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Terra III

Alias: Atlee

Teen Titans Ally

Related Links:  Terra I Terra II Geo-Force

Terra III Quick Bio: Born in the underground world of Strata, young Atlee possessed earth-manipulating abilities unique to her people. Destined to protect Strata’s future, optimistic Atlee journeyed to the surface to defend the earth as Terra.

Teen Titans File Photos:



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 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 and given false memories as a future freedom-fighter, in an elaborate scheme to preserve the timestream. The time-tossed terraformer eventually joined the Team Titans, and later, the Titans. But the presence of the original Terra’s DNA caused “Terra II” to believe she was the original Titans’ traitor. Before she could resolve her identity crisis, she died a hero while battling Black Adam during his worldwide rampage.

Atlee bonds with her father in TERRA (mini-series) #3 [2008].

The Third Terra

It was at the second Terra’s death that a new Stratan female was called to become its protector. A bright young girl named Atlee accepted the responsibility, and ventured to the surface world to become its staunch defender. On her first mission, Atlee met Supergirl and helped her defeat an emotion-manipulating monster. When the press witnessed a young, female geo-morph, they quickly assumed she was the Teen Titans’ Terra.

Atlee continued to battle dangers across the globe in an effort to become earth’s greatest protector. When a mystical creature known as Deathcoil threatened Markovia with his undead army, Atlee fought the evil creature and freed a possessed Geo-Force. Atlee was then forced to take the wounded Geo-Force to Strata for medical aid. Once there, she explained her connection to the second Terra, as Geo-Force granted her permission to use the “Terra” name. To preserve the secrets of Strata, however, the Council of Elders was forced to erase Geo-Force’s memories of his time in the underground world.

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

After that adventure, Atlee has made greater attempts to embrace the culture of the surface world. She has befriended Power Girl and has aided the Titans several times. Most notably, Terra helped liberate a group of super-powered teenagers from the Clock King’s underground fight club. On a more personal note, she’s even tried sushi and is considering adopting a “secret identity” of her own.

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.


Essential Reading

Supergirl #12 [2007]: The story 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. This issue will serve as a lead-in to the upcoming TERRA miniseries. First appearance of Terra III.
Terra (mini-series) #1-4 [2008]: The all-new Terra befriends Power Girl while battling Pyrite and the Lavarians. Her next adventure leads her to Markovia, where the mystical threat known as Deathcoil has possessed Geo-Force. 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 is 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.
Terror Titans (mini-series) #1-6: Terra is forced to battle in Clock King’s secret underground fight club. She frees herself to aid Ravager and the other captured teens overthrow Clock King and his Terror Titans, effectively dismantling the Dark Side Club.


 Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray on Terra

By Chris Arrant
courtesy of – posted: 2008-09-16

The name ‘Terra’ has a lot of history in DC Comics lore, tied in especially with the Teen Titans corner of the world. Shortly after the death of the previous Terra in 52’s World War III storyline, a new woman carrying the moniker appeared in Supergirl #12. But this new raven-haired earth mover shared no connection to the previous Terra, but hints have been dropped that say that may not be true.

Most recently the new Terra appeared in the “The Titans of Tomorrow, Today!” storyline in Teen Titans #52-54, and now the long-awaited solo miniseries reaches fruition this fall. This four-issue series runs bi-weekly during the months of November and December, and is headed up by writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray along with long-time collaborators, artist Amanda Conner and colorist Paul Mounts.

The solicits promise both an origin and a new adventure, facing up against new threats and familiar faces such as Power Girl, Doctor Mid-Nite and Geo-Force. The solicits also dropped some things that we don’t know much about yet – what is ‘the secret of Strata’? Who is the Astronaut God?

There are a lot of questions that need answering, and although some of those must wait until the release of the book itself, we can pin down Palmiotti and Gray to get up to speed in preparation for November.

Newsarama: So gents, let’s get right to it… What can we look forward to with the new Terra miniseries?

Justin Gray: A lot of dirt, rocks and soil.

NRAMA: What?

JG: Okay I’m sure smart assed answers aren’t going to rate very well with fans of the previous Terra who was so unceremoniously killed in World War Three. The same Terra who was the victim of statutory rape, well mister, I can tell you this Terra will not be skeezing on some old man super villain. What they will get is a genuine, heartfelt heroine fighting for the planet against some odd villains with special guest stars like Power Girl and Doc Mid-Nite.

