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Grumpy Old Fan | Keeping ‘Teen Titans’ from getting old

Excellent use of white space

Excellent use of white space

In the long run, DC Comics canceling Teen Titans may not mean much: The Legion of Super-Heroes is on hiatus, but it’ll be back. Likewise, I think there will  be a new Teen Titans title — maybe called Young Justice? — sooner rather than later.

What’s curious about the end of this particular series, which coincides with writer Scott Lobdell’s departure, is it suggests more than just a name change. The Titans began as an all-star team, like their mentors in the Justice League, but over time the title focused increasingly on interpersonal relationships. The New 52 version of the team now features a Wonder Girl and Kid Flash who have virtually no connection to their older namesakes. Only Superboy has a solo title, and besides him only Red Robin appears regularly outside of Teen Titans. That makes the Titans rather insular, so I wonder if the inevitable relaunch will try to address that.

Whatever happens, odds are that the all-star structure that characterized DC super-teams since the 1940s has faded into the background for good. This week we’ll examine the Titans’ place in the superhero line, and see what the book has to offer going forward.

* * *

The Teen Titans’ history dates back to June-July 1964′s The Brave and the Bold #54, which featured a prototypical lineup of Kid Flash, Aqualad and Robin. A year later, the “real” team (now including Wonder Girl) debuted in June-July 1965′s B&B #60, and got another one-off spotlight in Showcase #59 (November-December 1965) before headlining its own series. Teen Titans Vol. 1 started in January-February 1966 and lasted just over seven years, ending with January-February 1973′s Issue 43. It was revived briefly in 1976, picking up the old numbering (gasp!) and getting a slight upgrade to eight-times-a-year status, but it ended with a heretofore-unknown origin story — one that, unlike B&B #54, included Speedy and Wonder Girl — in February 1978′s Issue 53. Just under three years after that, a preview in October 1980′s DC Comics Presents #26 kicked off the New Teen Titans, which ran in various forms and under various titles for 16 years. Different takes followed, including Dan Jurgens’ all-new Teen Titans Vol. 2 (1996-98), Peter David and Todd Nauck’s Young Justice (1998-2003) and Teen Titans Vol. 3 (2003-11), which started off under writer Geoff Johns and artist Mike McKone. All these series have kept the Titans on DC’s schedule for most of the past 33 years.

However, in a sense the Titans have been playing catch-up virtually from the beginning. Teen Titans had the misfortune to debut at the height of the Marvel Age of Comics, when Stan Lee and Steve Ditko were mining deep veins of teen angst in The Amazing Spider-Man, and Lee and Jack Kirby were well into their every-issue-a-landmark Fantastic Four. In fact, B&B #60 most likely shared shelf space with July 1965′s X-Men #12 (by Lee and Kirby, natch), featuring “The Origin of Professor X!” and the first appearance of the Juggernaut. The Justice League might have compelled Marvel to create its own super-team, but the Titans were two years behind their cross-town peers.

Moreover, according to Gerard Jones and Will Jacobs’ The Comic Book Heroes, Titans writer Bob Haney turned out “pop-culture references and cute slang that could have seemed convincing only to kids too young to know better” (revised 1997 edition, Page 77). The first few years of Titans have widely been seen as painfully un-hip examples of aging, out-of-touch writers trying to replicate a youth culture about which they apparently knew little. That started to change around Issue 18 (November-December 1968), when younger writers like Len Wein and Marv Wolfman, Mike Friedrich, Steve Skeates and writer/penciler Neal Adams succeeded Haney. In Issue 25 (written by veteran Bob Kanigher), the book underwent a radical format change, as most of the Titans gave up their costumed identities to work for a new patron, Mr. Jupiter. This didn’t last too long — for a while, the Titans decided to put on the costumes for more traditional adventures, but otherwise work “plainclothes” for Mr. Jupiter — and by the time the book was canceled, the group was back to being full-time superheroes.

All of this highlighted a series that struggled against its basic structure. Certainly the Titans’ initial appeal was as a junior Justice League; but their demographics dictated that they needed to be more … fun, for lack of a better word. It was probably enough for the JLA to keep to the same basic formula — supervillains, aliens, visiting Earth-Two — but the Titans needed to be convincing both as superheroes and as teenagers. The “Mr. Jupiter” stories got the group even further from its all-star roots by bringing in Lilith Clay and Mal Duncan, two new Titans who were weren’t sidekicks, superheroes or even preexisting characters. While the book still focused on Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Speedy, and Hawk and Dove, Lilith and Mal set precedents for Titans-specific characters to come.

