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Who Are The Terror Titans?

Sean McKeever Talks Terror Titans
by Vaneta Rogers
courtesy of http://forum.newsarama.com – 01-23-2008


It’s the calm after the storm – or so they think. As today’s issue #55 of Teen Titans demonstrates, the team needs a little time to regroup after emerging from the trenches of a raging battle.

But not for long.

As writer Sean McKeever told us, the Teen Titans are facing a new threat in the upcoming storyline – a team of teenage legacy villains called the Terror Titans. In a series of issues that will focus on a different team member each month, the Teen Titans will face these new foes head-on as the Terror Titans attack under the leadership of a brand new Clock King.

We talked to the writer to learn more about the mysterious Terror Titans and found out issue #55 is a new beginning for the team – and the writer – in more ways than one.

Newsarama: Well, you’re past your first story arc. Does it feel like you’ve really gotten going as the Teen Titans writer now?

Sean McKeever: Yeah. When I came onto the book, editorial had plans for the big anniversary issue #50, and they also had the idea for me to write a sequel to the Titans of Tomorrow story. I know people throw around the term “editorial mandate” like it’s some great horror, but I was actually really grateful for everything they had in place for me. Titans Tomorrow was a story that I really wanted to revisit, and it was also really nice to have a premise thrown at me that I could dive into, so that while I was working on that, I could think a little more on my long-term plans for the book.

Now, with issue #55, I get to start those plans in earnest. In a sense, this issue is a re-introduction to the team…which is down one member starting on page 1.

NRAMA: We find out right away who is leaving the team in Teen Titans #55.

SM: Issue #55, Page 1 is a big old splash, and yeah… Supergirl is gone.

NRAMA: Why was the decision made to have Supergirl leave the team?

SM: Well, you know, when I started, I was pretty happy with who we had on the team. We had all the iconic teen characters in there, and bringing in Blue Beetle as a regular cast member was a great choice and bringing in Supergirl was a great choice. But after writing this arc and thinking about where I wanted to go with the book, it just made a certain amount of sense for Kara not to be there. It made story sense, and that’s explained pretty well in #55.

NRAMA: And this was your idea and not something handed down from DC?

SM: Correct. As soon as I told Dan [DiDio] about the idea, he was on the same page. He saw how it made sense.

NRAMA: Wait, did you say Blue Beetle was a regular character? Does that mean he’s part of the team?

SM: I said he was part of the book. I did not say he was on the team. On page 1, the page where Supergirl leaves, there’s also a roster with a question mark over Blue Beetle’s face, so issue #55 deals with that in a way that gives you an idea of where things are headed with Blue Beetle.

NRAMA: With the change in characters, is the tone of the comic going to change at all?

SM: Yeah, it will be a little different tonally. The first arc was one big wall-to-wall action story. I tried to infuse as much humanity into it as I could, and that aspect will carry over into issue #55. People who say that a future storyline never actually matters because the future is always fluid, to them I say [blows raspberry and laughs], because really, my whole plan in that first arc was to set up the emotional beats and character growth for this issue and to set the tone… and to give the team a refocused outlook, and move forward from there. And that’s why I’ve said it’s like a new #1.

NRAMA: So you’re treating it like a new #1?

SM: In my mind, yeah, in the sense that I feel this is the issue that people who are interested in Teen Titans but have yet to give it a shot can pick it up here.

NRAMA: You said that they have a new, refocused outlook. Can you tell us anything about what that is?

SM: It’s not so much a new outlook, but more of a focusing of what the Teen Titans are about. It’s more than just being teen superheroes and it’s more than just hanging out on the weekends. There’s a greater civic purpose, and we’ll get into that in issue #55.

NRAMA: What can you tell us about this storyline?

SM: Issue #55 is a prelude for what’s to come. And what’s to come is a new version of Clock King, who is in charge of a new team of teen legacy villains called the Terror Titans. And what follows after issue #55 is the Terror Titans taking it to the Teen Titans.

NRAMA: Can you tell us about Clock King and what his powers are?

SM: I can tell you he’s very smart. He sees things differently than others.

NRAMA: And there’s a reason these Terror Titans want to take down the Teen Titans?

SM: Oh yeah, there’s a reason.

NRAMA: And when you say legacy, what does that mean? They’re teenagers?

SM: These are teen characters who have all taken up the mantles of other supervillains. You’ll see them at the end of issue #56, so maybe I don’t want to give it away. But … eh. [smiles] Let’s go ahead and do it.

RAMA: OK, who are the Terror Titans?

SM: There’s, of course, the Clock King. And then there’s Disrupter; there’s Dreadbolt, who is a teenage version of Bolt, even though Bolt is still around in Salvation Run; and then there’s Persuader with the big old Atomic Axe; and then Copperhead. So that’s the Terror Titans, and they launch a campaign against the Teen Titans for a reason I’m not going to say.

