May 27, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #58: Baby Wildebeest

They grow up so fast.
They grow up so fast.

Babies are many things.  They can be cute, gooey, smelly, and the apple of their parents’ eyes.  They also tend to be fragile.  Babies are the things that we may want to protect the most in any given situation.

So, what if the baby in question actually somehow becomes a superhero?  To answer that question, we come to Baby Wildebeest.

The Teen Titans have had many members, but most of them are, as the name implies, teenagers or maybe a wee bit older than that.  How did they somehow get a toddler for a member?

To answer that, we need to look into the team’s history.  Among the many villains the Titans faced from time to time was the Wildebeest Society.  These guys actually had an interesting M.O.  There were many members wearing the distinctive hairy costume, but only one would go out in public at a time.  Since each member had different habits and crimes-of-choice, but all wore the same suit, it would appear that there was only one Wildebeest, and he was an unpredictable criminal mastermind.

Eventually the Titans figured that shtick out and got to work.  Unfortunately, by the time the Wildebeest Society had come under the control of former Titan Jericho, who had been corrupted by all manner of evil spirits from the realm of Azarath, which in this case is not the setting for World of Warcraft.  No, this Azarath was the world where the demon Trigon held sway, and that guy was always trying to conquer the Earth by first corrupting his daughter Raven, and then by corrupting anyone else who might have superpowers and prove useful.  Jericho was one of the latter.

Under Jericho’s leadership, the Wildebeest Society came up with the genius idea to use all kinds of screwy science and sorcery to breed some new lifeforms that would house the souls of Azarath.  They were successful exactly once:  Baby Wildebeest.

He's got his father's...horns?
He’s got his father’s…horns?

Fortunately, despite being about a foot tall at most, Baby Wildebeest was both possessed of great physical strength and not evil.  He was basically, well, a baby.  A baby with fur and a pair of horns, but still a baby.

Most babies outside of the occasional cartoon don’t get to choose their parents.  Baby Wildebeest did, though!  He opted for one of the Titans.  And yes, despite there being all kinds of potentially good mother material in characters like Donna Troy, Baby Wildebeest instead chose less maternal member Pantha as his mother.

What kind of character was Pantha?  Well, let me put it this way:  I would not be surprised if Rob Liefeld, renowned for this sort of thing, “borrowed” the basic concept of Pantha when he came up with X-Force’s Feral.  Pantha was the wild anti-hero type who seemed to prefer ripping bad guys to shreds and complaining about how goodie-goodie the other Titans were than doing the sorts of things that would make her a good member-in-standing of the Teen Titans.  No wonder they just changed her into a female Mexican wrestler type for the Teen Titans cartoon.

Naturally, Pantha didn’t take to Baby Wildebeest right away.  In point of fact, she hated the little guy.  But, when a baby that can bench press a Buick think you’re his mother, well, there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it.

That said, Baby Wildebeest showed some real potential when it came to protecting Pantha by hitting a sudden growth spurt and going to an adult-sized Wildebeest.  That transformation was temporary, and a bit baffling when you consider he still had his mammoth strength in toddler form.

"Look what followed me home, Mom! Can I keep it?"
“Look what followed me home, Mom! Can I keep it?”

Pantha changed her mind about Baby Wildebeest, and deciding that the family unit wasn’t weird enough, joined fellow Titan Red Star in Solar City somewhere in Red Star’s native Russia.

That might have been the end of the whole thing, but then the Infinite Crisis started.  Some fans had suggested that the original Crisis had some sort of “Titans immunity” where none of the Teen Titans met a grisly death due to the series being the work of the Teen Titans creative team of Marv Wolfman and George Perez.  You know, except for KoleInfinite Crisis writer Geoff Johns decided to do something about this, so in a massive battle with overpowered lunatic Superboy-Prime, the kid who was the only superhuman from his destroyed Earth took it upon himself to rid the main DC Earth of what he saw as an ineffective Superboy and ended up running into the Titans, Justice Society, and Doom Patrol.  Then he actually killed some Titans.

Pantha was first, since she leapt right at Superboy-Prime and he swung wildly and (perhaps accidentally) took her head clear off.  That caused Wildebeest to jump into the fray, only to be more or less vaporized by heat vision.

By the way, that was, like, every Superboy-Prime fight.  Massive numbers of superheroes getting violently manhandled because, compared to that kid, they were all fairly fragile.

But, it seems as if Black Lantern time aside, that Wildebeest will not be coming back.

Yes, that means they killed a small kid that didn’t always look very small.

That’s depressing.

Let’s end with something cute to forget that whole mess.

This will work out just fine.
This will work out just fine.