Accordingly, New Teen Titans featured a mix of old and new characters, with rookies Raven, Starfire and Cyborg joining Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash and Beast Boy/Changeling. Raven recruited the new team (when she couldn’t get the Justice League), Cyborg’s father provided their Titans Tower headquarters, and their first official mission was to rescue Starfire from her slave-ship captors. Of the original Titans group, only Robin, Aqualad and Kid Flash had appeared regularly outside of the Titans series (i.e., in the Bat-books, Aquaman and Flash), and the same was even more true for New Teen Titans. In fact, Wolfman was also writing Robin in Batman when NTT launched. All that meant NTT was well-suited to examine its characters without worrying about contradicting other creative teams. Of course, this was diametrically opposed to JLA, whose roster was full of solo stars.

Indeed, at the height of NTT’s popularity, JLA writer Gerry Conway re-focused that series on characters like Aquaman, Elongated Man, Zatanna and Martian Manhunter, who didn’t have to worry about “outside commitments” like their own books. Of course, they became the core of the Detroit League, which was rounded out with characters that, with the exception of Vixen, were created specifically for JLA. That didn’t work out so well for the title, and the next big format shift (Justice League International) featured characters with their own series (Batman, Blue Beetle, Guy Gardner, Captain Atom, Booster Gold) — but soon enough, JLI’s cast included characters like Fire and Ice (and Beetle and Booster, whose books had been canceled), who appeared nowhere else. Meanwhile, throughout its roster changes, New Titans remained rather insular — except for a brief period in the mid-‘90s when it featured Supergirl, Impulse and Green Lantern Kyle Rayner — and the new characters starring in Jurgens’ Teen Titans Vol. 2 continued the trend.

It took the success of Grant Morrison and Howard Porter’s big-name JLA to usher in a new round of all-star teams. By the beginning of 1999, there were three more such books. JSA included Birds of Prey’s Black Canary and Wonder Woman’s Hippolyta, as well as Starman’s Jack Knight. Young Justice’s Robin, Superboy and Impulse each had his own series, and the new Wonder Girl came over from Wonder Woman. Finally, the adjective-free Titans series was basically a New Teen Titans update, but by that time Nightwing and the Flash had their own titles.

* * *

I’ve spent a lot of space talking about the Titans as an all-star group, and I think that’s an important factor in its development. However, also important is the extent to which the various Titans series used not just preexisting characters, but characters that had fallen off the radar even in their home titles. Originally this meant focusing on Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Aqualad and Speedy, because they weren’t getting enough attention elsewhere. Over time, however, this became self-fulfilling, because those characters tended not to appear anywhere else. The approach produced dividends. Robin became Nightwing so that Dick Grayson could be a full-time Titan and Batman could have a full-time sidekick; and after Superboy’s series was canceled, Johns and company revised his origin and emphasized how close he was to his teammates. Indeed, DC’s second generation of sidekicks — Tim Drake, Kon-El, Cassie Sandsmark, Bart Allen, et al. — started pushing the original group of Titans to the background in the late ‘90s, and Dick’s generation is now scarce in the New 52.

However, the New 52 relaunch also did a funny thing to the Teen Titans: It kept a core of “all-star” names, but by and large separated those characters from their traditional mentors. It’s as if DC decided it needed a series called Teen Titans starring a certain collection of characters, but without the legacy structure that originally created and nurtured those characters. Therefore, the question now becomes whether that structure is still relevant to Teen Titans, or whether it can just be a book about Tim, Kon, Cassie and Bart.

The latter seems more likely, as I doubt DC is going to recreate that structure any time soon. As Caleb pointed out, the New 52 has accumulated a surprisingly deep bench of teenage (or youngish) superheroes in lest than two and a half years. Some, like Amethyst, Stargirl, Supergirl and Batgirl, are already affiliated with super-teams, but characters like Static, Blue Beetle III and Batman Incorporated’s Raven Red — not to mention the Ravagers, which included some familiar Titans types — would fit well on a Titans team. At the risk of SPOILING a low-selling title, the final issue of The Green Team (speaking of characters needing a post-cancellation home) even suggests they could finance the Titans.

