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Teen Titans 13
"A Swingin' Christmas Caper!"

Art: Nick Cardy

It's two nights before Christmas and outside of town, Bob Ratchet asks his employer if they can turn up the heat since he can hardly work. Ebenezzer Scrounge appreciates the cold temperature and finds it stimulating -- as it keeps him on his toes. Ratchet hopes to finish his work so that he'll have Christmas Day off, but Scrounge can't see why his employee wouldn't want to earn some money on the 25th. Ratchet says that everyone celebrates the holiday, but Scrounge does not because it's all humbug, and Ratchet can have it off... that is if he can keep at the books. Shivering, Ratchet knows that his boss is so stingy that he keeps the pull tabs from soda cans, but he needs the job to for his son's electric wheelchair as a Christmas present. With what he earns, he can barely afford it by working overtime.

Later, Scrounge bids Ratchet goodbye, and as the employee leaves early, he sees a truck, with two shady characters inside. Scrounge obviously is up to something, and after Bob Ratchet has left the Junk-O-Rama, his son comes in for a visit, but finds the office empty. Heading for the main junkyard, Tom sees Scrounge accepting money from Mr. Big's two hoods, and the miser takes his leave, while the crooks get to work. One of the hoods activates a device and aims it at the junkpile, which transforms the imported "junk" into brand-new merchandise which can be sold at a profit! With The Junk-O-Rama as a cover, their plan is foolproof. Tom now knows that they are smugglers and his father's boss is an unknowing accessory to their crime. When Tom tells his father what he saw, the elder Ratchet understands why Scrounge let him off early. Instead of going to the police as his son advises, Ratchet goes to see his boss, who tells him that he's renting his junkyard to businessmen, and whatever they do is their business. Ratchet suggests that they call the police...

Scrounge threatens to fire him, and decides to have him work on Christmas Day so that he can watch him. Ratchet wheels his son home, unwilling to risk his job, and Tom understands. He needs help -- and he knows just who to call! Soon, The Teen Titans are on the scene and are with Tom, as they watch a truck approach the gates, and see the hoods making another delivery. Tom stays in hiding, while the others cling to the back of the truck...

After the junk has been unloaded, the hoods prepare to use the device,when they hear someone behind a nearby junkpile! They leap at the dark figure, who reacts violently, and forces them to bid a hasty retreat!

As the crooks start the truck, The Teen Titans leap off, and Aqualad regrets that they didn't actually get to see the "junk" get changed into new items, while Robin tells them to follow the shadowy figure. At the old mansion which is Scrounge's home, the figure is rapping hard on the door, as he demands that the miser open the door, and Scrounge recognizes that voice!

The pounding continues, and Scrounge opens the door, to find Jacob Farley on his doorstep! Farley has come back to have his revenge on him...

He grabs Scrounge by the neck and is about to get his revenge, when Kid Flash vibrates through the wall, and spins past Farley and Scrounge, saving him. Farley recognizes The Teen Titans, and they see his prison uniform. He was Scrounge's partner, but now he's a convict since he took the fall for him. They sold some defective materials -- someone was hurt on the job, and he alone was blamed. Farley didn't know that it was defective, but Scrounge had arranged it so he was in the clear...

Scrounge denies Farley's story, which has the convict eager to have his head, but Robin manages to restrain him. Scrounge has had enough and decides to call the police to pick up Farley and get rid of The Titans. Aqualad figures that they should try to stop Scrounge, but Robin knows that they are trespassers, and Farley is a fugitive. Wondergirl turns and sees that Farley has gone, and Tom points to the window. He has disappeared, and Aqualad wonders if they should believe him or Scrounge's story. This gives Robin a great idea, especially since they've met Ebenezer Scrounge, Jacob Farley, and Tiny Tom! Aqualad, Kid Flash, and Wonder Girl all know about Dickens' "A Christmas Carol!"

They decide to take a page from Dickens and get Scrounge to mend his ways. On Christmas Eve, Ratchet bids his son goodbye, as he goes to work, and he despises his employer. Tom tells him that he shouldn't hate Scrounge, as he is an unhappy old man, and he feels sorry for him. Ratchet sees his son's point and is proud to be his father. At the office, Scrounge accuses Ratchet of dawdling, but the employee is freezing! After the hours have passed, Ratchet wishes his employee a Merry Christmas, but Scrounge reminds him to show up for work tomorrow! Scrounge heads inside to await another delivery.

Inside, he is unnerved by Farley's visit, but is sure that the police will find him. He hears a noise, and sees a ghost passing through the wall! The Ghost of Christmas Past has come for him, and is able to stop Scrounge by reaching the door before he can. The Ghost hands Scrounge a picture of himself in his younger days, when the young Ebenezer was in love with a girl named Alice, but she jilted him. Scrounge begs to be spared, but The Ghost tells him to mend his ways before he runs out of time...

Outside, Scrounge runs for home in hopes of escape, but as he runs through the junkyard, he meets The Ghost of Christmas Present. The Ghost points at Bob Ratchet, who is scavenging for parts for his son's wheelchair. The miser can't see how it's his fault that the boy is unable to walk, but The Ghost knows that it is because of Scrounge that Bob Ratchet has to work on Christmas Day, and he can't afford the new electric wheelchair which would enable his son to move around like other kids. The Ghost mentions Jacob Farley, who took the fall for Scrounge, and also warns him to change his ways -- before it's too late.

