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Terra II

Alias: “Tara Markov”

Team Titans Member
Joined: 
New Titans #79 [1991]

Related Links:  Terra I Terra IIIGeo-ForceMarkovia
• Comics Scene Yearbook ArticleWizard #25 Titans Article
• Phil Jimenez Looks BackTeam Titans FAQ

Terra II Quick Bio: Originating from the underground world of Strata, a young girl was injected with the first Terra’s DNA in a mission to protect the earth. But “Tara Markov’s” memories became tampered when she became a time-tossed member of the Team Titans. Terra II feared she was the original Titans’ traitor – but ultimately proved her heroism when she sacrificed her life trying to stop Black Adam’s worldwide rampage.

Teen Titans File Photo:

Team Titans Group Photo:

Archived File Photos (in chronological order):

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History


It Lies Beneath The Earth

Prior to the birth of man, a sole survivor of an alien race crashed to earth. Because of his volume and mass, the long-dead alien’s arrival altered the very shape of the world. Centuries passed, and the space god sank deeper into the earth. The suit that protected it from space travel also managed to preserve its DNA, which caused an entire civilization to evolve inside the space god’s corpse. This underground world became known as Strata.

The second Terra’s origin is explained in TERRA (mini-series) #4 [2008].

The Council of Elders within Strata observed the development of mankind’s surface dwellers for many years. Seeing the potential danger they posed to the world, the Stratans sought to send a 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. The Council selected a Stratan female with such power and altered her genetics by replicating the DNA from the corpse of the original Tara Markov and merging it with the Stratan female. 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.

This Terra’s mission became sidelined when she was abducted by the Time Trapper, who sought to recruit sleeper agents in an elaborate scheme to protect the integrity of the timestream from the evil machinations of Extant. To this end, he recruited “Terra II” and gave her false memory implants as a future freedom fighter from ten years in the future.

Terra breaks free of Lord Chaos in TEAM TITANS #1 [1992].

Team Titans, Go!

The time-tossed terraformer was placed in an alternate future – a world that was ruled by a cruel and barbarous demigod with powers from beyond the stars. He was Lord Chaos, and he would enslave or kill all who would oppose him. But one group did challenge Lord Chaos’ authority – a collection of underground freedom fighters inspired by the legendary Teen Titans. Galvanized by a mysterious leader, dozens of these super-powered recruits collectively became known as the Team Titans.

In this world, the time-displaced Stratan female believed she was a nameless orphan girl injected with the original Terra’s DNA, which granted her earth-manipulating abilities. The second Terra – an exact doppelganger for the first – was placed as a spy within the Team Titans. But “Terra II” eventually fought Lord Chaos’ brainwashing and in turn, betrayed him. Now a trusted member of the Team Titans, Terra continued to fight for freedom in the future.

ABOVE: The Team Titans begin  their deadly mission in NEW TITANS #80 [1991].
BELOW:  
Gar Logan and Deathstroke 
react to the second Terra in TEAM TITANS #1 [1992].

Total Chaos

Shortly thereafter, the Team Titans’ leader gave one of his super-powered squads a critical mission. Mirage, Killowat, Dagon, Terra, Redwing and Prester Jon were sent back to Earth’s past to find Lord Chaos’ mother – Donna Troy of the New Titans – and slay her before she bore her demonic son. Hurdled through time on a one-way trip, the Team Titans infiltrated the Titans but Donna Troy gave birth before they could intervene. Total turmoil erupted when Lord Chaos arrived, determined to insure his own future. At that point, both teams united to end Chaos and spare Donna’s life at the same time.

With their mission now completed, the Team Titans found themselves stranded in the past with no future ahead. Donna Troy provided a new home for the time-lost teenagers at her New Jersey farmhouse, where she could help them find their place in a world that was still so strange to them.

Tara found herself attracted to Changeling, who was rather unnerved by her appearance. But Changeling did have feeling for this new Terra, evidenced by the strain it put on his relationship with long-time girlfriend, Jillian Jackson.

Countdown To Zero Hour

Suddenly, the Team Titans became engulfed in a crisis wherein time itself began to unravel. The time-warping Extant and power-mad Parallax plotted to hasten this breakdown to create an entirely new reality of their own design. As the dreaded zero hour approached, scores of heroes from various eras were drawn to the literal Ground Zero, the beginning of time.

The Team Titans cease to exist in ZERO HOUR #2  [1994].