Still, what purpose would the new Titans serve, beyond being a collection of familiar characters? As mentioned above, this isn’t a new concern. In the Silver Age, the Titans fought crime just because: They did it with their adult mentors and their adult mentors did it as part of the Justice League, so their own group was the next logical step. Starting with the New Teen Titans, though, that rationale got a little more fuzzy. Recruited to defeat Raven’s demonic father, they just sort of hung around together until they became (in the words of no less than George Pérez) “a group of characters sitting around a table waiting for a safe to fall on them.”  In any event, the new Titans should distinguish itself from the New 52′s current teens-with-a-purpose title. The Movement may not sell like a Titans book, but it has a definite viewpoint and tries admirably to fill the insurgent-youth role Titans originally courted.

Of course, Titans can always use at least the appearance of an all-star lineup to stand out, even if it ends up being the superhero equivalent of the cool kids’ table. Part of me thinks the series will recruit some of the preexisting characters mentioned above, if only to justify its relaunch.

A fresh take on Titans can only help the New 52, which at the moment seems a little short on super-teams. Besides the three Justice League series (and “out-of-town” titles Earth 2 and JL 3000), only Birds of Prey, The Movement and Aquaman and the Others are set to survive April. In terms of numbers, that’s not so bad — the New 52 started with nine team titles, and right now May will have at least eight — but three versions of the Justice League and three more eclectic ensembles make this collection somewhat top-heavy.

Along those lines, Titans could serve as a bridge between the Leagues and the more small-scale groups. Whatever the details, the Teen Titans have always been heirs apparent to the Leaguers. (The last pre-New 52 iteration of the JLA made this plain, with a number of ex-Titans in the lineup.) Time to refocus on that, and perhaps contrast the cool kids like Superboy and Wonder Girl with some lesser-knowns who are just as deserving. Given time and the right creative team, Teen Titans could combine the Justice League’s all-star appeal with the vivid characterization to which the series has always aspired. That would help Teen Titans live up to its potential, and it might make for some good comics as well.

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28 Comments

That interview with Perez is fascinating. I can’t remember almost *any* of the stuff he mentions happening in the book – am I missing a large swath of issues?

Much of the stuff did happen. [Nightwing;Jericho;Raven]..but much of the stuff years later [The Starfire alien menopause] or were shaleved because of Geroge leaving the book again and the advent of Titans Hunt

DC Comics has butchered the Teen Titans. The new version of the team is a collection of unsympathetic characters without any deep connection with the legends of the DCU.

And they gave the mission to re-think the book for the new 52 to an awful writer.

A pre-announced tragedy

I believe the Titans should be an insular book, however the title needs a viable direction and a creative team that approaches the book in a unique way. Twenty years ago Scott Lobdell (along with Chris Bachalo & Mark Buckingham) brought us Generation X, which was very enjoyable in my opinion. I believe DC was hoping Lobdell would bring some of that magic to Teen Titans. What we got was a DC house style book that was devoid of any of the quirkiness and originality of Gen X (Harvest…yuck). The current TT book wants the core PAD/Geoff Johns YJ/TT characters, but not their connections to the Justice League.

DC could have two teen franchises on its hands if they played their cards right. Young Justice could (and should) take its mission statement from the cartoon, a black ops team of young heroes with ties to the League. These characters may appear outside of this book. Teen Titans could be the socially relevant team, like The Movement or the original New Warriors. Characters in this iteration may have limited ties to the Justice League.

“The Teen Titans’ history dates back to June-July 1964′s The Brave and the Bold #54, which featured a prototypical lineup of Kid Flash, Aqualad and Robin. A year later, the “real” team (now including Wonder Girl) debuted in June-July 1965′s B&B #60, and got another one-off spotlight in Showcase #59 (November-December 1965) before headlining its own series. ”

I find this particularly interesting. I think DC and many other larger publishers, like Marvel miss out on the opportunity of trying out their characters or keeping their not-strong-enough-to-keep-their-own-title characters in the limelight by running them as back up features in a-list books. People always complain that anthology titles can’t/don’t survive because there’s no interest in those types of books–though honestly, I feel this is bunk. Anthology titles seldom get a-list creators and artist when they are around.

DC has brought back Captain Marvel in the back-up pages of the JLA with an arguably a-list group of creators, but they’ve yet to try him out on his own title. A clear failure on their part. They’ve clearly built momentum for the character. Why can’t the same creative team take the character forward in his own book? This is DC not working in their own interest.