Ebenezer Scrounge turns to flee, but sees a flying figure, who is The Ghost of Christmas Future, and who is here to show him his own fate. Scrounge covers his ears as he hears the voices talk of his demise, and how it was learned that he was involved in illegal activities. Scrounge begs for the voices to stop, but one voice rises over the rest, and it speaks of having pity for the poor, unhappy man who still has some good in him. The miser recognizes the voice as that of Tiny Tom, who is speaking on his behalf. Both he and "The Ghost of Christmas Future" turn to see the approach of Mr. Big's men in their truck and car...

The flying figure of Wonder Girl is winged by a shot, and falls to the ground, where one of Mr. Big's men removes her disguise, and the other Teen Titans appear on the scene. Scrounge sees the true nature of the two ghosts, who were Kid Flash and Aqualad in disguise!

Aqualad and Robin wade into Mr. Big's men, while the bossman uses a crane to dump some junk towards the unconscious figure of Wonder Girl,but Kid Flash uses some super-speed juggling to arrange a unique Christmas Card in mid-air from it.

A magnet pulls Wonder Girl by her bracelets, and drops her into a car crusher, where she revives! She uses her amazonian strength to prevent the compactor from closing in on her.

Robin swings in on a bat-rope to knock the hood from the controls, and as The Teen Wonder turns off the power, Mr. Big activates Scrounge's trap for catching trespassers! Robin is pulled from the bat-rope and lands on the junkpile, while Kid Flash runs towards the laughing Mr. Big...

Unfortunately, Wally is unable to get traction on the slippery ground, and is also caught on the junkpile. Aqualad punches out the hoods with the force of a hammerhead, and is unaffected by the slippery oil, but he too is caught in the unyielding force...

The junk tree has three of the Titans, with Wonder Girl swooping in to tear it asunder, but she, too, is caught, and Mr. Big laughs at the new Christmas ornaments. Tom rolls in towards Mr. Big to get him to free the Titans, but he is grabbed, while the other hoods break his wheelchair, and Scrounge watches this in horror.

Scrounge turns off the device, then uses a fender to destroy it, while the Titans are freed, and Mr. Big rushes him, with gun drawn... Scrounge uses the fender to knock him out, while Robin punches out a hood, and Wonder Girl puts two hood's heads together, and Tom cheers them on...

Aqualad slams into the hood holding Tom, while Kid Flash uses his feet to catch him. Now, it is Mr. Big and his hoods who are arrayed around the junk tree, and Robin asks Scrounge what caused him to change his mind. Their visits as the ghosts of Past, Present, and Future caused him to see himself as he really was, and what he had become. When Tom's wheelchair was destroyed, he got angry, and decided to help the boy who defended him. Scrounge vows to remain a reformed man, and Bob Ratchet won't have to work on Christmas Day. He assures Tom that his father will have a nice raise, as well. Farley will also have Scrounge do his best to have his sentence changed. The Junk-O-Rama owner uses the secret junk transformer to turn the damaged wheelchair into a new electric model!

On Christmas Day, Wonder Girl has a new outfit to replace the one damaged by Mr. Big's hoods. Kid Flash says that he would hang out a stocking, but he thinks that Scrounge would fill it with junk, and Ebenezer assures him that it would be gold-plated junk. Bob Ratchet receives another present... a new heater in the office, which shows that his boss has a warm heart. Aqualad wonders if anyone could be having as great a Christmas as they are, and Robin decides to have Tom answer that. Tiny Tom gives best wishes for all, and a swinging and groovy new year... Bless us everyone!

This story is Nick Cardy's favorite one. It's mine, as well. I'm sure that Jen Contino would agree.

Bob Ratchet resembles Joe Orlando in appearance, I think.

Cardy has a delightful line composition throughout the story.

In The Brave And The Bold #100, Green Lantern also dealt with smugglers in another Bob Haney story.

One of the hoods is wearing Marlon Brando's outfit from "The Wild One." This reminds me of Action Comics #356(?) where The Son of The Annihilator sported a dated version of a juvenile delinquent's fashions.

For once in a Haney story, the Titans note the odd coincidence between the names of the characters in their book and those in Charles Dickens' classic.

Kid Flash does a fine ghost impression, while Aqualad's blue boots would give him away, and Wonder Girl's outfit shows that the future looks great!

The Speedster has a unique way with words when it comes to Christmas card and juggling junk.

Nick Cardy's version of Donna Troy is my favorite version of the character (with all respect to George Perez), I had such a crush on the character when I saw her in the 1975 DC Christmas With The Super-Heroes Limited Edition, and I still do. Sighs.

There's a new Titans series on the horizon, along with a new Outsiders one, as reported by Jen Contino at The Pulse, and it seems to me that they'll have a tough act to follow. Haney and Cardy, as well as Wolfman and Perez are among the versions I've enjoyed over the years. Bob Rozakis' is another favorite of mine from the '70s, especially for the character of Duela Dent as The Harlequin.

This Review Is Dedicated To The Pulse's
Real-Life Wonder Girl
Jennifer M. Contino

Steve Chung
"A Swingin' Christmas Review!"