black Adam lashed out at Rose but even with his super-speed, she flipped out of the way. “You’ll have to do better than that, big guy,” she taunted. “Precognition.”

“Damn it Amon!” Static cried over the fray. “Let M’gann get you to safety.”

Black Adam shot to his feet. “There is no safety for one who tries to take my power!”

“Get out of there, Rose!” Static yelled. He waited until his teammate bounded safely from wall to wall, almost running up one of them, before he attacked. Once sure Rose was safe, he unleashed an electrical storm that would bring just about any meta to their knees. Unfortunately Black Adam wasn’t just about any other metahuman. He was a Marvel and they were up there with Superman. He painstakingly powered his way toward Static. “Crap! Crap! Crap! Don’t we have a hotline to the Justice League or at least a Bat-phone or something?”

Adam struggled against the torrent of lightning before stomping a foot against the floor. It buckled and rose toward Static like a tsunami. The cresting wave crashed into the opposite wall and opened a hole in the other side of the building. Static fought upstream against the debris but pulled some of the metallic objects together and rose into the air on them.

“What the hell’s going on here?”Arsenal yelled over the fray. It didn’t take him long to survey the situation and give his professional assessment. “Oh crap!”

The rest of the Teen Titans filed in after him.

Blue Beetle was the first to attack. Metahuman-level rocket launchers deployed from his back and shot toward Black Adam. They exploded against the god’s chest but he appeared unfazed. If anything he looked angrier than ever.

“I am finished playing with you children,” Black Adam warned. He swatted at Miss Martian but she became immaterial at the last moment and the mighty blow passed through her rather than slaying her.

Arsenal launched a mortar of his own but not at Black Adam. This one exploded against the floor beneath his feet and sent him flying. “Let’s take this outside!” Arsenal yelled over the fray. “In case you haven’t noticed Black Adam, you have no invitation!”

Static gathered his wits and followed his teammates outside to face by far the greatest threat they ever faced. He hoped Roy was really as confident as he sounded.

Aquagirl and Miss Martian charged Black Adam as he arose. They were the closest thing the Titans had to super-strength without Amon. Miss Martian hit him high while Aquagirl went for his knees. For their trouble Aquagirl cried out in pain the moment she slammed into him and Miss Martian’s attack hardly bothered their foe. Adam swatted both away like flies.

“Damn! There goes our strength!” Roy cried.

“Such melee is not always won with strength,” Traci relied. At her command the Tower stretched awake and reached the cross-section of its giant T toward Black Adam like two giant arms. It grabbed him and wrapped him tightly in its grip.

“That’s it Traci!” Blue Beetle yelled. “Great work! Now hold him there while I..”

Black Adam burst free of the Tower’s grip and shot toward Traci.

“Oh god!” Traci screeched.

Blue Beetle threw up a force field around her at the last moment. Black Adam slammed into it and it sent him reeling. “Good ol’ armor! And no, we’re not going nuclear on him! We’ll solve this our way!”

Arsenal launched another round of munitions at Black Adam to distract him. “Now Jaime! Hit him with something big!”

“Like what?” Jaime asked.

“I don’t care just make sure it hurts!” Arsenal replied. It was the last thing he said before Adam slung him into a nearby tree.

Rose re-entered the fray, this time with her energy katanas. She hurled them at Black Adam and they sunk up in his back. She managed to hurt him! “Don’t just stand there gawking Jaime! Now for God’s sake!”

Black Adam dug at the katanas buried in his back while Jaime unloaded a volley of other-worldly laser fire that made even a god cry out in agony.

“We’re doing it guys!” Static yelled “Keep it up! My turn!”

Another barrage of electricity struck Black Adam and staggered him. “Don’t like electricity do you big man?”

They were actually doing it! Even a being as powerful as Black Adam could be defeated if the Titans worked together like a team!

Black Adam fell to his knees and for a brief moment it appeared he was going down but he was far from finished. With Static’s lightning still buzzing over his body, he stood defiantly.

“I am more than five-thousand years old!” he began. “I have faced threats you children couldn’t begin to comprehend! I’ve gone toe to toe with the Marvel Family and Superman! And you think you can defeat me so easily? I am Black Adam, bastard scion of the ancient wizard! I am power incarnate! I will not fall this day to a den of children!”

Black Adam stretched his arms apart and clapped his hands together hard. The resulting shockwave toppled nearly everything in its path and sent the Titans flying. Those who were conscious grabbed teammates who weren’t as lucky. Static wasn’t sure where they would land but Traci had a trick up her sleeve with an assist from the one Titan yet to enter the fray.

A familiar city street appeared below them. The urban environment allowed Traci to latch onto its deep magic and stop the Titans flight in midair. They floated gently to the ground while the William Tell Overture blasted from a set of loudspeakers on the balcony of a run-down apartment over the hardware store.

“Bona to vada, my fellow Titans!” Danny the Street puffed in dark black smoke erupting from a bakery on his main strip. A portly baker exited his shop cursing in Parsi.

Static was happy for their friend’s timely entrance. “The Willim Tell Overture? A little dramatic don’t you think?”

The letters on an old sign in the lingerie shop arranged themselves to read, “When you make the rescue, you can choose the music my friend.”

“Touche,” Static replied.

“What sort of magic is this?” Black Adam cried. “Even in my many years I’ve never witnessed such a sight! A street appeared from nowhere!”

“And you know the best part about this street?” Blue Beetle asked. “His exit is even better than his entrance!”

The water in a puddle on the street arranged itself to read. “I’ll have to remember that line the next time I’m in a club!”

Black Adam gathered himself and rose into the air and shot toward them. “No matter the trickery, I’ll…”

“Danny get us out here!” Beetle ordered.

And just like that they were elsewhere, but… where?”

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