Likewise, I see the same thing with Legion of Superheroes and Teen Titans. Why not try out new versions or concepts in the back pages of the JLA books? Why commit to making a new series, why not test out the waters in back pages? This would save us all another relaunch, reboot cancellation.

And having said that, I think both the Legion of Superheroes and Teen Titans need to change radically from what they were before. In today’s market there really is no guarantee that either of those books need to or will come back to the lineup. Blue Beetle has had a few series, as has Hawkman, Doom Patrol and Booster Gold and yet those books are conspicuously absent from the DC line up and no one is crying out for them.

I feel DC has to take more risks, accept that this is a hard reboot and they have to look at re-imagining the books they have instead of trying to give us yet another change in creative teams without a change in outlook. The Wolfman/Perez Titans were not the same kind of book that the original Teen Titans were, so then why should we keep to this idea of JLA-lite or JLAjr. Its an outdated notion and one that should be dropped in favor of a new and radical idea.

DC always either tries to put Wally, Donna, and the original Titans together as a team, or it goes back to the Young Justice crew. I think the t.v. show version of Young Justice showed how you can take an original idea and do something new and different with it. The YJ crew were not junior justice leaguers they were the covert arm of the JLA and they slowly came out of the shadows of the JLA . . . and as Nightwing and Ms. Martian showed, they weren’t exactly clamoring to be a part of the JLA. I think the Titans need to be divorced from the JLA and just become a group of teen heroes who exist to another purpose . . . maybe they should just drop the whole Teen Titans title, mothball it and go with Young Justice.

DC needs new ideas and new directions and it would hurt if the tone of some of their books became different because most of the titles seem to blend together in similarity. The idea of selling the whole line of books needs to die and be replaced with the more realistic notion that you’re selling different books to different audiences . . . because you clearly are.

Joey Eats Socks

February 2, 2014 at 6:03 am

MY preferred team for the inevitable next volume in the new 52

Tim Drake (as ROBIN, ditch the Red Robin gimmick)
Wonder Girl
Superboy
Kid Flash
Beast Boy
Spoiler (or whatever gimmick they give Stephanie Brown)
Harper Row

Kill the New52! Sales are going down the toilet anyway! DC is the only company with a decrease in sales when everybody else is up! This past December DC made less money than many pre-reboot months despite the higher prices they have now!

It’s worth noting that the most well known version of the Teen Titans is the one on Cartoon Network. And yet even when that show was in its prime, and telling serious stories instead of the silly ones of the moment, DC made the choice to let that be its own thing. Now we have a Cyborg who might be on his way to something more for DC but not as a Titan, a controversial and very adult Starfire, and rather underwhelming versions of Raven and Beast Boy. I don’t know if DC could have or should have found a way to take advantage of the Titans cartoons, but it’s clear that ship has sailed. And whatever form the next series takes, it will not have a Cyborg or a Starfire.

I have to agree. The New 52 is a mess. Pulling up stakes and moving operations to California only adds more chaos to an already chaotic editorial structure.

They replaced a Universe full of legacy and legends with Newbies and no direction. It looks pretty, but most fall hollow.

With exception to a few titles in my opinion. Can’t deny Wonder Woman was pretty cool for a run, Batman which hasn’t changed much. Superman is still on the fence, Green Lantern is interesting Post Johns. All these Justice League titles are wearing a little thin, I love the Flash artist/writers and Gail Simone while different from her hilarious and great writing still rocks. But, they seem to throw titles against a wall and cancel what doesn’t stick.

To me the Titans works best when it is a mix of legacy characters and independent characters getting together and exploring the complicated life of being a teenager/young adult who is also a super hero. Those are the elements that have been present in every truly successful iteration of this team. When you take out one element or the other the book tends to flop. The Jurgens version had the teen stuff, but not the legacy. The original version had the legacy but lacked the young-adult drama. The Titans book of the 90′s with Dick, Donna, Kori, etc. had the legacy aspect, but the characters were all late 20s/early 30s, and it just felt flat.

I don’t think you can dismiss the social aspect of the Titans as an important element to its success. Oliver Queen sent Mia Dearden’s Speedy (BTW: MISS that character) to the Titans as a way to socialize her, to have her spend time with people her age who understood what she was going through. That makes SENSE. And she’s just one example of that.

