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Geoff Johns & Ben Raab: Beast Boy & Titans L.A. Plans

Geoff Johns and Ben Raab talk about the Beast Boy mini-series and plans for the never-produced Titans L.A. mini-series.

Titans Times Two
information courtesy of Comic Buyers Guide

DC Comics’ Titans will be getting their second Secret Files treatment this coming August, but the special’s lead story won’t feature the characters who currently reside in the super-team’s headquarters, Titans Tower. In fact, the heroes featured are another team of Titans, based in another locale.

Illustrated by Drew Johnson and co-written by Ben Raab and Geoff Johns, the story is a continuation of a sort of loosely connected storyline that started in Raab and Johns’ Beast Boy limited series, continues in this summer’s Titans’ “Planet DC” annual (also by Raab and Johns) that finds Beast Boy and the revamped Flamebird encountering a new Japanese super-hero, Bushido, then heads into the August Secret Files.

In the story, Beast Boy and Flamebird return to Japan to a huge, already-in-progress Titans membership drive and super-hero party thrown by Gar’s slacker cousin Matt Logan, with the goal of creating a new “Titans West” team. Raab and Johns explained, “There will be lots of guest stars from the Titans’ bicoastal past, and we get to use a dozen characters that haven’t been seen in a while, specifically Duela Dent: Joker’s daughter!

All sorts of chaos ensues, and, in the end, several lucky fourth-string super-heroes will be stepping up to the plate and Los Angeles finds itself with a most unlikely team of heroes – Titans LA!”

Asked why the DC universe needs another new super-hero team – and another Titans team, at that – Raab responded, “Just because there are some super-heroes who just don’t have quite what it takes to be in the Ôbig leagues just yet doesn’t mean they can’t pitch in and do their part. Titans LA is, for lack of a better word, a Ôsuper-hero support group.’ They exist to help those heroes living on the West Coast that are a little less sure on their feet to stand up tall and proud so that they, too, can make a difference in the world – and in their own lives.” Will the new left coast Titans team have a future? That remains to be seen, but both writers say there are plans that are being discussed.

Ben Raab Sequential Tart Interview: Beast Boy, Bushido… and possible Titans West?
info courtesy of [July 1, 2000]

ST: Gar’s about 21 (at least) so why “Beast Boy” ?

BR: That was an executive editorial decision DC made when we began working on the limited series. But if you’ll notice, nowhere in that story does Gar Logan actually refer to himself as “Beast Boy”. It’s just a label everyone else has pinned upon him, and not necessarily something he’s chosen to wear himself.

So, in that respect, I feel like we haven’t back-pedaled the character in anyway. Just the opposite, as a matter of fact.

ST: Bette Kane, Flamebird, is such a *fun* character! What made you include her in Beast Boy?

BR: I actually wanted to avoid her like the plague. I thought she was totally lame. But co-writer Geoff Johns convinced me that if I could see past that, we’d find something really special underneath. And we did, I think. Now, she’s one of my favorite DC characters, and a crowning achievement for that particular limited series.

ST: I keep hearing rumblings of a Titans West. IF that becomes a reality, who would your dream team be composed of?

BR: Well, that would be giving it all away, now wouldn’t it? I will say this, though…Beast Boy and Flamebird would form the nucleus of that team as co-leaders. As for the other members…? Check out this summer’s Titans Secret Files, due in stores August, for the answer.

ST : Speaking of Titans, I hear you are writing the Titans annual this summer. With the international flavor sweeping the DCU annuals, what can we expect from your Titans?

BR: 40 pages of non-stop ACTION, guest starring Beast Boy and Flamebird…and introducing Bushido! In this story, the Titans journey to Tokyo to help stop a malevolent spirit from Japanese folklore – known as the Tengu – from unleashing his demon hordes upon the Earth. But to do so, must one of their own die by Bushido’s hand?! Dun Dun Duuuuun!!!

The lead story is drawn by fellow Beast Boy conspirator Josuae Justiniano, whose artwork keeps getting more and more exciting with every project. He’s really outdone himself this time. There’s also a 12 page back-up story that details the origin of our new hero, Bushido, drawn by the immensely talented Rick Mays. All in all, a kick-ass looking book!

ST: Who is Bushido?

BR: Bushido is the character Geoff and I will be introducing in this summer’s Titans Annual. Like the Phantom, Bushido has inherited a family legacy of service and protection. Yet, this Japanese hero – the embodiment of the “way of the warrior” – is a reluctant savior, torn between a filial duty that requires him to be a killer in the name of honor and justice and a conscience that tells him such behavior is wrong no matter whom it serves and protects.

