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Terra I

Alias: Tara Markov

Joined: New Teen Titans (first series) #30 [1983]
Related Links: Beast Boy • Terra IITerra III
Geo-ForceMarkoviaDr. Helga Jace • Deathstroke

Terra I Quick Bio: Bold and brassy Tara Markov gained earth-manipulating abilities through Markovian scientist Dr. Jace. Adopting the name Terra, the bitter malcontent infiltrated the Titans as a member – while secretly acting as a spy for Deathstroke, the Terminator. After utterly betraying the Titans, Terra’s own rage consumed her as she buried herself in a ton of debris.

Teen Titans File Photo:


Archived File Photos (in chronological order):

Hero History


Rock And A Hard Place

Tara Markov was the illegitimate daughter of the King of Markovia and his mistress, an unnamed American woman. Tara was sent to the United States to avoid scandal, but not before using an experimental machine designed by Markovian scientist Dr. Helga Jace –  a device which endowed the young girl with incredible powers over the earth itself.

Tara was full of rage and hate, which may have stemmed from the fact that she was a national embarrassment because she was the product of an extramarital affair. At the age of fifteen, the young malcontent had already garnered a reputation for using her powers to do others’ dirty work if the price was right. On one occasion, she picked up an assignment turned down by Deathstroke the Terminator, in which she was hired to kill a powerful African tribesman. Tara took the assignment. She became friendly with the king and his family, and later murdered him without remorse.

ABOVE: Terra makes her debut in NEW TEEN TITANS #26 [1983].
BELOW: Terra meets the Titans in NEW TEEN TITANS #28 [1983].

It was through this assignment that Tara eventually hooked up with Deathstroke, who used her to fulfill his contract with the H.I.V.E., regarding the destruction of the New Teen Titans. Tara adopted the name “Terra” and fabricated a story of being held hostage by terrorists, although the story itself had many holes and inconsistencies.

Rockin’ To The Core

In her role as a super-human orphan-victim, Terra was invited to join the Teen Titans by Changeling, who quickly developed an extreme crush on her. She fought bravely with the Titans in order to win their confidence and learn their secrets.

ABOVE: Terra joins the team in NEW TEEN TITANS #30 [1983].
BELOW: Was it all an act? Terra shows signs of true emotion in NEW TEEN TITANS #34 [1983].

On one mission, the Titans joined forces with the Outsiders against the Fearsome Five, and Tara briefly reunited with her brother Brion, now known as the hero Geo-Force.

Terra later fought a partially rigged battle against Deathstroke, which served to win over the Titans. Despite Raven’s suspicions, Terra was inducted into the group and made privy to their secrets. Once she had all the information she needed, the traitorous Terra gave it to Deathstroke, who used the knowledge to kidnap the Titans and take them to the H.I.V.E. base near the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

The shocking final pages of NEW TEEN TITANS #34 [1983]
revealed Terra as a traitor.

Nightwing launched an assault on the H.I.V.E. complex, as Deathstroke’s son Jericho possessed his father’s body and used it to free the Titans and fight Terra. Feeling betrayed and truly alone, Tara lost her tenuous grip on sanity and brought the entire H.I.V.E. complex down upon her own head. It was Changeling who found her body.

ABOVE: Terra and Slade plot against the Titans in NEW TEEN TITANS #39 [1984].
BELOW: The depths of Terra ‘s duplicity revealed in NEW TEEN TITANS ANNUAL #3 [1984]. 

Rock On

Years later, another Terra appeared, claiming to be a time-tossed adventurer from the future. But the presence of the original Terra’s DNA – in addition to an empty coffin at Tara’s gravesite – caused “Terra 2” to believe she was the original Titans’ traitor. Before she could resolve her identity crisis, this second Terra died a hero while battling Black Adam during his worldwide rampage.

The emergence of a third Terra revealed that the second “Tara Markov” actually originated from a secret underground kingdom known as Strata.

 Powers & Abilities


Terra had control over the Earth and often flew on a chunk of rock to reach her destination. Terra could transform the consistency of earth and rock, cause earthquakes, tap into lava flows, and create shapes out of solid rock.

