Originally there wasn’t going to be a part 2 to the gripping issues hitting the young heroes of the DC universe, but after the release of both Titans Special #1 and Teen Titans Special #1, one-shots used to help set up the new status quo’s for the teams after the events of the weekly event series No Justice, It seems as if a Part 2 is desperately needed. Let’s break it down.
Since DC Rebirth, there have been two status quos involving the two Titans teams. For the older generation you have the return of Wally West in DC Universe Rebirth reuniting with his friends Nightwing, Donna Troy, Tempest, Arsenal, and Omen, and with newcomer Bumblebee, began to piece together the mystery of how Wally returned and who stole the memories of the entire DC universe. On the flip side, you have the Teen Titans. With a lineup forcibly modeled after the television show, except swap Cyborg for Kid Flash and then an introduced Aqualad, Damian Wayne decides to hand pick his own team to strike out on his own after the seeming death of Tim Drake. In the process leaving behind Red Robin’s teammates besides Beast Boy and Raven, recruiting Starfire and Kid Flash, then finally approving of Aqualad joining the team.
Going up against, well pretty much no one besides Abra Kadabra and the Fearsome 5 for the Titans and Ra’s Al Ghul for the Teen Titans, and a few one-off villains a piece, and then both teams facing off against Deathstroke, these next-generation heroes really never got off the ground in terms of their runs barely breaking 20 monthly issues. Then you count the tie-ins the Teen Titans were roped into such as Dark Nights Metal and Super Sons of Tomorrow, it’s very apparent that neither team was able to tell their stories and grow as a team before this massive “New Justice” shake up happened, and in the process, leaving a number of them behind.
Today we’re going to do 3 things, talk about each team, as well as the issues faced in their books, the current status quo as laid out in both one-shots, and then present an alternative “New Justice” for both these teams. Titans, Go!
For 5 years, the DC universe was missing something, the original Teen Titans. Dick Grayson, Garth of Atlantis, Roy Harper, Donna Troy of the Amazons, and Wally West…oh yea and Lilith Clay. The fab 5 and Lilith back together again after DC loudly proclaimed in the New 52 that there had never been a team of Titans before Tim Drake’s band of misfits. Then came Titans Hunt. The beginning which heralded the return of the original sidekicks who wanted to be their own heroes. When Nightwing, Tempest, Troy, Omen, and Arsenal united, they felt something missing. Thus after the events of the mini-series ended and DC Rebirth began, we saw Wally race back into their lives and the family of kids who just wanted to save the world was reunited. Now with a new mission to figure out what happened to the missing time that has apparently been taken away from them and a new recruit in the form of Karen Beecher, their old teammate Mal’s wife having always had powers, under the code name of Bumblebee they set forth to save the world, but they couldn’t.
Because after the event crossover with both the Teen Titans and Deathstroke, it immediately felt like writer Dan Abnett didn’t have much more to do with these heroes. After a great annual issue where the Titans go up against their mentors and we get a new origin for Donna Troy, then a small arc where a Donna Troy from the future comes to the present and tries to take over and show Donna what she’s supposedly meant to be showing us that the idea train was running dry for the Titans. After the Troia, Donna from the future/pre-New 52 Donna’s old code name, arc Abnett spends 5 issues telling an admittedly great story about Arsenal dealing with his past and even hinting that possibly he and Cheshire’s child from pre-New 52 has been reconceived?
Regardless, it’s very apparent that the order came down from on high that the plans for a shake-up were coming and immediately, the Titans were put on ice rather than lifting them up as a team. And in 22 issues, they really didn’t grow much as a family. They just kept jumping from enemy to enemy and then a mixture of those enemies. Nightwing was his normal untrustworthy self and this new origin for Donna helped her go through an arc where she can’t trust herself that is now spinning into this new team, and there was a sprinkle of the team romance we love from the old days, but it barely gets off the ground because of the next problem they face. Now with this new team, the family is breaking up once again…and it could possibly be broken for awhile…for basically no reason other than the Justice League said to.
Teen Titans Rebirth started sort of rough. With a late beginning due to Detective Comics having to kill off Tim Drake just to allow this new premise, Damian Wayne, Robin, on his 13th birthday feels that it’s time to strike out on his own with his own team. Going through the effort of literally kidnapping Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, and the other Wally West Kid Flash, Damian tells them that they’re going to be his new Teen Titans. Thankfully Starfire prevents the others from killing him, but after a run in with Ra’s Al Ghuls own little Demon Titans, the team elects to give Damian a chance and they begin their new friendship…because that’s all Damian wanted. Friends.
From there we go immediately into the Aqualad arc with Jackson Hyde aka Kalduram from the Young Justice tv show enters the picture (fangirls scream in the distance…oh wait he’s gay sucks for them) where he comes to Titans Tower looking to join and after getting kicked out, his father arrives to recruit him, Black Manta. When the team saves him, Robin allows him to stay and even calls Tempest from the Titans to begin mentoring Jackson, giving him Garth’s old code name, Aqualad. Moving from there we have these guys literally getting no further development other than telling Jonathan Kent Superboy he can’t join the team because he blew up their headquarters right as No justice begins. you feel the worst for this team because writer Benjamin Percy makes the team connect so well that them hopping from mission to mission like a tv show makes sense because they haven’t become a family yet, they’re just a team. So the idea of their lineup changing isn’t as bad as the Titans, but I have some concerns. Let’s talk about both.
