Teen Titans (Comic Book)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The most famous team of teenage Super Heroes in The DCU (but not the first). Often referred to as a "Justice Little League," though more often as a "Junior Justice League."

The original series began back in the Silver Age, with a one-shot story in The Brave and the Bold #54 (July, 1964), where three Sidekicks, Robin, Aqualad, and Kid Flash, teamed up. The issue sold notably well, and, after a few more tryouts and the addition of Wonder Girl (despite her actually being the original Wonder Woman as a girl, and not a contemporary sidekick) and Speedy, became an ongoing series.

The book depended heavily on Totally Radical, with Fad Super villains like the Mad Mod and Ding Dong Daddy and hamfisted attempts to address the issues of the day. Nevertheless, it was lighthearted and fun. Eventually, though, it was cancelled in 1973, brought back in 1976, and re-cancelled in 1978. Altogether 53 issues were published.

In the Bronze Age, the series returned as The New Teen Titans, launched in 1980. Written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by George Perez, this version of the series was the most successful and the most iconic (as well as being the version the animated series is most based on). It brought back Robin, Wonder Girl, and Kid Flash, and teamed them up with new characters Cyborg, Raven, and Starfire, along with previously-established character Beast Boy, now renamed Changeling.

The series moved into Darker and Edgier territory, and was a trendsetter in that respect; for instance, an early storyline involved them going up against "Deathstroke the Terminator", a paid assassin, and being infiltrated by the not-so-innocent Terra. It was heavily character-based, with lots of conflict, romance, and soul-searching (that occasionally slipped into Wangst).

This version was not only popular, but often considered DC's number one title at the time, a rival to the X-Men (which they eventually crossed over with), and a major definer of the tropes that came to be recognized as comics' Bronze Age. However, writer fatigue and removal of the book from newsstands to prop up DC Comics' direct market line of books led to it collapsing into boredom and fan apathy. The arrival of a new editor inspired Wolfman to shake up the book, using a subplot involving the mysterious "Wildebeest Society" that went on way too long and didn't have a very good ending. Fan favorite villain Deathstroke became a good guy, half the roster was slaughtered/turned evil/depowered, popular villain Terra was brought back (as a genetically altered underground dweller who was oblivious to her counterpart's evil history); none of which really helped the book and ultimately led to the Batman editors having their big chance to take back Nightwing from the Titans (Wolfman had the sole rights to him since 1980), to the horror of fans of the book.

Ultimately the book was cancelled, but within a year was relaunched, consisting of an aged-down Atom and a bunch of new characters, but it wasn't very successful (to the point where poor Risk became C-List Fodder to the extreme with the morbid running gag of losing limbs to Superboy-Prime). And let's not even talk about Team Titans, a group of future-sent teens.

At this point, the idea of the Teen Titans split two ways. A late 90s series just called Titans lasted quite a while (and featured most of the original team and the 1980s successful team, plus a few new characters), but was never a big seller, and eventually delved into some truly horrific storytelling by Jay Faerber (the "Jesse Quick sleeps with her mother's fiancee" storyline). The other idea took the original idea of a band of teenage heroes and sidekicks, and became Young Justice. The former tended even more toward the soul-searching of New Teen Titans, while the latter went through mostly lighthearted adventures and character-based comedy.

About this time, the Teen Titans animated series premiered. After it became popular, the Powers That Be decided they wanted a Teen Titans comic that resembled the show. Thus, both Titans and Young Justice were cancelled, and the more marketable characters from the latter were brought together with the more nostalgic characters from the former in the miniseries Graduation Day, which led into a relaunch of Teen Titans written by fan favorite Geoff Johns.

This series was reasonably popular, but involved several changes in characterization which annoyed long-time fans. For instance, the Fun Personified character, Impulse, was shot in the kneecap (with ADD curing bullets, as many disgruntled fans have quipped) and suddenly became Kid Flash, a more intelligent and serious character than before (although he did retain some of the humor that made him popular in the first place), and the modern version of Superboy was retconned into having Lex Luthor's DNA and worrying about turning evil because of it. Meanwhile, the Tomboy Cassie Sandsmark was stripped of her original personality and made The Chick, only to soon be turned into a raging bitch while the book itself bent over backwards trying to present her as a "perfect" leader and as pure as the original Wonder Girl. Generally, the ex-Young Justice characters were on the receiving end of this, being made Darker and Edgier as an attempt to invoke the New Teen Titans days.