 

Essential Reading


New Teen Titans #26 [1982]: After the Titans return, Kid Flash goes home to Blue Valley and Changeling meets Terra on top of the Statue of Liberty, which she is trying to destroy. First appearance of Terra.
New Teen Titans #28 [1983]: Changeling captures Terra and brings her to Titans’ Tower, where she claims that she has been committing crimes for terrorists who are holding her parents captive; Terra and the Titans confront her parents’ supposed captors.
New Teen Titans #30 [1983]: The New Brotherhood of Evil follows Raven; Terra suddenly decides that she wants to be a Titan; ; While the Titans return to Titans’ Tower, where Robin says that Terra can join the group, Raven seeks solitude in St. Peter’s Cathedral, where the New Brotherhood of Evil finds her; During the Titans’ and the New Brotherhood of Evil’s battle in Times Square on New Year’s Eve; The New Brotherhood of Evil takes Raven to Zandia; Terry Long proposes to Donna Troy. Terra joins the Titans this issue.
New Teen Titans #34 [1983]: Terra is unhappy on her sixteenth birthday because she does not feel like a Titan; The Terminator holds a stockbroker hostage in exchange for the Titans; Terra and the Titans battle him, with Terra coming out looking like the hero; She later meets with the Terminator, revealing herself as his accomplice in his contract with the H.I.V.E. Terra revealed as a traitor.
New Teen Titans #37 and Batman and the Outsiders #5 [1983]: Fearsome Five member Gizmo breaks his villain group out of prison; Under Psimon’s leadership, the Fearsome Five kidnap Dr. Helga Jace and force her to make them a group of Mud Men to help in their battles; Dick Grayson tells Bruce Wayne that he wants to terminate their heroic partnership; The Titans and the Outsiders team up to defeat the Fearsome Five after the villains expel Dr. Light from the group and attempt to kill him; Robin chafes under Batman’s leading the two groups in battle and takes over, proving that Robin does not always have to be in Batman’s shadow. Terra is reunited with her brother, Geo-Force, in this story.
New Teen Titans #39 [1984]: Terra and the Terminator plot the fall of the Titans. Wally West decides to quit being Kid Flash, leaves his ring and costume with the Titans, and returns to Blue Valley; Dick Grayson gives up his Robin identity, turning Titan leadership over to Wonder Girl; Terra’s contact lens camera relays Robin’s and Kid Flash’s civilian identities to the Terminator. Last appearance of Dick Grayson as Robin. Kid Flash leaves the team.
Tales of the Teen Titans #42-44, Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3 [1984] “The Judas Contract”: Terra gives her collected information on the Titans to Deathstroke, who captures each of the teen heroes and delivers them to the H.I.V.E., except Dick Grayson. Joseph and Adeline Wilson confront Dick at Titans’ Tower, telling him of Terra’s association with the Terminator, who brings the Titans to the H.I.V.E.’s Rocky Mountain headquarters. Dick Grayson learns the origin of The Terminator and about the accident that made his son Joseph a mute; Dick becomes Nightwing and agrees to let Adeline and Joseph accompany him to the H.I.V.E. base after Joseph takes the identity of Jericho and “possesses” him. They help free the Titans, but not before Terra kills herself. This event is catalogued as “The Judas Contract.” First Dick Grayson as Nightwing in issue #44. First appearance of Joe Wilson in issue #42, as Jericho in issue #44. Death of Terra in Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3.

A Who’s Who entry by Pérez.

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Marv & George Talk Terra


George Pérez on Terra

[courtesy of Amazing Heroes]

GEORGE: Tara was just a cute little girl, although I based a little bit of that on my wife Carol’s sister, Barbara. A little upturned nose… Barbara does not have the teeth that Tara had. I wanted Tara to be a girl who looked normal. Which also means her death caught everyone even more offguard.

Tara, she was made to be killed; she served her purpose. That was it.

ANDY: You didn ‘t get any attachment to Tara?

GEORGE: No, because I knew we were going to kill her. So I deliberately used all the things to make her as likeable and cute as possible, so people would never believe we were going to kill a sixteen-year-old. And she was a sixteen-year-old sociopath. She was one of our cleverest gimmicks; we deliberately created her in order to lead everyone astray. So we couldn’t build any fondness for her, ’cause we knew full well what her whole motive for existence was. Her existence was basically to keep the stories interesting; we were tossing a curve that no one would have expected.

ANDY: You didn ‘t even love to hate her, huh?

GEORGE: No. I loved handling her, because she was such a good idea. But she was an idea. Not as much a person. She was there to show exactly how much their humanity can be one thing they have to be careful about, the Teen Titans have to be careful about. . . they can be too trusting, or their own weaknesses can be used against them.

Bad to the Bone: Terra and Slade plot against the
Titans in NEW TEEN TITANS #39 [1984].

