“SLAVES OF THE EMPEROR BUG.” The Titans defeat a beetle-god named Lord Beetle.
Donna Troy and Roy Harper attend an auction. Harper bids on a golden beetle brooch for Troy, but is rapidly outbid. An old man, Johnny Carpetbag, successfully bids for the brooch, then gives it to Troy. That night, Lilith Clay sees the beetle brooch come to life, around Troy's neck, while Troy is sleeping. Clay throws the brooch out the window. The brooch projects the image of a beautiful, golden warrior battling against Mordron, a monstrous salamander. A swipe of Mordron's claws, shrinks and transforms the warrior into the beetle. The golden beetle begs Troy to take it back to it's ancestral home, that it might be restored to it's former glory.
Troy and Clay relay the tale to their fellow Teen Titans. The other team members find the story preposterous, and are reluctant to pursue the matter. Troy suspends the beetle over a spinning globe. The world globe stops, with the beetle hovering over the Yucatan. The Teen Titans are still reticent to pursue the matter, until the beetle speaks directly to them. The Teen Titans travel to the Yucatan Peninsula. The beetle brooch guides the Teen Titans, by burning Troy's skin whenever they take a wrong turn. Kid Flash loses control of the steering pole, opening him up to an attack from a cayman. With Kid Flash's leg gripped firmly in it's jaws, the cayman drags Kid Flash down into the river's depths.
Kid Flash manages to kick his way free, and swims, at super-human speed, back to the boat. Though his injuries are severe, Kid Flash agrees to press on. Not wishing to further endanger her teammates, on her personal quest to restore the beetle, Troy heads off on her own. Troy is attacked by a jaguar. During her struggle, in the river, to subdue the jaguar, Troy loses the beetle brooch. The brooch is swallowed by a fish. Before Troy can catch the fish, it is seized by a harpy eagle. Returning to shore, Troy is bitten by a bushmaster, and succumbs to it's paralyzing venom. Clay uses her psychic powers to track Troy.
Sensing the importance of the harpy eagle, Clay commands Speedy to shoot it down. Speedy misses, but dislodges the fish from the harpy eagle's talons. Malcolm Duncan recovers the beetle brooch from the fish. The Teen Titans find Troy, unconscious. During the night, the boat's anchor rope is severed, casting the Teen Titans further down the river. The Teen Titans find their boat being drawn into the mouth of a massive, horned skull. Robin places Troy on a dais, inside the skull. Troy awakens, fully recovered. Astonishingly, Carpetbag is there, waiting for her to awaken. Troy races to see the beetle brooch, now restored into the handsome warrior.
Troy is horrified to find that the beetle brooch has actually become a horrific monster, Lord Beetle, the King of The Insects. The brooch fed Troy an altered version of it's history, to lure her to it's ancestral home. Carpetbag, an agent of Lord Beetle, made sure to get the brooch in Troy's hands. Only a warrior maid, who pitied the Lord Beetle as a helpless bauble, could break the enchantment upon him. Carpetbag disabled the Teen Titan's craft, setting it adrift, and on it's final journey to Lord Beetle's skull castle. Carpetbag has also cleansed the venom from Troy's blood stream. Troy discovers the other Teen Titans in cocoons, waiting to be devoured by Lord Beetle.
Troy lashes out at Carpetbag, only to be subdued by Lord Beetle. Troy, though, is not be fed upon. Lord Beetle has other plans for her. Troy is allowed to wander free. She comes across a sword in the skull wall, as well as the skeleton of Mordron. At Mordron's behest, Troy pulls the sword from the wall. Carpetbag attempts to stop her, but trips, falling to his death in the pit holding Mordron's skeleton. Using the sword, Troy frees the Teen Titans. The Teen Titans flee, while the restored Mordron, once again, does battle with his ancient foe, the Lord Beetle. As the Teen Titans escape, the skull castle explodes, sinking into the river. The Teen Titans believe both combatants died. Troy passes a jewelry store, never noticing the beetle brooch, displayed in the window.