New Justice Problems:
So as said in my first article, starting in July we have Teen Titans getting a new team with Robin still in lead, Kid Flash still on board, Red Arrow from the Green Arrow books, and 3 new characters one being a female kid of Lobo…lovely. Then in Camp Titans, we have Nightwing also still leading, carrying over Donna Troy, recruiting Beast Boy and Raven from Damian’s team, a new recruit in the form of John Henry Irons aka Steel’s daughter…Steel…so original. Then finally the reintroduction of M’Gann Morzz also known as Miss Martian. Which is very weird because she’s only ever been a Teen Titan, he outfit is black and red like she walked off the set of Young Justice, and she’s co-leading with Nightwing as the teams Justice League Liason/Babysitter. Okay let’s list the problems besides that last one
- Nightwing is ditching all of his friends besides Donna because “friends are the problem” of why the Titans fell apart. Even though it was definitely a choice on the writer or the editors.
- Along with that, The Titans is supposed to be the Top Generation. Natasha Irons can make sense because she’s already an adult, but Raven and Beast Boy were Teen Titans. And how they allow it in both special issues is Beast boy goes through a transformation during Kolu that makes him look older and well Raven can pretty much be whatever age the writers want her to be because she’s been reborn before. And in Teen Titans Special, Damian says “I don’t need Grayson’s hand-me-downs.” Even though literally he hand-picked his first team…so the new writer of Teen Titans obviously didn’t read Percy’s work.
- Speaking of Aqualad, WHERE IS HE?! He wasn’t in a Brainiac tube in No Justice, and he didn’t leave the Teen Titans prior to No Justice, he didn’t’ even get to meet Aquaman because of the events going on in Aquaman currently, and he’s a next-generation hero similar to Wally, Damian and Emiko aka Red Arrow, sooooo why isn’t he on the new team? They literally just threw away a fan favorite character who is also a protege, African American, and LGBT…and no one cares…that’s definitely a problem especially since Young Justice is returning in 2019
- So along with Aqualad, we have missing from both of these teams Tempest, Omen, Arsenal, Bumblebee took herself off the Titans prior to ending but it was definitely justified but forced, and the only one to move somewhere else was Starfire who’s moving to Justice League Odyssey…this is sad. Guess we need to explain a better way to do things…
New Justice 2.0…before it even launches:
Okay DC take notes, here’s what we need to do. 3 teams. Yea, you heard me. 3. One led by a different Robin. Rules. One strong writer per book. you have to keep them strong, and you do them biweekly because believe it or not, bi-weekly books sell the best. And also, if a book runs out of steam, you switch the writer and the writer follows the battle plan. Also, every team has their own Trinity. Let’s break it down.
Titans (Aka team Nightwing): Nightwing, Donna Troy, Wally, (Trinity) Arsenal, Tempest, Omen, Steel, Jessie Quick. That’s right, Jessie Quick, she’s been missing in action since New 52 and her being apparently “Trapped in the Speed Force” needs to stop. She made her bones on the Titans and she belongs there. Make it happen. Also, this team is a family. Families fight, the family’s come to blows, but anyone who has read early Teen Titans comics and the 90’s Titans series will know, families will stay together, until one your family is killed by a Superman Robot…long story go read Graduation day. Keep them together is the point.
Teen Titans (aka Red Robin’s Team): Red Robin, Wonder Girl, Superboy (Connor Kent), (Trinity) Impulse, Speedy (Mia Dearden), Static, Miss Martian, Beast Boy, and Raven. Like mentioned in The Kids are Not Alright Part 1, Red Robin and the original members of Young Justice have had a horrible time since Dc Rebirth, from almost being assimilated by Omac drones, being erased from continuity, going missing in action and being put in space jail, they’re not doing too well. So I suggest them be the main team of Teen Titans as well as reintroducing Mia Dearden the true Protege of Green Arrow after Roy, Miss Martian being on the Teen Titans because that’s where she began originally, and Beast Boy and Raven because they’re still teenagers and the dynamic Beast and Raven had while with Tim’s generation especially was just amazing. And Static belongs on the Teen Titans. If I can’t have him, then Spoiler since she left with Tim at the end of Tynion’s run on Detective.
Young Justice (aka Damian’s Team): Yea you heard me. Young Justice. This is what many people wanted when they said they were going to redo the Titans teams. Robin, Red Arrow, Superboy (Jonathan Kent) (Trinity), Kid Flash, Aqualad, Crush (daughter of Lobo), Solstice, Bunker. Okay so with Teen Titans Special #1, it’s hinted at we’re going to be getting some new diverse heroes besides Crush. But here’s the thing new writers on Teen Titans…you ready? YOU ALREADY HAVE AVAILABLE DIVERSITY. Solstice, an Indian girl with fire powers, and Bunker a Spanish gay boy with the power to create constructs. Two amazing characters shoved to the side when Percy took over Teen Titans just to basically have the TV show team sans Dick for Damian and Kid Flash for Cyborg. SO while these new characters might be great, you have perfectly good ones forgotten. Also, Damian, Jonathan, Emiko, Wally, and Jackson should be working on being the next generation. The Young Justice, the team that can strike out on their own even further than Tim and Dick. and it would be the perfect balance of 3 teams.
The point of all this is, The Titans and the Teen Titans, are not in the best place right now. They’re directionless besides “Help combat forces beyond the source wall” and Damian literally having the same philosophy he did at the beginning of the run but the new writers don’t know that. They’re not a family, they’re barely a team, and I’m terrified where my favorite Teams in comics are going. All we can hope for is DC to formulate a strong plan and for it to be successful because right now, I’m not feeling what’s coming.