Marv Wolfman On Terra

[Marv Wolfman Interview – Amazing Heroes #50, 1984]
Michael Hopkins Talks to the co-creator and writer of the Teen Titans: Marv Wolfman

The story of Terra was far different than what many expected, and its shattering culmination in the third annual brought many interesting aspects to light. “George and I knew exactly where it was going. She was set up specifically to make the readers think that we were doing a Kitty Pryde story [laughs], and then suddenly switch it on them when it was revealed she was a traitor. Lead the readers to think that she was going to reform, as every person has ever done here. Then, of course, not only not have her reform, but have her die. The reader was, we hope, taken by surprise. You notice DC did no publicity whatsoever that she died.

“I enjoyed playing the game for two years,” Wolfman says. “Whenever anyone would ask ‘ls a Titan going to die?’ I said no. [laughs] And I was honest about it, because in my mind she was never a Titan, and she wasn’t even a traitor. She was a very sick person. At the same time, we knew we could sell 50,000 more copies if we had said a Teen Titan dies in the annual. We weren’t interested in that. We wanted the shock of the story.

“People did not know where it was going. Not even the diehard Titans fans who I see at conventions, who have magazines about the Titans that I read. All of them speculated that Terra was going to reform at the last minute and turn on the Terminator. Of course we had that in there, too, but for a totally different reason. The cover was created specifically to let you wonder which side she was going to take, not realizing that she was going against both.”

An aspect that’s particularly noticeable is the path that leads to Tara Markov’s emotional and physical suicide. The fact is, as the story states, she has no reason for being what she became. Yet it’s interesting to note a curious parallel between Terra’s roots and the roots of Wonder Girl, namely that they’re both bastard children. In exploring this, we see how simply and ingeniously Wolfman and Pérez have utilized traditional story devices while avoiding their
cliched traps.

“What we didn’t want to do is state that beause she was this or because she was that, she was evil,” Wolfman says. “There are people who are just not nice. They could be brought up in the best situations or whatever, it won’t make a difference. Wonder Girl was brought up in an identical situation, only she turned out good. There was absolutely nothing in Terra’s background that should have made her the type of character she was.”

A 2004 commission from George Pérez.

 

Marv & George on “The Judas Contract”


The Judas Contract Trade Paperback: Marv Wolfman’s Introduction

The stories reprinted in this volume are among my favorites of the one hundred-plus Titans stories that I’ve written to date over the past eight and a half years. They work on several levels, the least of which is as good adventure stories.

To explain how these stories were written and drawn would, to me, prove uninteresting. Sitting side-by-side with artist and co-plotter George Pérez, hashing out concepts, rejecting concepts, coming up with new ideas, discarding them, etc., etc., etc. is the process by which most of the better Titans material was created. Instead, I’ll use this small space to let new readers of the Titans know the story to date and how the character of Tara Markov was created.

There was an attack on the Statue of Liberty The Teen Titans flew from Titans Tower, situated on an island in New York’s East River, to find Miss Liberty under siege by a young girl who called herself Terra. Terra was quickly subdued, and she explained her name was Tara Markov, that she had the power to control the earth itself, and that she had been led astray by terrorists and supposedly was following their command. The Titans saw Tara as a wise-mouthed child, lost, alone, and confused. They did not realize she was a deadly spy sent to infiltrate the Titans by one of their greatest enemies-Deathstroke, The Terminator.

When The New Teen Titans was first published back in 1980, many fans thought that we were simply ‘ripping off the idea from Marvel’s X-Men comic.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. I had written the Teen Titans in its first incarnation in 1969 and have had a fondness for the group ever since. When I came to DC Comics in 1980, I wanted to return to that title, bring it up to date, and add a new cast of characters to fight alongside some of the original members.

But the accusation that we were an X-Men clone continued, even though the X-Men writer, Chris Claremont, once stated at a comics convention that the only similarity was that we were both working on former cult titles and had made them more popular than before.

Still, some die-hards refused to give up. Now, I love puncturing balloons, and I decided if some fans thought we were an X-Men clone, then why not play with them a bit? The X-Men had just introduced a new member to their group, a young 14-year-old cute-as-a-button girl with incredible powers. I’d do the same. I’d play her first as a villain, then seemingly reform her and have her join the Titans. Only I’d have her constantly lie to the Titans, change her stories, do suspicious things, and, in general, make her a louse. I could do that, I knew, because comic book convention would demand that readers ignore all the evidence and assume she was a good girl. Alter all, the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde was a heroine, so even the lying, cheating, conniving Tara Markov had to have a heart of gold.

Right?

Wrong. From the very beginning Tara was conceived as a villainess. It was the first time a member of a super-hero group ever proved to be a spy (not a traitor-she was always working for The Terminator). Playing on the comic readers’ expectations worked.