There was a lot wrong with Lobdell’s version of the Titans, not the least of it being — as this article states relating to the original version of the Titans — “painfully un-hip examples of aging, out-of-touch writers trying to replicate a youth culture about which they apparently knew little.” The Nu52 also totally disrupted the legacy aspects of most of the familiar Titans, and the new characters it introduced contributed very little to the team, with the exception of Bunker, who has potential. (Even Solstice, who actually appeared pre-Nu52, has come off as Starfire Lite for the most part.)

To me, this is kind of a no-brainer. You want a successful Titans book? Stock it full of legacy characters and a few interesting originals. Have them operating as a deliberate training/socialization outlet for teenaged superheroes. Infuse the book with realistic young-adult voices and issues. Have them come up against interesting, challenging adversaries. This is not rocket science. And, as the article points out, there are a slew of teenaged heroes in the Nu52 that would fit quite well on a Titans roster. The road map is already there. Just follow it, and put competent, talented creators in the captain’s chairs.

But please, DC. Don’t just have a kneejerk nostalgic reaction and go back to the classic New Teen Titans line-up. No offense to it, but Kory, Vic, and Dick have no business being on a team called “Teen Titans” anymore. You have developed those characters. That’s a GOOD thing. Continue the work that was going on before the Nu52 and build up NEW teen characters. Miss Martian, Ravager, Blue Beetle, Kid Devil, and other members of that previous Titans volume had oodles of potential that got squandered by bad creative changes and crossover story mandates. (The abrupt death of Kid Devil, and also Kid Eternity, during that volume always left me totally baffled.)

While it’s already been done, the best solution would be to do an All New X-Men approach and place the original 1964 Titans in the middle of 2014 but do it right.
Have the individual Titans face up to the 50 years of differences in technology and society.. Robin having to master an IPhone on the fly, for example. And give thing a much needed Denny O’Neil slant, being socially topical and taking apart modern society and politics.

I remember buying the last issue of v1 of the Titans (with Mal and Lilith and the rest) and getting the DC Comics Presents issue introducing the ‘New Teen Titans’ so I’ve seen these come and go. The current series had promise with some of the new characters but they never really did anything with them. Early issues seemed to be building up but lately it has been about the new Superboy and Kid Flash being evil (fought against oppressive govt now turns against old friends) and the like which has dragged the title down imo. More focus on the new kids would’ve been much more valuable.

I like the idea of using the Green Team (which was a poorly run title imo) as financiers mixed with some from the Movement as pushing the new team in a strong direction plus a couple of characters from the current Titans and perhaps a newbie or two. Ideally perhaps as a couple of groups where the GT is trying to make a difference with their cash thus hires some of the kids in different groups to accomplish different things. A specialist covert team in a subplot that takes over a year to resolve, a ‘super hero’ team that helps show kids can make a difference in the world (the PR wing of the team), and some kids who are on the fringe, ex-Titans/GT/Movement who are feeling the new team is wrong about how they do things. This would be a lot like what we used to see in the Legion back when it was fighting with X-Men for the top spot, and it is a clear way to help draw in more readers as long as you have a strong writer who can handle it and an artist who does more than pin-up pages.

Eh, just a few thoughts from someone waaaay out of the demographic range.

I picked up vol 1,no.1 of the titans secand hand,around April of 1966.Picked up 21 off the stands because I liked the hawk and dove,read some of the last issues on the stands.Picked up dc presents 26,the premere story of the new team, but it took until issue 13 to hook me.Stuck it out then to issue 59,the to issue32 of the new series,returned for 50-55,and 70 to 101,and just could NOT stand the art of Bill Jemmas,If I remember correctly his name.picked up some of the team titans stuff.Overall,The fire has went out,for my feelings for this title.Their glory days are behind them.It had its day in the sun.

Biggest error: Disrespect the team’s history. How’s that? Bart Allen before Wally West? Was Nightwing a Titan? What about Cyborg?
Confusing, dumb and clumsy way to do stuff. And don’t get me started with Stormwatch. DC, from bad to worse.

There were parts of the New 52 Teen Titans I think had potential. Bunker has his fans and is a pretty good character.with almost green lantern type powers, just purple bricks. Skitter had an interesting look but got absolutely no development. Solstice has great potential.
But Wonder Girl and Kid Flash’s new origins are horrible and, like the article says, have nothing to do with their older counterparts which is not helpful.
I’m not a Scott Lobdell hater but I’m not particularly happy with what he has done with the team.