There, Extant revealed that his past self, Monarch, had engineered the Team Titans’ timeline to create his own army of super-powered assassins. Through their wristbands, Extant activated his sleeper agent Team Titans to attack the heroes and preserve his “Zero Hour” objective. But as their incongruous timeline faded, the Team Titans themselves were erased from existence.

Inexplicably, three individuals survived the collapse of the Team Titans’ timeline: Mirage, Terra and Deathwing. With no home to call their own, Mirage and Terra joined Arsenal’s New Titans team.

Who Is Tara Markov?

Soon, Geo-Force also sought out the second Terra to discern if the girl was his sister, somehow back from the grave. Geo-Force wanted to believe this well-meaning heroine was in fact, his sister, but the evidence presented at that time suggested otherwise. Blood relation or not, Geo-Force was proud to regard the time-tossed teen as his sister, Tara. In fact, he surmised that she was a better person than his real sister ever was.

Geo-Force comes to terms with the new Terra in OUTSIDERS (second series) #17 [1995].

Ironically, Terra would soon doubt her own identity after asserting herself to Geo-Force. It started when the New Titans received a strange orb from the calculating Time Trapper, revealing both Mirage and Terra originated from this timeline - their entire future-life constructed from false memory implants. Having played their role during the Zero Hour time crisis, Time Trapper was prepared to reveal their true origins. At that point, Terra destroyed the orb, not wanting to know the truth about her past.

Curious about the Time Trapper’s message, Terra visited the first Terra’s graveside soon after, only to find an empty coffin. With this new information, Terra feared she may actually be the original Titans’ traitor.

ABOVE: The Time Trapper reveals Mirage, Terra and Deathwing
as his sleeper agents in 
NEW TITANS ANNUAL #11 [1995].
BELOW: Terra begins to doubt her own identity in NEW TITANS ANNUAL #11 [1995] 

Shortly after this, the Titans group disbanded. This prompted Terra to accept Geo-Force’s open-ended invitation and take up residence in Markovia, homeland of the original Terra. While staying there, Terra had Markovian scientists conduct a DNA test to discover, beyond a shadow of a doubt, if she was the original Terra. Her brother Geo-Force received the test results. He mercifully told Terra that the results are negative, when they were, in fact, postive.

Terra later aided the Titans in preventing the extraterrestrial threat catalogued as “The Technis Imperative.” It began when ex-Titan Cyborg – now controlled by the alien collective known as the Technis  – journeyed to Earth to turn its moon into a new Technis world populated with his Titans allies. The Justice League and the Titans first clashed, then united, to prevent Cyborg from destroying the planet while saving his soul from alien influence.

Soon after, Beast Boy’s obnoxious cousin Matt took it upon himself to hold a membership drive party for an all-new Titans West. Beast Boy finally agreed to have the team re-form, and Titans West was re-dubbed Titans L.A. – with members that included Beast Boy, Flamebird, Herald, Bumblebee, Terra, Hero Cruz, Captain Marvel Jr. and Bushido. But Titans LA was short-lived. Eventually, the new West Coast group of Titans dissolved before it ever truly began.

ABOVE: Terra fears the truth behind her DNA test in Titans Secret Files #2 [2000].
BELOW: Terra is brutally killed by Black Adam in WORLD WAR III: HELL IS FOR HEROES [2007].

Six Feet Under

With the murders of Black Adam’s innocent wife, Isis, and her brother, Osiris, The Black Marvel Family was destroyed. Seeking vengeance for those responsible, Black Adam cut a swath of destruction across the globe, igniting a world war.

In an attempt to stop Black Adam, Beast Boy and his rag-tag Titans team fought valiantly to contain his rampage. The battle had a terrible cost; Terra lost her life to Black Adam’s fury. In the end, Terra proved she was nothing like the first Terra. She was a true hero.

Sadly, Terra II also died without learning her true origins. Since her death, a third Terra has emerged – a young girl named Atlee from the secret underground world where Terra II unknowingly originated.

Powers & Abilities


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

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A Terra II commission by TEAM TITANS artist, Kevin Maguire.