The Tara Markov story threw everyone for a loop. Reader response ranged from hailing the stories as a Titans high point to “How dare you make her evil,” (as if I had ever given the readers any reason to think she wasn’t) to “For what you did to Tara Markov, I am going to kill you.” We sent that death-threat to the police. Unlike our pen-and-ink created heroes and heroines, the writers and artists of the Titans are all too mortal.

This, then, is the story of Terra and The Terminator. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as George Pérez and I enjoyed creating it.

The cover of TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS ANNUAL #3, by George Pérez.

The Judas Contract Trade Paperback: George Pérez’s Introduction

Ah, memories.

Has it really been five years since Marv Wolfman and I sat down in a small restaurant and gleefully plotted the birth and death of a cute little teenaged girl? Has it been that long since that fateful meeting in Dick Giordano’s office when it was decided that a famous caped crusader’s sidekick was going to hang up his mask and at last be his own master, and that we would also retire a certain teenage speedster? And was it so long ago that Marv and I racked our respective skulls trying to come up with a concept for a new hero for whom we had only a name and a parental history? Has it really been five years since The Judas Contract? I’ve always liked the name The Judas Contract. When Marv came up with it, I thought that it had a certain grandeur, a certain significance to it. And when I learned that DC Comics was reprinting the multi-issue saga, my mind flooded with waves of nostalgia, pleasant memories which always seem to arise when I think of my original tenure as co-creator, co-plotter, and artist on The New Teen Titans.

So it is that I recall how, after two years of establishing Titans as a bona-fide hit for DC, Marv and I sat across from one another in that diner booth and he told me about this new character he had just invented: a 15-year-old named Terra. She was to be the first new Titan to join the team since the inception of the series, but she would also be the first to die.

Thus was The Judas Contract born, although it would be over a year before that actual storyline would take place. Other inges were in the offing. the creation of The New Teen Titans, Marv and I had sworn not to make it a junior version of The Justice League of America, which is what the Titans were in the 1960s. (I used to call it the Justice Little League.) The of a group of kid sidekicks banded together to fight crime always invites comparisons between them and their adult mentors. Also, the freedom of utilizing a character fully is compromised when he is also being used concurrently in his guardian’s own series.

Thankfully Cyborg, Raven, and Starfire were all-new heroes created specifically for Titans (I can still remember the words of artist/editor Joe Orlando when he saw the original design for Starfire: “I think you should make her hair longer.” Boy, did I take that suggestion to heart!). Wonder Girl was never really a sidekick to Wonder Woman, and Changeling’s roots to the then-defunct Doom Patrol series were non-hampering. That left Kid Flash and Robin. Kid Flash was easy. Robin was the tricky one. For over forty years, he had been the popular swashbuckling partner to the mysterious Batman. In fact, Batman without Robin was considered as unthinkable as Holmes without Watson, Robin Hood without Little John, Minneapolis without St. Paul! Yet Robin was the team leader, the linchpin of the Titans. When Marv Wolfman, then-Batman writer Doug Moench, and I sauntered into Executive Editor Dick Giordano’s office to discuss Robin’s fate, I actually thought we’d lose the rights to use the Titans’ leader. Was I wrong. Goodbye, Robin/Dick Grayson-hello, Robin/Jason Todd!

Then there was Jericho. Marv wanted to introduce a new member to the Titans to replace the departed Kid Flash. However, he had the character’s name (an unused character who was to have appeared in the original 1960s Titans series) and the notion that he would be an offspring of the villainous Terminator, but nothing more. After weeks of pounding our heads against the walls, we had all but given up. We couldn’t think of anything for Jericho. Then it hit me. Overnight, I came up with the concept, personality, and design for Joseph William Wilson, the newest Teen Titan.

Joseph, or Jericho, was the first Titan I ever designed solely and as such, he was more of an artist’s character than a writer’s character. By making him mute (and forbidding poor Marv the use of thought balloons for the character), I was forced to convey Jericho’s personality through body language and facial expressions. Such subtle nuances would have been unthinkable for me when I first started the series in 1980, but Marv was so confident in my improved abilities that he accepted my version of Jericho, who was a lot tougher for him to write.

That still left us with Dick Grayson. Dick has an incredibly vocal fan Following, particularly among females. There was no way we could keep that character out of the group indefinitely.

So, during the run of The Judas Contract, Dick Grayson’s new crimefighting identity was established. Nightwing was born. Though neither Marv nor I were originally crazy about his new name, in the long run, it seems to have won the fans’ hearts. Those who considered themselves Robin-Rooters have proudly followed Dick’s new career as avid Wingnuts.