Jimmy Palmiotti: What you also get is a beautifully drawn mini series that totally establishes a new character and a decent amount of past history to catch anyone that doesn’t know the history of the ‘Terra’ name.

NRAMA: Justin brought up the previous holders of the Terra name. So how does this new one tie into those?

JG: That’s a secret origin kind of question that will be answered in the pages of this miniseries. I just hope people have an open mind and can recognize how difficult it is to keep what came before and yet find a way to make something new work within those confines.

JP: terra ties into everything presented to date that has the name terra on it…its what we set out to do…create a back story that explains a lot of what happened behind the scenes, the what and why and especially the who of these characters.

NRAMA: Ok. In the solicits there’s talk of a new villian from under the Earth’s surface called Pyrite, with something called Lavarians. What can you tell us about these sinister subterraneans?

JG: We introduce a number of new threats related to Terra in keeping with the themes we’ve established for her. It is important for heroes to have distinct villains and we couldn’t see jumping directly into preexisting Titans villains for this. The idea is to set her up as a viable character for DC to use as they see fit.

JP: Also having an established villain just come out of nowhere and consider terra a threat was not the way we wanted to go here. I agree its important when telling a new story to create not only new characters but in this case create a new world and then sprinkle the old favorites in to ground the character somewhat. These four issues are a nice balancing act.

NRAMA: The new Terra debuted in Supergirl #12, and has recently shown up in Teen Titans #52-54. How do those lead into this miniseries, and do people need to read those to get the full picture?

JG: Those appearances are post creation for us, we saw opportunities to slowly work Terra into the DCU, keeping her on the edges of everything before releasing this book. Sean emailed me for information about Terra so that he could use her properly in the context of what we’ve done in this book. You have to respect when another writer reaches out to you regarding a character without just doing his or her own thing regardless of the work you do on a project. What we wanted to do was present a story that you could come in cold and read. There’s no requirement to read the Supergirl or Titans issues to understand this story.

NRAMA: The series hasn’t even debuted yet, but people are wondering what her origin is. Will this miniseries shed any light on that?

JG: Yes, but probably not in any way that fans are expecting. There needed to be a connection and yet a clear separation between this Terra and Tara Markov. Most of all we have a heroine that cares about the world around her, she cares about her role in having powers to help people. Unlike the other incarnations of Terra this one knows her secret identity.

JP: the mini series is an introduction to the character and tells her complete story and the 4 issues tell a complete story as well.

NRAMA: You mentioned some special appearances by Power Girl and Doctor Mid-Nite. How do they fit into the puzzle?

JP: Power Girl and Terra have a lot in common both being new to their surroundings somewhat and at this point, Power Girl is the only real girlfriend Terra has. Power Girl is all over the mini series and it really works.

JG: Exactly, there is a parallel between them that we wanted to explore. Plus Power Girl is awesome.

JP: yeah, we love her…so much we are going to write a monthly title about her. Nice, eh?

NRAMA: The Terra miniseries was originally announced about two years ago, so call me antsy or impatient but why the delay?

JP: A lot of changes at DC, more changes at DC story wise, reworking of scripts to reflect some of the changes and the biggest thing, DC feeling the need to announce this too much in advance, which didn’t help us at all, but we understood why at the time. It was out of excitement and we can’t get down on them for having that going on. What is exciting is that they decided to double ship the series in November and December and give the fans a break and not have them wait so long between issues. I think that a pretty cool way to launch it and hopefully the retailers and fans enjoy it as well.

JG: It is all a question of timing. There were plans in place to have Terra appear earlier but as they say…shit happens.

NRAMA: Before we go, let’s talk about the character’s creation. In an earlier interview, you mentioned that this Terra originally started out as a wholly new and original character. Can you tell us how Terra became what she is now?

JG: The ideology is still the same, a selfless hero, someone that stands in opposition of the grim and gritty…God someone kill that phrase already…the point is we wanted someone that didn’t whine about being special, someone that actually embraced her role as a champion.

JP: the idea was a fun upbeat superhero character that wanted to be a hero. Wanted to save the day. Her motivations are extremely clear and with the art of Amanda Conner and the color work of Paul Mounts, we knew were had the right combination of creators to pull this off.


 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 “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! ( 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:

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