Recently, the series has been revamped again, introducing new Legacy Characters (such as Sailor Moon-esque Miss Martian), and attempting to be both Lighter and Softer (for example, bringing Wendy and Marvin from Superfriends into the DCU) and Darker and Edgier, killing off even more characters (such as the aforementioned Wendy and Marvin, at the hands of a murderous devil dog version of Wonder Dog, no less). Such gore-filled editorial mandates led to writer Sean McKeever to quit the book in protest, and things have spiraled still further down the drain, to such an extent that DC has reunited the 80s New Teen Titans into their own book "Titans" (again) to offshoot the sucking of the main book. Alas, "Titans" somehow managed to suck even more, and, after two years of dismal and declining sales, the various team members have been 'graduated' to the Justice Leage, 'demoted' to the Teen Titans or, in at least one case, been the unfortunate and unwilling recipient of a Dethroning Moment of Suck. "Titans" was now about a Deathstroke-lead team of villains, while the simultaneous run on "Teen Titans", by comic newcomer Felicia Henderson, had few champions, even amongst the most rabid fans.

Around the start of 2011, J.T. Krul took over writing the main book, with fan-favorite Nicola Scott on art, and so far, their run has been fairly well-received. Both Titan books were cancelled in August; these were replaced in September with a single book, written by Scott Lobdell and drawn by Brett Booth, as part of DC's New 52 relaunch. The starting line-up consists of Red Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, and Solstice, along with with two new characters, Skitter and Bunker. Superboy starts out as an enemy under control of N.O.W.H.E.R.E., an organization devoted to capturing, controlling, or killing young metahumans. He eventually joins the Titans after they save him from dying at the hands of his creators. This leads into The Culling, a crossover with Legion Lost, during which both groups face off against N.O.W.H.E.R.E.

Notably, nearly every single run since the 1990s has been an attempt to copy the success of the 1980s version, and every single one has eventually fizzled out thanks to a combination of bad writing and Executive Meddling.

This page has a character sheet.

Tropes used in Teen Titans (Comic Book) include:
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Kid Devil, aka Eddie Bloomberg.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Beast Boy and Robin.
  • Anyone Can Die: The Titans seem to have a higher rate of mortality than other super teams. Even former Titans are prone to dying. No wonder the Titans memorial hall is so crowded.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: After Mia Dearden reveals to the team her Dark and Troubled Past, where she contracted HIV from her days as a teenage prostitute, the others start telling of their own secret worries; Beast Boy is worried his "condition" could infect others and eventually turn him into a monster. Raven can't help but feed on emotions whilst everyone else sleeps. And Cassie is scared that Ares may be turning her into a weapon of war... Then Bart comes in with his own secret:

Kid Flash: I gotta secret, too. I ran out of clean underwear yesterday, so I stole some of Beast Boy's.
Beast Boy: You what?!