So here I am, hunched over my word processor, reliving the glorious yesterdays which went into the tales unfolded for you in the following pages. It was a time of growth for me. My maturation as an artist can be traced back to these stories. My new career as a writer was born from the many brainstorming plotting sessions through which Marv and I sweated during those days. I am grateful to the Titans and to Marv and all those who supported the effort.

Thanks for the memories.

A 2005 commission of Terra by Jeff Moy.

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 Titans In Love: Changeling & Terra


Perhaps the most heart-breaking romance in Titans history, the Terra/Changeling relationship was rocky from the start. Changeling met Terra on top of the Statue of Liberty, which she was trying to destroy. A confused and troubled runaway, Terra (Tara Markov) was persuaded to seek sanctuary at Titans Tower in New Teen Titans #28 [1983]. In issue #30, Terra even joined the group as a full-fledged Titan.

Although smart-mouthed and full of attitude, Terra charmed her way into Changeling’s (and readers’) hearts. But the biggest shock of all was in the pages of New Teen Titans #34, where Terra was revealed as a spy for Deathstroke the Terminator. Seeking to fulfill his contract with the H.I.V.E., Deathstroke enlisted Terra’s aid to infiltrate the group and learn their secrets. As part of this ruse, Terra especially manipulated Changeling, who had developed a crush on the cute blond geomorph.

Was it all an act? A Tara/Gar kiss from TALES OF  TEEN TITANS #42 [1984].

The events of New Teen Titans #39 [1984] made it even harder for fans to believe that Terra may be swayed to the side of good. In that issue, a tarted-up Tara was shown plotting the Titans’ demise while enjoying a post-coital smoke. Terra was literally sleeping with the enemy. And after a brutal training excercize with Slade, Terra denounced “cute girl super-heroes” and vowed to kill all the “sanctimonious do-gooders.” Suddenly, hopes for Terra’s reform seemed slim, at best.

Despite Terra’s dirty deeds, it seemed there was still slim hope for her redemption. When the group gave her a birthday party, Terra was (for once) speechless, confessing “Oh, nuthin’s wrong. I was just.. Thinking of something” (NTT #30) When Dick Grayson expressed pride in Terra, Wintergreen even doubted her ultimate loyalty, “Sir, do you think young Tara is changing her mind? Will she side with the Titans against us?” (NTT #39). And when Cyborg saved her life and remarked that Terra would do the same in the reverse situation, she said,  “Yeah… Mebbe I would have…” (Tales of the Teen Titans #41). And moments before betraying the team utterly, Terra shares a romantic kiss was an elated Changeling (ToTT #42).

Terra breaks Changeling’s heart in TALES OF  TEEN TITANS ANNUAL #3 [1984].

But Terra proved rotten to the core. Once revealed as a traitor, a heartbroken Changeling suspected hypnosis. But Terra confessed, “What’s with the dropped mouth, Logan? Your pwetty widdle girlfriend isn’t all true-blue and pure? Mister, you don’t know the half of it. But you better believe you’re gonna squirm while I tell you everything.” (ToTT Annual #3).

Nightwing and Jericho liberated the Titans, while the H.I.V.E. Fell in ruins. Changeling reached out to Terra one last time, causing the mudslinger to lash out, “It’s all been an act. Every part of it — ‘specially that kiss, Logan. That was the biggest act of all. It made me want to gag kissin’ you, Logan.” Ultimately, Terra’s own rage consumed her and she buried herself in a mountain of debris.

A devastated Changeling located her body, left with emotional wounds that would take years to heal.

Romantic Reads:
New Teen Titans [1982] #26, 28, 30-39
Tales of the Teen Titans [1984] #40-44, Annual #3

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 The Tale of Three Terras


In 1983, DC Comics introduced a powerful and tragic character with Terra. In 1991, DC shocked readers with the “return” of Terra – or was it? In 2007, DC introduced a third mysterious Terra. So, what’s the story behind all these Terras? And how are they connected? Read on, mudslingers….

Terra The First

The first Terra appeared in the classic New Teen Titans #26 [1982]. Changeling met Terra on top of the Statue of Liberty, which she was trying to destroy. A confused and troubled runaway, Terra (Tara Markov) was persuaded to seek sanctuary at Titans Tower in New Teen Titans #28 [1983]. In issue #30, Terra even joined the group as a full-fledged Titan.