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Essential Reading


New Titans #79 [1991]: Donna fades away with a mysterious figure [as part of a War of the Gods crossover]. Deathstroke, Dayton, Pantha, Phantasm and Arella plan their next move. Councilwoman Elizabeth Alderman begins her crusade against the Titans as a platform in her bid for mayor. A mysterious group of teenagers try to track down Donna Troy in an attempt to kill her. On the last page, one of those teenagers is revealed as Terra! This issue features the first appearance of the Team Titans. Story continued in New Titans Annual #7 [which establishes the backstory of the Team Titans].
New Titans Annual #7 and New Titans #80 [1991]: Waverider leaves an unconscious Nightwing to meet Joe Wilson, while in the future, a mysterious leader details his plans to his Team Titans: they will go back in time to eliminate Donna Troy before she can give birth to her son, who will turn out to be Lord Chaos. Lord Chaos vows to follow them to the past and insure his future.
New Titans #86-87 [1992]: The Team Titans continue to hunt Donna Troy while Lord Chaos, having seized control of a corporation, plots to stop them. Donna Troy learns she is pregnant. Terra II makes herself known to Changeling.
Total Chaos: New Titans #90-92, Team Titans #1-3, Deathstroke #14-16 [1992]: The Team Titans have been sent to the past to kill the pregnant Troia before she gives birth to her son, who could become a god-powered dictator named Lord Chaos in the future. The Team is defeated, and Troia, having lost her powers, gives birth to a normal baby boy. Mirage of the Team Titans kidnaps Starfire and impersonates her so that she can date Nightwing. Team Titans #1 is released in five different versions, but unlike variant cover gimmicks, all five are double-sized while selling for the regular price. Although all contain a common story, each also includes a different full-length origin story for a group member [Origins of Mirage, Terra II, Nightrider, Redwing and Killowat].
Team Titans #6 [1993]: The Team Titans celebrate the holidays, by going in search of their pasts, here In the present. Phantasm eases Terra’s and Mirage’s pains. Both Titans teams unite for a holiday gathering.
New Titans #0, 115 [1994]: Under government control, Arsenal leads a new team of Titans, including Impulse, Damage, Green Lantern, Darkstar, Mirage, and Terra. Government funded and based in New Jersey. Changeling betrays the team. First issue with new Titans members Terra II, Mirage, Impulse and Damage having already joined the team.
Outsiders #17 [1995]: Geo-Force comes to blows with Arsenal and Green Lantern when he demands to meet their teammate ‘Terra’, who looks exactly like his dead sister. Donna Troy [Darkstar] intervenes, breaks up the fight and convinces Terra II to talk to Geo-Force. Terra II tells Geo-Force she is not his sister, but before that can talk further she is captured by a giant robot. Geo-Force and the Titans later rescue Terra and learn she’s been kidnapped by a Markovian group of scientists looking to duplicate her powers. Geo-Force and Terra II talk, and Geo-Force wants to get to know her, despite the fact she is not his real sister. Geo-Force later visits the first Terra’s grave and tells her he is closer to the new Terra than he ever was with her.
New Titans Annual #11 [1995]: A YEAR ONE tale featuring Arsenal’s Titans team. The Time Trapper reveals Mirage, Deathwing and Terra are all from this timeline. Mirage is a street urchin from Brazil. Terra destroys the Time Trapper’s message before it reveals her origins, and later unearths the original Terra’s coffin to find it empty. Minion adjusts to like on earth. Supergirl recounts how she first met Arsenal and when she was asked to join the team.
The Titans Secret Files #2 [2000]: It’s the debut of Titans LA in an astonishing all-new Special. Whether he wants it or not, Beast Boy finds himself saddled with a new West Coast branch of the Titans. But it may be the new team’s final appearance as well if Fear and Loathing and the madcap Harlequin have their say. First Titans L.A. Titans LA members include Beast Boy, Flamebird, Herald, Bumblebee, Terra, Hero Cruz, and Captain Marvel Jr. In another story, Terra finally finds out exactly who she is…though the truth may not be what she wanted to hear. Geo-Force learns her DNA matches the original Terra! Contains profile pages showcase the new Titans lineup, and new villains – including the Hangmen and Epsilon.
World War III: Hell Is For Heroes [2007]: The Titans – Beast Boy, Raven, Zatara, Offspring, Talon, Young Frankenstein, Hawk & Dove and Terra – confront a rampaging Black Adam in Greece. Black Adam brutally kills both Young Frankenstein and Terra. Death of Terra II.
Terra (mini-series) #3-4 [2008]: The all-new Terra is forced to take the wounded Geo-Force to Strata – the secret underground city where she was born – for medical aid. Once there, she explains her connection to the second Terra, as Geo-Force grants her permission to use the “Terra” name. To preserve the secrets of Strata, however, the Council of Elders are forced to erase Geo-Force’s memories of his time in the underground world. Origin of Terra II and Terra III revealed in issues #3 and 4.