NRAMA: Can you tell us anything about these characters?

SM: Keep reading.

NRAMA: But you say they’re all teens?

SM: Yes, they’re teen villains. I understand the reasoning that a lot of writers have had over the years of having adult villains, with teens rebelling against adults. Like, looking at Spider-Man in the ’60s and ’70s, all of his enemies were adults, playing on anti-authoritarian ideas. Rebel against the older generations and stuff. But I like the idea of every generation having its heroes and its villains.

And this is what we get into in issue #55. It’s really about who steps up, when it’s your generation’s turn to make history. If it’s just the bad eggs stepping up, then we’re going to go to a bad place.

So what I’ve done with the Terror Titans is create a team of bad teenagers using the idea of legacy characters, because I think that’s what is great about DC is the sense of legacy. When these characters die, as much as some people might be upset about that, the character can live on through new iterations.

NRAMA: These legacy Terror Titans — are they nieces or nephews or children of the originals who actually inherited the mantle, like Cyclone or Wally West, or are they like the new Trickster who just took the name but had no relation to the first?

SM: A little bit from column A, a little bit from column B.

NRAMA: OK, let’s talk about your new regular artist, Eddy Barrows. You’re going to have a more standard look for the comic going forward now, aren’t you?

SM: Yeah. We did the artist shuffle there for a few issues. Jamal Igle will be on issue #55, but we’ll have Eddy as the regular guy after that. As with the Titans of Tomorrow issues he did, he’s really bringing his widescreen A-game to this book and really hitting a new level. I’m excited to see what everyone thinks of it.

RAMA: We should probably also look back at the end of issue #54. Some readers were confused about that vision of the future you showed… where Miss Martian and Robin… they were…

SM: Megan and Tim were making smoochies!

Did I just coin the term “making smoochies?”

NRAMA: I don’t know. I prefer the Harry Potter term “snogging.”

SM: Those crazy Brits. But “snogging” sounds so much dirtier than “making smoochies.”

NRAMA: That’s why I like it. But seriously, there was more going on between Megan and Tim than making smoochies…

SM: Yeah. The idea that I wanted to put forth with that epilogue was that this is a future that’s always possible. That no matter what you do, it’s always possible that the world is going to take a dark turn; that your life is going to take a dark turn. So this ending was a potential new wrinkle in the Teen Titans’ future. Miss Martian’s mind has been infected by her future self, which you’ll see more about in issue #55. She potentially is now the centerpiece of the creation of the Titans of Tomorrow along with Tim, who obviously still wants to clone Conner, Bart and others — and, no, I won’t say who those others are. But the idea is that it’s not just Tim now. It’s Tim and Megan together. And the seeds of that romantic possibility were planted back in issue #50.

The other thing that the epilogue says is that all these things the Titans Army did in our present was meant to solidify their fascist future. The glimpse you see in issue #54 of Titans Tower shows that they’re certainly more organized and formidable than any of the previous iterations. The Titans Army made the Teen Titans decide with all their hearts that they don’t want to be future tyrants, but in struggling so hard against the idea, they may be setting themselves up for an even darker turn.

NRAMA: You mentioned before that you kind of inherited the first storyline. Now, with issue #55, is this Sean McKeever’s voice going forward? Is that what you feel like?

SM: Yeah. This is really the tone and the pace of the book that I was setting out to do. Having my first talk about the comic with Dan DiDio, who is the new editor on the book as of the latest issue, I found myself kind of second guessing myself because there isn’t tons of action in the issue. I thought Dan was going to be dead set against that, but he really wasn’t. He was okay with the idea of taking an issue to really focus on the characters and letting that be the groundwork for stuff coming up. And that’s not to say the series now is going to be like the Waiting Place where everyone’s going to be standing around talking. Obviously, they’re a bunch of superheroes, so there will be lots of action. In fact, in Issue #57, it’s Ravager alone in Titans Tower defending it against the Terror Titans. It’s pretty much nothing but action for that issue.

So we take kind of a slow start in issue #55, but I think, after that craziness of Titans East and Amazons Attack and Titans of Tomorrow, the book needed a little down time to explore the characters. And so that’s what we get in issue #55.

NRAMA: Anything else you can tell us about what’s coming up?

SM: Going forward for the next few issues, we’re going to take some time to explore some of the team. Issue #56 focuses on Kid Devil, #57 shows why Ravager is such a cool character, and #58 finally gives us a glimpse into the origins of Miss Martian.

To me, whether they’re fighting or they’re goofing around together or whatever, the book really should be all about the characters. Characters drive the plot. And the plot should move the characters forward. That’s my goal starting with issue #55. I hope current Teen Titans readers enjoy the journey we’re starting with this issue, and I humbly invite those who aren’t reading the series to join in.

 


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