Although smart-mouthed and full of attitude, Terra charmed her way into Changeling’s (and readers’) hearts. Only Raven sensed something was disturbing about the girl’s backstory. In the pivotal New Teen Titans #34 [1983], the mud hit the fan. After staging a battle with Deathstroke, Terra later met with him in secret, revealing herself as his accomplice in his contract with the H.I.V.E. Readers were stunned – and that’s just the way Marv Wolfman and George Pérez planned it all along.

Marv recalls, “George and I knew exactly where it was going. She was set up specifically to make the readers think that we were doing a Kitty Pryde story [laughs], and then suddenly switch it on them when it was revealed she was a traitor. Lead the readers to think that she was going to reform, as every person has ever done here. Then, of course, not only not have her reform, but have her die. The reader was, we hope, taken by surprise.”

Readers were indeed taken by surprise. Terra remained a member of the team, as readers were still left in the dark about Terra’s motivations. The events ofNew Teen Titans #39 [1984] made it even harder for fans to believe that Terra may be a sheep in wolf’s clothing. In that issue, a tarted-up Tara was shown plotting the Titans’ demise while enjoying a post-coital smoke. Terra was literally sleeping with the enemy. And after a brutal training excercize with Slade, Terra denounced “cute girl super-heroes” and vowed to kill all the “sanctimonious do-gooders.” Suddenly, hopes for Terra’s reform seemed slim, at best.

George Pérez even designed Terra in a way that would mislead readers: “I deliberately used all the things to make her as likeable and cute as possible, so people would never believe we were going to kill a sixteen-year-old. And she was a sixteen-year-old sociopath. She was one of our cleverest gimmicks; we deliberately created her in order to lead everyone astray.”

Terra by George Pérez

The story culminated in the classic “Judas Contract” 4-parter inTales of the Teen Titans #42-44 and Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3 [1984]. Terra gives her collected information on the Titans to Deathstroke, who captured each of the teen heroes and delivers them to the H.I.V.E. Eventually, the group was rescued by Dick Grayson (in his debut as Nightwing) and Jericho. During the battle, Terra loses her tenuous grip on sanity, and not even Raven could ease her troubled mind. Ultimately, Terra’s own rage consumed her, as she buried herself in a mountain of debris.

Marv later reflected on the storyline in his online “What The–?” column: “Only mistake I think I made with him is having [Deatshtroke] have a physical relationship with the 16 year old Tara Markov. That was wrong. […] George and I wanted a Titan who betrayed the others. We also wanted to play against every reader conception of who characters are. George and I knew her whole story before we began and we knew she would die. We set the story up with her trying to destroy the Statue of Liberty to show she was the bad girl, but we knew if George drew her as a cute kid everyone would simply assume she would be “turned” from the dark side because that’s the way it was always done which is why that wouldn’t be the way we did it. Tara was insane and stayed that way right until the moment she died.”

And she was indeed dead.

If there was any doubt, the latter’s column of Tales of the Teen Titans #47 [1984] put it to rest, in Marv’s own words: “We received a number of letters pointing out that Terra’s brother, Geo-force, had died and because he was buried in the earth he was able to return to life. The assumption here is that Terra, too, will soon be leaving the grave for a return visit. Sorry, but young Tara is gone. To the literally hundreds of you who begged us to bring her back – we can’t. This death is not reversible.”

“To those who understood her death or at least accepted it, thank you for your comments. A little over 2 years ago, George and I worked out the full Terra storyline, including the finale. We’d been working toward that story all that time, trying to make certain that we didn’t, in the meantime, fall so in love with our character that we decided to reverse her ultimate fate. It was hard, almost impossible, not to care for Terra even though we knw how evil she was. Sometimes, just sometimes, mind you, certain characters take on a life and existence of their own despite anything you do. Terra was one of those characters.”

“At any rate, Terra is gone and we go on. But the effects of Terra’s death are far from over, and they will continue to haunt the Titans for months to come.”

Or, perhaps, years to come. Eight years later, to be exact.

Short list of notable appearances:
New Teen Titans #26, 28-39
Tales of the Teen Titans #40-44, 55, Annual #3
New Teen Titans (second series) Annual #1
Batman and the Outsiders #5
World’s Finest #300

Terra The Second

In 1991, Jonathan Peterson took over as editor of New Titans. Feeling the title had become complascent, Peterson wanted the “shake things up” in a bold new storyline that would offers massive changes, shocks and surprises. New characters would be introduced, and older characters would be given massive overhauls. The ambitious storyline – dubbed “Titans Hunt” – began in New Titans#71 [1991].

