The End Of An Era: When Teen Titans’ History Was Obliterated And No One Noticed
“If a continuity tree falls in the multi-verse and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
While everyone was concerned with the recent announcement that Tim Drake was always “Red Robin”, never just “Robin,” a larger announcement seems to have escaped everyone’s notice. That is, the confirmation that the Teen Titans did not exist in the DCnU until just recently – effectively wiping out the team’s history as we know it since its 1965 inception.
From the San Diego 2012 Comic-Con Young Justice Panel Report: “The issue of how the classic Nightwing/Starfire/Cyborg Titans could exist if Red Robin’s team is the first, [Teen Titans writer Scott] Lobdell said that in his mind, those young teens hung out but never formally formed a Teen Titans team. He admitted this slightly contradicts what he said at the panel last year in San Diego, but plans for the series and how its mythology worked changed in the past year.”
When DC announced their bold “New 52” initiative, many fans were concerned over the implications of de-aging the iconic heroes and creating a compressed “5 year timeline” – from Superman’s debut to present day. This was especially problematic for youthful characters all co-existing in the revamped DC Universe, including four Robins (Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake and Damian Wayne). So, where would the Teen Titans fit in all this?
Contradicting stories emerged from San Diego Comic-Con 2011, putting the team’s history into question and raising major continuity issues.
According to Comic-Con reports in 2011, DC Comics Publisher Dan Didio told fans that the Wolfman/Pérez era would be “wiped out” and “eventually be gone.”
In contrast, Scott Lobdel confirmed that the DCnU Teen Titans wouldn’t be “first time” a Teen Titans has appeared: “Q: With Starfire in the Red Hood series and no Donna Troy, did that Teen Titans team ever come together?” Lobdell “There are groups in the mythology that were called the Teen Titans before.”
But alas, that seems negated by the evolution of the DCnU since the September relaunch. It looks like Didio’s version of the New 52 has come to pass, since Terra’s debut as a would-be Ravager eliminates the classic “Judas Contract” storyline, while the revised histories of Cyborg and Starfire seem to leave little room for Titans membership somewhere along the line. Lobdell’s recent comments only seal the deal – confirming Didio’s answer from exactly one year ago.
This change is massive for Titans history. The original Crisis on Infinite Earths preserved much of the Titans’ rich tapestry, altering mostly secondary Titans like Flamebird and Joker’s Daughter. The most “major” changes concerned Donna Troy’s origin and the new wrinkle in which Dick Grayson’s retirement as Robin was more acrimonious. I suppose the smaller changes can be attributed to the massive popularity of the series at the time… Why would DC mess with success?
But with the DCnU, I’m surprised this latest news hasn’t been reported or analyzed. Fans were dismayed at the changes to “Red Robin,” which are fairly cosmetic and in line with the “modernizing” remit of the New 52. The wiping away of Titans history – from the original Fab Five to the Wolfman/Pérez New Teen Titans to the Johns/McKone Teen Titans – has a domino effect on all the characters involved.
For many of those characters, their coming-of-age stories happened in the context of the Teen Titans (Nightwing, Beast Boy, Raven, Cyborg) – often propelled by the confidence and friendship brought about by the team (Superboy, Starfire, Arsenal). This not only wipes away half the character histories in one fell swoop, it also fundamentally changes who these characters are, especially in relation to each other. Indeed, may of them were “born” within the context of the Teen Titans (Jericho, Rose Wilson, Kole, Lilith Clay, Bumblebee and many others).
Lobdell seems willing to keep the door cracked open, with the statement “those young teens hung out….” But honestly, when you start removing their origin stories, Deathstroke’s ties to the team, “The Judas Contract”, the “Terror of Trigon”, “Titans Hunt,” the entirety of Young Justice, and so on… what’s really left other than a slight semblance of camaraderie?
Goodbye, dear Titans. You’ll be missed.
Hello, DCnU Titans… You’ve got big continuity shoes to fill.
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