As someone who absolutely loved LSH and TT when they were the only 2 DC books to get the upgraded formats back in the day, I’m very sad that we’re at a point that they have both been cancelled for the umpteenth time.

NEW TITANS

TROIA
ONYX
WITCHFIRE
FRANCEA KANE
DARK KNIGHT=DICK GRAYSON\
IMPULSE=WALLY WEST
LIGHTRAY
FIRESTORM
RED STAR

YOUNG JUSTICE

WONDER GIRL
BOMBSHELL
EMPRESS
SPEEDY=ARTEMIS
KID FLASH
SUPERBOY
AQUALAD
ROBIN=TIM
BEAST BOY

Since the start of the new 52 (hell even 2 years before) I always felt like dc put to much emphasis on their big name core franchises just to stay aflot.
Through I would love to see them and marvel start publishing new anthology series staring 4-5 full time 20 page stories 1 main character or team setup around the title of said anthology book like:
1. Flash Family staring: Barry, Wally, Bart, Jay & Jessie Quick.
2. Batman INC. staring: Dick as Batman, Tim as Red Robin, Cass and Steph as a new main 52 Nightwing and Flamebird, a new Knight & Squire. And with 2-3 8 page backups featuring the other living Batmen around the world.
3. Adventure Comics staring DC’s alien heroe’s: Steel, Martian Manhunter, Icon, Starfire, Mr. Majestic, Hawkman.
(fanfic here all of the above and Superman on team named Alien Authority just fan fiction-ing this last part)
4. Tale’s of the Corps: staring the New Guardians, Blue Lanterns, Indigo Tribe, Lafreez and the Orange Agent’s, Star Sapphires, and 3 8 page solo tales of any member of any corps.
5. Young Justice a team called Young Justice, Gen 13, Ravengers, L.O.S, DV8.
6. Sensational Comics staring Cassie as Wonder Girl, Donna as Titan (her history with the word it should just be a given) and 3 other Women Heroes, and its a dam shame that I can’t think of any DC women superheroes not associated with DC’s trinity that I can see leading a solo series.
And print them monthly as either digest like or Shojin jump size as black & white on cheap paper for like $12 buck’s with free digital redemption codes and a full color premium books on normal paper and 50% off digital redemption codes. (All digital redemption codes individually associated with one main feature per book)

Hey I ment Shonen Jump that I misspelled as shojin.
And about Women Heroes come on bat family has Batwoman, Batgirl, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn currently being published and posted what I would to see them do with Cassandra and Stephanie.
Both Superwomen are staring in their own books Supergirl in her own title and Power Girl as half of the world’s finest along with the Huntress.
And DC really has not done enough for their other Women characters for like ten years to show them as solo protagonists.

tallrobert, your All New Teen Titans idea is the best pitch I’ve ever heard….

I would love to see Titans Dark, or a magical verison of the Outsiders: Klarion the Witch Boy, Scream Queen, Stanley and his Monster, Traci 13 (the teen part of the future JL roster from Superman/Batman Sorcerer Kings run). Maybe a member of the Bat Family heading them up (Red Robin or Stephanie Brown).

Actually, the original Teen Titans didn’t fight crime ‘just because’, they specifically went to deal with teenagers in trouble. That could work again or it could swerve dangerously into ‘preachy’ territory (and it also better suited a team that actually had only one super-powered member). The basic idea of the TT being created to deal with an organization that specifically targeted teenaged metas was a good idea – just that the execution and details of it were terrible.

Brian from Canada

February 3, 2014 at 5:59 am

Grumpy Old Fan skirts the real issue here: New 52′s failure stems from the EDITORIAL decision to keep the Young Justice line separate from the others — which, as a result, disconnected the legacy characters from their past. That, in turn, allowed the creation of a Gen-13 backstory that got hamstrung by the EDITORIAL need for an event-launched spin off book.

There’s nothing wrong with Wonder Girl and Kid Flash’s new origins. Kid Flash’s actually connects better to the Legion and its use of time travel; Wonder Girl drops the “demi-goddess” aspect which would have pulled her into the battle for Olympus over in Wonder Woman.

My biggest complaint is that the team wasn’t given enough small missions to bond as a team against their own villains. The first year focuses on Harvest, then jumps into Trigon and other crossovers for the second year. Separation is needed if the series is to generate its own voice and identity — it’s certainly what helped make Generation X work under Lobdell.