During a “Titans Summit” with the entire creative team, everyone was encouraged to brainstorm bold ideas for the series. Peterson recalls, “They went through lists of Titans stuff they could redo or bring back, and then we thought, we could bring back Terra!” Peterson adds, “Bringing her back was interesting because that was Marv’s idea. I remember Marv saying the death of Terra was one of the biggest mail surges. We definitely wanted someone in Team Titans to anchor the group to Titans history, and that was the first one Marv latched onto and ran with.”

Terra’s “return” began in New Titans #79 [1991], where a mysterious group of teenagers stalked Donna Troy. The last page revealed one of those 5 mysterious teenagers was none other than Terra! The storyline was continued in New Titans Annual #7 and New Titans #80 [1991], which introduced the Team Titans, a band of freedom fighters from 10 years in the future.

Marv was entertained by the idea of using this new Terra: “I also liked how she could upset the apple cart in the present: What it does to her relationship with Changeling, what it does to Deathstroke – who had a 16-year-old kid for a lover for a brief time, back when he was a little more vicious; what it does to everything! Terra is a wild card, because even she doesn’t know some of her own programming, or who she was in her time period. I was pleased with the character’s addition from the shock value to the readers to making it work correctly without bringing back the original Terra or making her [the Outsiders’] Geo-Force’s daughter. This uses everything.”

So if the new Terra wasn’t the previous Terra, then who was she? And why did she look exactly like Terra? The answers were revealed when the Team Titans were launched into their own series. Terra’s origin was revealed in Team Titans #1: A nameless orphan girl was injected with the original Terra’s DNA and planted as a spy within the Team Titans. In a twist of fate, this Terra chose the right path and joined the Titans to become a freedom fighter. Marv recalls: “The Terra from Team Titans was – as stated – some kid the villain kidnapped and physically and mentally altered her into looking and acting like the original. But she was NEVER the real Terra.”

This remained true for the duration of the Team Titans series, which ended with #24. With the onset of Zero Hour, many DC series were restarted and relaunched. In an effort to streamline the Titan franchise, the entire Team Titans timeline was erased, leaving only Terra and Mirage as surviving members. Both former Teamers joined the Titans in New Titans #0 and #115.

Terra II by Kevin Maguire

While Marv was insistent that the first Terra remain dead, New Titans editor Pat Garrahy had his own ideas. In New Titans Annual #11, the Time Trapper appears and tells Mirage and Terra they did not originate from a false future timeline, but from the present timeline instead. Before the Time Trapper can reveal the second Terra’s origins, she destroys the message orb recording. Plagued with doubt, Terra 2 unearths the original Terra’s coffin and finds it empty. The story seemed to suggest that Terra 2 was actually Terra 1, somehow still alive and wiped of her memories. The news leaves Terra 2 shaken and disturbed. Could she somehow be the psychotic, original Tara Markov?

Marv Wolfman later revealed the genesis of the plotline: “The editor at the time [Pat Garrahy] insisted we do that story. I didn’t want to, even though it was agreed on in advance the new Terra would NOT be related in any way to the old. I just didn’t see any reason to bring it up again. At about this time I asked off the title. My contract brought me to issue #130 and I saw no reason to bring up the Terra situation again in the limited time we had. ”

With New Titans canceled with issue #130, Terra 2’s next major appearnce was in the pages of The Titans Secret Files #2 [2000] – in not one, but two stories. In one short story written by Geoff Johns and Ben Raab, Terra 2 gets a DNA test to determine whether she is the “real” Terra or not. Sparing his sister the troubling news, Geo-Force tells her the result is negative, even though the tests reveal a positive match. In the second story, Gar’s cousin Matt Logan holds a membership drive for a new Titans West Coast team. Terra joind the new team – dubbed Titans L.A – along with Beast Boy, Flamebird, Herald, Bumblebee, and Captain Marvel Jr. and Hero Cruz.

At the time, there were plans for a Titans L.A. 8-issue maxi-series by Geoff Johns and Ben Raab. The two Secret Files stories served as a tease to that. Geoff Johns revealed in a 2002 interview with titanstower.com: “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.” When asked about Terra 2’s true identity, Geoff replied, “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.”

The DNA match – along with the empty coffin – seemed more proof that Terra 2 was indeed Terra 1.

Marv Wolfman, in a recent interview, weighed in on the subject of Terra: “By the way, she IS dead. I don’t know what other writers will do with her – if anything – but if they want to honor the original series they will leave her dead.”

Terra 2 would never learn the answers to her mysterious past. As she still pondered her own identity, yet a third Terra made her debut in the pages ofSupergirl #12 in 2007. To pave way for another rock-slinging teen heroine, Terra 2 met her abrupt demise in World War III: Hell Is For Heroes [2007] at the hands of Black Adam. In the end, the second Terra proved she was nothing like the first Terra. She died a true hero.