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A convention sketch of Terra II by NEW TITANS artist Kerry Gammill,
who helped to introduce the Team Titans in NEW TITANS #80.

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 Team Titans Series Overview


Team Titans #1 to 24
September 1992 to September 1994

The Future Is Now

The “Titans Hunt” storyline featured the debut of the Team Titans, a group of time-tossed teenagers from a bleak future ruled by Lord Chaos. Introduced in New Titans #79 [1991], this mysterious group of teenagers was tracking Donna Troy in an attempt to kill her. On the last page, the Team Titans membership is revealed: Mirage, Redwing, Nightrider, Killowat and – inexplicably –Terra! This last page shocker was followed up in New Titans Annual #7, where the alternate future world of the Team Titans was established. Given orders by a mysterious leader, The Team Titans were sent back in time to eliminate Donna Troy before she could give birth to her son, who will turn out to be Lord Chaos. The Teamers’ arrival in the present is detailed in New Titans #80.

When the Team Titans were created for the 1991 New Titans Annual, writer Marv Wolfman said he had no idea that the group would get their own title. Editor Jonathan Peterson suggested that the annual feature Nightwing leading a Titans group in the future. “I didn’t just want to have him lead a group fighting Monarch, and I realized it would be more exciting to develop a parallel story,” recalled Wolfman. “Rarely can you come up with many characters all at once that work, but in this case, all the characters and their origins jelled quickly. It was very much like when I did the original Teen Titans group. They came one right after another. The Team Titans were all designed by [artist] Tom Grummett, and we realized we had more than an annual story. There was immediate interest at DC, because the characters worked. So, we figured out a way to bring these characters back into our present.”

The Team (then Teen) Titans, from DC’s Who’s Who Series.

The Team Titans continued to track Donna Troy in New Titans #85-89 [1992], as Terra II made herself known to Changeling, while Mirage made her own plans to win the heart of Nightwing. As Donna’s pregnancy accelerated, it led into a final three-way conflict with the Team Titans, New Titans and Lord Chaos. Team Titans #1-3 featured a crossover with New Titans #90-92 andDeathstroke #14-16 entitled “Total Chaos.” The Team Titans first clashed and then teamed up with the Titans to ultimately defeat Lord Chaos.

Team Titans was written by Marv Wolfman and #1-3 featured art by Kevin Maguire. Later, Phil Jimenez became the title’s artist with issue #7. Wolfman left the series with issue #12.

Wolfman later reflected on his Team Titans tenure in a titanstower.com interview: ” Jonathan Peterson asked me to do a one-shot annual featuring these alternate universe characters. I came up with them for a one-shot only and somehow they get put into their own book. Had I known that was going to happen I would have spent a lot more time working on them so they could sustain a book. I never thought they should be their own title as they were a one-note concept. The Team Titans title was not one of my favorites. I did like the individual members, though, and I really liked what I did with their origin stories. It’s just the book itself never should have been published.”

Kevin Maguire’s Team Titans, from DC’s Who’s Who Series.

X-Force-Fitting The Team Titans

Jeff Jensen and Phil Jimenez co-wrote the Team Titans starting with #13 until its cancellation with #24 in 1994. The last few issues of the book featured art by Terry Dodson.

The series seemed to be conceived as an answer to Marvel’s popular X-Force, with its teenage warriors and tough drill sergeant mentor (Battalion patterned after X-Force’s Cable). The concept never caught on with readers and the book was ultimately canceled. The Team Titans’ fate was revealed in the pages of Zero Hour, where their timeline collapsed, thus erasing all the characters from existence (except Terra, Mirage and Deathwing).

Phil Jimenez later reflected of his Team Titans tenure during an AOL chat: “I signed on to do a particular kind of self-aware, kitschy project while the higher ups wanted the new X-Force – and everything we had planned got screwed up by Zero Hour – none of which were particularly good for the team, DC Comics, or my career. We had originally intended to explore various things with the Team; Mirage’s psycho pregnancy; Killowat’s subtle racism, the possibility that Terra was a lesbian earth elemental. Kole was Marv’s doing, not mine and we had to explain her away. In our original plan, the Team Titans were from an alternate time line and Terra was that time line’s Earth elemental and she was going to be a lesbian.”