Forget The Green Team — that experiment deserves to be forgotten. The new Titans book needs to have greater connection to the League: make them heroes in training, supported by Batman with only Red Robin knowing it’s to be a weapon against Luthor if need be.

Cast? Red Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Solstice, Bunker, Beast Boy, Blue Beetle and Martian Girl. Make redeeming Raven a crossover with JL Dark a year later — and send Superboy to the Legion.

Brian from Canada

February 3, 2014 at 6:14 am

@Enrico:

Comicdom has shown us over and over again that expanding the line for the purpose of expanding sales — rather than for the story itself — leads to books that can’t survive. That said, I think we should have…

1. Tales Of The Lanterns: replace Red Lanterns and Larfleeze with a new 36 page split book that deals with the different factions, including the White Lantern Kyle Rayner — with Hal talking the lead in New Guardians as the leader of the Greens, and Green Lantern focusing on Simon Baz and B’dg on Earth.

2. Superman Family: another 36 page split book, this time focusing on Lois Lane, Jimmy Olson, Cat Grant, Perry White, Krypto and anyone else who’s the supporting cast of Superman.

3. Gotham: replace Catwoman with this 36 page split book that has one story about members of the GCPD, and the other about villains interacting with each other without the interference of Batman in every issue.

4. Batman, Inc.: replace Batwing with this new 22 pager that rotates focus on the different Bats outside of Gotham — but always have a short backup at the end of one story to lead into the next so that readers aren’t picking and choosing the arcs they want like with DC Universe Presents.

5. Mystery Comics: a new 36-page split that leads with Elongated Man and has rotating backups, especially Detective Chimp.

I started reading the Titans with Wolfman and Perez. I picked the Titans over the X-Men. I like the X-Men. I just had to choose between the two. Wolfman and Perez were able to capture both the teen angst and super-heroics that was missing in the Silver Age. Unfortunately, the characters aged. Some grew, but most aged. Once Dick Grayson became Nightwing and the other originals took on other identities, the book changed. Young Justice has been a fresh version of Teen Titans. I still like the original Fab Five – with Gar – just like I prefer the original five X-Men and Xavier.

I didn’t understand why DC started the “New Screw You”, in the first place?! Their titles were actually interesting for the first time in a long time (with the exception of James Robinson on JLA; terrible), when they decided to destroy their own history! This is one of the reasons DC continually gets their ass whipped by Marvel on a monthly basis! J.T. Krul was writing great stories on The Teen Titans and Green Arrow. Batman was basically the same as now. The one character that was greatly revived by the N52, is Aquaman. Other than that……..
DC needs to destroy the N52 and take the universe back to the exact moment before the powers that be, decided to destroy their rich history and legacies! Every fan and every character would benefit greatly from DC reinstating the ORIGINAL universe for future generations to read and enjoy!

Brian from Canada

February 3, 2014 at 5:23 pm

@Circleoffire:

DC reasons for the New 52 were spelled out before it began.

1. 3,000 comic stores closing over a decade showed a sales avenue in rapid decline.
2. iPad/ComiXology sales were on the rise.
3. Market research and sales demonstrated regularly that digital readers want to start at the beginning.
4. Hollywood directors/producers needed to be shown that the characters could speak to modern tastes.

The problem with New 52 wasn’t that it deleted their history. The problem with New 52 is that they didn’t learn from “Crisis On Infinite Earths” to plan out the way things went together first. Keeping Young Justice separate from the Justice League heroes was a stupid idea because it painted the book into a corner before it even began.

I was being sarcastic; I actually did know why DC created the N52 but there was absolutely no reason to do it! If you hire the right creative teams for the books, fans will return. If DC would quit trying to provide social commentary in their books, the fans would return.
Another thing DC needs to do is change the leadership at the top. I think Dan Dido has well outlived his usefulness. Trinity, one year later, and now the N52, all horrible failures. It all falls back to Dido and his non-leadership role. Unfortunately, Dido would never do the right thing and resign on his own; he would have to be fired, probably, to get rid of him.
The problem partly was/is that DC destroyed their history! The relationships that were built, deaths, lives, marriages, triumph, tragedy; history! Rich, distinct, history! From the time Superman came around until 73 years later, when with the stroke of a pen all those years of history, built carefully, methodically, lovingly a lot of times, was wiped out! When the N52 first came out, fans were naturally curious but given a few issues and mass walkouts by editors and creative staff alike, the fans too, began to leave and will continue their exodus as long as DC maintains this course with their books.

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