Beyond the Background: The Teen Team
Today Beyond the Background spotlights a trio of intergalactic teenagers from beyond the stars. No, it’s not the Teen Force from NBC’s Space Stars or the Neutrinos from TMNT. I’m talking about My Life as a Teenage Robot‘s The Teen Team.
For the uninformed, the Teen Team were a band of teenage superheroes from different galaxies in “outer space, or course”, who appeared in 1 1/3 episodes of Teenage Robot (I’ll elaborate on this later). Their roster consisted of The Amazing Orion, The Stupendous Squish and The Elusive (or Mysterious) Mistery.
Yeah, no prizes for guessing, these three were fun-house mirror versions of Glen Murukami and Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans.
Basically each Teen Team member was a mash-up of 1 or 2 Titans characters:
- The Amazing Orion, for example, physically resembled an all-organic version of Cyborg (Big O was voiced by Phil LaMarr, BTW),though he possessed powers similar to Starfire: flying and firing brightly colored energy blasts from his hands.
- The Stupendous Squish was obviously the Teen Team’s answer to Beast Boy: he was the shortest team member and had the least serious personality, cracking corny jokes and puns left and right, even while in the heat of battle. Squish appeared to be made of a turquoise gelatinous substance and his costume resembled a tube of toothpaste; he was able to ‘squish’ out of his costume (either his entire body or just his head) and once out, morph into nearly any shape, including letters (he once shifted into the word ‘SPLAT’ while tussling with Tadzilla.
- The Mysterious Mistery (or Misty for short) was the female member (I would’ve made them 2 girls and a boy instead of the reverse, as I’m not really feeling the ‘token girl’ shtick these days and I always thought it was weird how Jenny didn’t have any female friends on the show), whose powers were psychic in nature, with the ability to read and control others’ minds, as well as an ability to turn into a cloud of mist, appropriately enough. Misty’s main ability is her ability to transform parts or all of her body completely into mist/smoke at will. She can use this form to cushion a fall. Also in this form, she can’t be physically hurt. In mist form she can literally get inside the mind of people, robots, and animals to know what they are thinking and their biggest fears. She can turn into smoke to heal any wound in seconds and can also teleport in mist form. She also has some martial arts skills, a direct nod to another TT member, Robin. Misty typically wears a hood/cowl in battle, which makes the outline of her head resemble that of the TT character Jinx; unmasked, she physically resembles Raven.
The Teen Team appeared as a team in only a single episode, titled appropriately enough, “Teen Team Time”. They initially befriend Jenny and even make her a team member at one one point.
But it isn’t long before things begin to go awry. Here’s the short in its’ entirety so’s I don’t have to explain the plot.
Mistery made a second appearance by herself (this is what I meant by 1 1/3 episode appearances) in a follow-up short entitled “Teenage Mutant Ninja Troubles”, in which Misty returns to Earth after stating that the Teen Team has disbanded due to internal conflicts (it is mentioned that after the split, Orion took up ballet!) and so she begins attending Jenny’s school, where she is teased by the Krust Cousins, Brit and Tiff. Not standing for any of that noise, Misty engages in a prank war with the Krusts, however she takes things too far, escalating things to the point of Misty squaring off against Jenny herself. Things end on a less that auspicious note, with Misty taking off for parts unknown.
This latter episode bummed me out; I liked the idea of Jenny finally having another girl character to talk to and confide in, and I liked someone finally laying some well-deserved smack-down on the Krust Cousins (though I did kind of like their characters in a way, I had always hoped they’d reform one day and if not become Jenny’s buddies, at least become good-natured goofs a la Bulk and Skull), but having Misty go heel didn’t please me and I was really dismayed that the writers broke up the Teen Team. I thought they were kind of cool, and would’ve liked to have seen more of them as heroes. Why are Supers so cool when placed in teams of 3? You have the DC Trinity…
…The Galaxy Trio…
…And the Troika from Jim Lee’s Wild C.A.T.s.
Superheroes are almost always cooler as trios.
Of course, there are always exceptions.