Jimenez continued, “Mirage was going to go nuts during her pregnancy, and try to shape change it out of existence and it would be invulnerable to that, and she’d eventually kill herself. Mirage was never a favorite. But I found the drama of her after-rape period ripe with possibilities.”

“We were going to explore the Joker’s Daughter angle,” Jimenez noted, “We were going to find out that the Joker’s Daughter was insane – that her memories of the Titans (now non-continuity) were just ravings in her head. She was going to steal the Time Commander’s hourglass and reshape Manhattan into the island that she remembered, recreating a 70′s world of heroes, villains, and icons that the Titans would find themselves in.”

The Team Titans by Phil Jimenez, from DC Cosmic Card Set.

Alternate Futures

The Team Titans seemed full of possibilities – and missed opportunities. Kole returned in the pages of Team Titans only to mysteriously disappear. Phil Jimenez’s plans for the book were contrary to DC’s vision. The Joker’s Daughter appeared in issue #13 – and was never seen again. And then there’s the Team Titans leader…

The idea of Monarch as the leader of the Team Titans seemed like a last minute Zero Hour shuffle – and it was. Phil Jimenez revealed as much, “We were told to write that this second Kole, as well as nearly every other character we introduced in Team Titans, was a creation of Extant/Monarch, in order to lead the Titans down the path they would need to be super-powered assassins. So Kole was nothing more than an Extant-created construct.”

But who was intended as the original Team Titans leader? It was actually the much-loathed Danny Chase. “That was part of the idea of making Danny Chase tolerable,” editor Jonathan Peterson admitted in a 2005 interview with titanstower.com. “We could make him like John Conner from Terminator 2. He goes from whiny kid to leader of the rebellion.”

Extant’s manipulations of the
Team Titans unfold in ZERO HOUR #2 [1994].

Perhaps the most interesting angle to the Team Titans was editor Jonathan Peterson’s original plan, ” I thought, if Marvel has X-Men and New Mutants, we should do the same, so Marv said, “Okay, so we’ll have a new Teen Titans,” and then Kevin Maguire suggested we alter it, and call it Team Titans. ”

“[...] I wanted to get the Teen Titans back, so I explained my whacked out idea. I really wanted Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Changeling, Raven, Starfire and Cyborg back to what they were originally, so I wanted to do an alternate dimension or timeline, and I turned to Kevin and said “You get to launch an all-new Titans book and design them from the ground up.” Not only that, but this alternate universe would have an alternate young Robin, and alternate young Starfire and all the rest. The plan for Team Titans was a secret one. With the first Team Titans Annual, or at the end of the first 12 issues, I told Kevin he would then be re-launching the Teen Titans with alternate versions of the core-seven members.”

“My plan there was to have those members slowly grow in those twelve issues. They would grow or move on or be phased out. That would lead into the first Annual. That Annual would introduce our alternate [universe], younger Teen Titans. The book would change it’s title to Teen Titans and feature the alternate, younger versions of those core-seven Titans. That was the plan.”

Short List of Notable Appearances

Team Titans #1-24
Team Titans Annual #1-2
New Titans #79-80, 85-92
New Titans Annual #7
Deathstroke #14-16
Zero Hour #0-4

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A 2004 convention sketch of Terra II by TEAM TITANS artist, Phil Jimenez.

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 New Titans At Zero Hour


The Titans: Beyond Zero Hour
[from Wizard Press Presents: Beyond Zero Hour]

“The Titans have had a series of problems in the past year,” says Titans writer Marv Wolfman. ‘They lost a number of members. They were sued by the government and people generally hated them. Finally, their leader Dick Grayson – Nightwing – left them.”

Left in such disarray, the road to rebirth has been a long one. “Even before Zero Hour, Ray Harper, once known as Speedy and more recently known as Arsenal, was approached by Checkmate’s leader, Sarge Steel, to align the Titans with the government,” Wolfman says. “It seems that the JLA has broken ties with the government and Checkmate wanted a new superhero team to replace them. After going over the problems and being assured [his team] will have complete autonomy, Roy agreed to sign with Checkmate.

“Trouble is, he had no members to go with him. On his own and with Sarge Steel, new members are found recruited and a brand new Titans is formed.”

Wolfman reports that this new group will have a slightly different focus than past Titans teams. “Long ago, when the Titans were first created, the team featured already-existent heroes. In many ways we are going back to that original premise,” be maintains. “Arsenal leads a group consisting of Damage, Green Lantern and Impulse, characters who either have their own titles, or in Impulse’s case, is featured in Flash. Also in the New Titans are Mirage and Terra from the now-defunct Team Titans. Finally, rounding out the title is Donna Troy, now a Darkstar. So we’re bringing in characters from other books as well as several already-known Titans.