ST: When can we expect the next installment of the Secret Files? Which Titans will be showcased next?

BR: You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it’ll become a part of you. Geoff and I have contributed three stories to the book. The main feature is a 26-page story, drawn by Drew Johnson, that focuses on a certain group of West Coast based heroes and one bizarre young man’s demented dream to see them all come together. Our second story is a 5-pager drawn by Derec Aucoin that finally answers the question, once-and-for-all: Who is Terra? Our third, and final contribution, is a 4-page Cyborg story drawn by Georges Jeanty in which Victor Stone comes to terms with who he was and who he is now, and what that means for his future. Titans writer Jay Faerber also contributes an 11-page story. As usual, there’ll be character profiles and a Titans timeline.

Ben Raab Talks Titans L.A.
info courtesy of, Comic Wire by Beau Yarbrough [August, 2000]

Raab’s also written a fair number of teenage/college-age superhero stories this past year, as he and co-writer Geoff Johns assembled the new incarnation of Titans West, now called Titans LA.

While Titans West have always been fan-favorites, they’ve never received their own title. True to form, the new team has been featured across three separate books this year: The “Beast Boy” miniseries, the summer’s “Titans” annual and finally “Titans Secret Files” #2, which featured Raab and Johns forming the team in several shorter stories.

While no “Titans LA” series is yet planned, Raab says fan response has been “pretty favorable for the most part. Geoff and I are pleased with the final results.”

Included in Raab’s and Johns’ Titans LA stories in the special was the answer to the question of exactly who or what Terra II is: She’s Terra I, Tara Markov. Of course, that has prompted readers to follow up with new questions, namely “isn’t she dead? Didn’t we see her body and her funeral?”

Terra’s story isn’t over, Raab said.

“Yes, we definitely have more in mind for these characters. Whether or not we’ll ever get to tell those stories remains to be seen, but we’re certainly hopeful!”

Titans L.A. Scrapped

Titans writer Jay Faerber explains [in response to a DC Message Board post], “The reason there was so much set up for TITANS LA in the pages of TITANS SECRET FILES #2 is because, at that time, TITANS editor Eddie Berganza and his associate, Maureen McTigue, really thought the TITANS LA concept was going to get approved, and this was their way of putting out a little preview, to serve as a lead-in. ”

“But TITANS LA ended up not getting approved, so all the set up in TITANS SECRET FILES #2 was for naught. The reason the various West Coast-based characters talk about their team in TITANS #25 is because, contrary to popular belief, I don’t hate all continuity. I was just playing to what was built before me, in order to reinforce the fact that just because we’re not reading about it, these people DO have lives and adventures of their own. I think it would’ve been a BIGGER slap in the face to fans if all the West Coasters showed up in #25, and never acknowledged the fact that they’ve got their own team.”

Geoff Johns on Beast Boy & Titans L.A.

Titanstower: Let’s talk about BEAST BOY. What was your approach to that character and that mini series? Would you like to do a sequel?

Geoff: I love Gar Logan. I’m very happy with the way that mini-series turned out and if Ben Raab and I had a chance to write a sequel I’m sure we would. I actually already have an idea for one.

Titanstower: Ben Raab had mentioned you were the one to suggest using Flamebird in BEAST BOY; She is often thought of as a ‘joke’ character. Any particular reason you decided to give her an upgrade?

Geoff: Because, in my eyes, I thought she deserved to be more than a joke character. Again, I’m very happy with the way she turned out. She’s growing, as heroes should.

Titanstower: The forming of Titans LA seemed poised for some sort of follow-up; It was rumored a mini series or special was in the works — either another BEAST BOY or TITANS L.A. — what can you tell us about that? What plans did you and Ben Raab have for the Titans LA team?

Geoff: Ben and I had pitch in for a Titans L.A. maxi-series that never got off the ground. It would’ve been fun, but it’s dead. dead. dead. I don’t really want to get into specifics since it is a dead issue. I do believe they have plans for Gar elsewhere in the DCU now.

Titanstower: Last question: Terra. Is she really the original traitorous Titan? Or is that still open-ended? Ben Raab intended to deal with Terra’s identity issues in Titans LA, but those plans may never come to pass…

Geoff: We were going to deal with them in Titans L.A. — part of the main focus of the mini. Unfortunately, it’s been left open-ended. Hopefully another writer will pick up on it someday.


End of transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author