Short list of notable appearances:
New Titans #79-80, 85-96, 100, 0, 115-130
New Titans Annual #7, 11
The Titans $ell-Out $pecial #1
Team Titans #1-24
Team Titans Annual #1-2
Titans Secret Files #1-2
Deathstroke #14-16, 45, 46, 48-50
Outsiders #17
Zero Hour #0-4
Teen Titans (third series) #17-19
World War III: Hell Is For Heroes

Terra The Third

Supergirl #12 [2007] finds the Girl of Steel down in the dumps – and no match for a monster that’s using her emotions as a weapon. This looks like a job for a Terra, a mysterious new hero whose very steps make the ground tremble to make her presence known to the world. Hey, wait a sec… new hero? Wasn’t she dead? And wasn’t there another one? Good questions.

The all-new Terra was co-created by writing partners Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray and designed by artist Amanda Conner. With black hair and a sunny disposition, this new Terra was a conceptual departure from the first two identical-looking smart-mouthed blondes. So what connection does this hew heroine have to Terras past? The honest answer is…. none, at first. “We brought in the idea for a new character and after a few months of back and forth we were asked [by Dan Didio] if we could take elements from that character and apply her to bringing a new Terra to the DCU,” explained Terra co-creator Justin Gray.

Jimmy Palmiotti talked about the origins of the all-new Terra on a STUN! (http://stunpodcast.wordpress.com) podcast: “DC wanted a new Terra. […] Somehow, we’re going to figure out how all those Terra tie together. We came up with a real basic premise. They are all connected. Their powers are all the same, but their attitudes are completely different.”

“The new Terra sort of has the sensibilities of Superman. […] She has a real super-hero sensibility. There’s no doubt [in her mind], unlike the other two Terras, who both had some psychological stuff going on. In this mini series, we explain them out. We explain who they are, where they came from and what they have in common with the new Terra. And then we say, “go.” So by the [last] issue, we launch her out. And that’s for another writer to work on her in another book.”

The truths behind the all-new Terra were eventually revealed in her own self-titled mini-series in 2008.

Terra III by Amanda Conner

The third Terra was actually a young girl named Atlee who was born in the underground world known as Strata. The Council of Elders, believing the surface world could pose a threat to them, sought to send its own protector to the surface. The Quixium metal that alters the genetics of all Stratans can give a rare few the power to move the very earth itself. Atlee had such geo-morphing skills that she was selected as Strata’s protector – a role she takes quite seriously.

It was also revealed that the second Terra was Strata’s first protector. The Council selected a Stratan female with earth-moving abilities and altered her genetics by replicating the DNA from the corpse of the original Tara Markov. This new “Tara Markov” was sent to the surface world, in the hopes that presenting a familiar face would help the Stratan female blend in with the super-human community.

There were some initial ideas about “explaining away” the mental instability of the first Terra – as well as connecting all theTerras and Geo-Force to Strata. In Terra #2 and #3, Atlee makes some comments about how the combination of Quixium with human DNA could cause mental instability, as it did in the first two Terras. This element was changed by the time issue #4 was written. Justin Gray explains: “The second Terra was from Strata the first [was not]. Terra 1 stays as she is in DC Universe: Last Will & Testament [2008]. The brain damage was part of the initial story before DC Universe: Last Will & Testament that connected all three Terras and Geo-Force to Strata, the book needed to be changed to reflect DC Universe: Last Will & Testament, the double ship made changes to issue #2 impossible. It happens and we all did what we could to make it work.”

The creators of the all-new Terra hopes new and old fans will give her a chance. Explains Jimmy, “We’re beyond trying to please all of the people on this one and are focusing on how what went before would nicely fit into what we are establishing now. It’s a wonderful jigsaw puzzle that makes sense once all is said and done. […] it will be a roller coaster for Terra’s original fans and we hope an exciting and visually appealing story for all new comers.

Justin adds, “We’ve been working with Terra for months and months trying to find and develop what’s special about her. In the end it was a very simple angle, make Terra a superhero with plenty of emphasis on heroism.”

Short list of notable appearances:
Supergirl #12
Terra (mini-series) #1-4
Terror Titans (mini-series) #1-6



Sources for this entry: DC Who’s Who Series, DC Who’s Who Binder Series, The Official Teen Titans Index [published by ICG in 1985], The New Titans Sourcebook [Mayfair Games, 1990],DC Secret Files, supplemented by titanstower.com


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