“Interestingly, all the heroes mentioned are in one way or another orphans whose past lives are shrouded in mystery,” he continues. “Where the last Titans team came together to fight Raven’s demonical father, Trigon, the new team comes and stays together because they are all in a similar situation. The Titans is a place for these people to get together, to find themselves, to be with others like themselves. They are not coming together to fight some great battle, but to understand themselves and to grow. This common need will allow them to become close and eventually became friends.

“So the role of the New Titans is a club for the young DC heroes, a way of getting together with their peers, a place where they can he with their own kind and learn from each other as they grow.”

Of course, no new team can be formed without problems. “For the present, Roy Harper is in charge of the Titans. Dick Grayson is off with Batman doing whatever he’s doing. But Dick will want to return,” reveals Wolfman. “When he does, he will find a group that doesn’t necessarily want him as their leader. They are quite happy with the one they have, thank you. What will Dick do? Will he try to take over? Will he form another group of Titans? Who will stay with Arsenal and who will go?

“The book has gone under a lot of changes in the past few years, but all were evolutionary,” Wolfman says. “Heroes died, new heroes replaced them, tempers flared and, because they were young, mistakes were often made. That is the way life is. But now we begin with a new group. A revolution, so to speak. New heroes, all with their own lives, hopes and desires. This allows us to create a very different kind of Titans book.”

ABOVE: The New Titans play wargames in NEW TITANS #126 [1995].
BELOW: New Titans at Zero Hour, by Bill Walko.

Marv Wolfman: New Titans, New Faces And The End Of An Era
[An interview from The Titans Companion, 2005]

TTC: What brought about the shake-up in the line-up where new characters like Green Lantern and Supergirl joined and the older members left the group?

MW: This was the decision of an editor whose name I will never mention. It’s the only editor that I would say that about. Even if I disagreed with the others, they were all good guys, and sometimes their ideas were great, sometimes not as great. Sometimes mine were great, sometimes mine weren’t so great, either. In this case, every decision was incorrect, was stupid. He was in charge of plotting. He wouldn’t let me plot a story. When I tried to take my name off it and asked for my name to be off it, he wouldn’t do that, which is what finally prompted me to quit. I hated working with the editor to such a degree that I couldn’t take it anymore, and I finally decided that as much as I loved the characters, I hated the book. I hated the concepts, I hated the plots that I was being given, and my hate factor was larger than my desire to keep it going. [laughs]

TTC: How much say did you have in who the new members would be?

MW: None. I was given the lineup.

TTC: So did you have to start reading books like Impulse and Damage to find out who these guys were?

MW: Yeah. Impulse, I knew who he was to some degree, because occasionally I’d read the Flash and Mark Waid’s stuff was good. Damage I did not know at all, and I thought it was a stupid grouping of characters because there was no logical reason for those characters to be together.

TTC: How hard was it to write someone else’s plots?

MW: Oh, it was impossible. I hated every minute of it, and, as I say, it suddenly hit me that I had stayed on the Titans to help protect the characters that I had created with George, and suddenly I was on a book that was only the Titans in name. That’s when I suddenly realized, “Wait, I’m no longer on a title I need to protect. Let somebody else do it,” and I quit.

I asked at a DC Christmas party if I could get off and go on to something else, mainly Night Force – the first revival of Night Force – and they asked me to stay on four more issues. I said, “I can’t,” and they said, “We’ll bring in another editor for the four issues,” and I went, “Okay, as long as I can wrap up the storyline without much interference, and try to bring it back to some sort of a status quo.”

TTC: Did you get to do everything that you wanted to do in your last storyline?

MW: No, because I could not use Nightwing. I was told I would not be allowed to use him, and to me that was a disaster, but at least I was able to get most of the other characters back. It was a far more complex story than it needed to be, but the attitudes between the characters came about. I didn’t have a chance to bring back Raven’s body, which I had wanted to do, but I got the group caring about each other again. I got them to be a family again, and that’s all I cared about. What the exact plot was was still not that important to me in this particular case. I think it was a fine plot, I just don’t remember it that much. But I got the characters to be a family again, and that’s all I was really concerned about.

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A convention sketch of Terra II by TEAM TITANS artist, Terry Dodson.

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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