  • Ascended Fanboy: Kid Devil once he became a Titan.
    • Static was also a comic book fanboy prior to becoming a superhero. When Miss Martian first met Static and invited him to Titans Tower, he was awestruck and claimed to be a "big fan" of the team.
  • Ax Crazy: Ravager (though she got better).
    • She's back to her former ways as of the reboot, though not working with her father.
  • Badass Normal: Each Robin and Speedy to join the team falls under this.
  • Boobs of Steel: Starfire.
    • Bombshell, literally.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Virtually every Teen Titan has succumbed to this trope at least once
  • Canon Discontinuity: Several beloved Titan stories (Who is Donna Troy?, The origin of Lilith) were rendered null and void by Crisis on Infinite Earths..
    • Judd Winick threw out all of Geoff John's work to redeem Jericho and bring him back to life.
    • The post-Flashpoint completely erased the Teen Titans from history, per the latest from New York Comic-Con.
  • Carnival of Killers: Chesire debuted as part of one.
  • Cartwright Curse: Starfire's relationships, and all three of her weddings, have ended disastrously.
  • Catgirl: The late Pantha
  • Cerebus Syndrome: ...and back. The 1980s were the good kind of "Angst-ridden super-heroes", so much that they (along with the X-Men) pretty much defined the trope for comic books, but even that got bad after a point. Various other runs have fallen into this as well.
  • C-List Fodder: It's a comic series made up mostly of teenage characters, many of them forgettable. They may as well have bullseyes on their heads. Pantha, Baby Wildebeest and Bushido were casually murdered by Superboy-Prime in one page of Infinite Crisis, and Risk got his arm ripped off (which later became a running gag). Their "Hall of the Dead" is now ridiculously huge, featuring Kole, Aquagirl I, the aforementioned trio, Kid Devil and half a dozen others.
  • Continuity Snarl: Donna Troy's origin (and Donna herself) is the most well-known of these. The short version is that she used to be Wonder Woman's sister growing up after being adopted by the Amazons, and later became a super-hero. The Crisis on Infinite Earths converted her to actually debuting first (on a team full of sidekicks) because George Perez wanted to have a "rookie" Wonder Woman in the new continuity.
  • Cousin Oliver: Danny Chase
  • Cute Mute: Jericho. He had his throat slashed as a child, and thus was mute for his entire tenure on the team. Arist George Perez created the character solely to flex his artistry chops, and outright forbade writer Marv Wolfman from ever giving the character thought bubbles, meaning everything about Jericho had to be portrayed through his facial expressions and body language. Amazingly, Jericho became a rather successful Casanova in-universe despite his communication handicap.
  • The Cutie: Miss Martian
  • Dark Action Girl: Rose Wilson became this when she took on the Ravager name. Later, former traitor Bombshell would fill this spot on the team.
  • Darker and Edgier: The title has swung this way a lot from time to time.
    • This happened to Kid Devil when he joined the series. He was originally a much goofier sidekick that used high tech devil pajamas and originated from the Blue Devil series, known for its very fun tone. Between then and his time as a Titan, he made a deal with Neron to become a real devil, and a lot of angst came with it when things didn't turn out they way he liked. It is slightly averted in his case, as Eddie's personality didn't change much, just his appearance and situation.
  • Dating Catwoman: Speedy and Cheshire, Changeling and Terra
  • Deal with the Devil: Kid Devil
  • Did Not Do the Research: The major complaint against Felicia Henderson's work on Teen Titans. She gives a unique interpretation of the characters that just aren't consistent with the portrayal of their personality in past issues.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Miss Martian (for Martian Manhunter) and Bombshell (for Captain Atom)
  • Dragon Lady: Cheshire
  • Eighties Hair: Starfire, oh so much.
  • Emotionless Girl: Raven, though later writers have tried to emulate her animated counterpart's surly Deadpan Snarker personality.
  • Executive Meddling: Arguably one of the worst victims in comics for some reason, despite only being a huge seller in one era. Virtually every single writer has come off the book complaining about this in some way, to the point where it's obviously not just making excuses as to why their runs sucked (most of the time, anyways). The short list:
    • Team Titans, a team of future-borne characters with horrifyingly "90s" stereotypes.
    • The removal of Nightwing from the book and all portrayals of Nightwing and Tim Drake in Titan comics since the 90s. The "Arsenal-led" team was explicitly forbidden to use Dick and Donna as key members.
    • Devin Grayson was forced to use Argent from the "Atom" team, as well as Damage from the "Arsenal" one. She also had to temporarily switch Wally West with a future Flash when his own book underwent a change.
    • Jay Faerber complained that he was forced to include a new team of teenage super-powered kids into the book because the editors wanted to shift the book over to a new, young cast. Eventually they kind of forgot about it as sales dwindled, so the suddenly-introduced kids got phased out at light speed.
    • It's speculated that Sean Mc Keever left the book because of this, specifically the recent death of Kid Devil, one of his favorite characters. This was, according to Dan Didio, done so as the establish the new "death = for realz" policy after Blackest Night, but since he specifically pointed out Kid Devil, it's pretty safe to assume Didio simply doesn't like that character.
      • Confirmed. He tactfully calls it "creative differences".
    • Word has it that Geoff Johns' run had this as well, hence the changes in Bart Allen and Deathstroke.
      • As a whole, it seems that ever since the '90s Titans, executives have been either meddling too much or not enough. Winick's "Titans" is a rarer case of the latter.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: According to Starfire, Tamaranians don't place much value in clothes (they see nothing inherently unchaste about nudity and they're pretty much Flying Bricks anyway). This is largely her justification for being both an Innocent Fanservice Girl and Ms. Fanservice.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Ravager
  • Face Heel Turn: Averted with Terra, who was really bad all along, and acted like it. But other Titans have played this straight, in a trope that's used quite a lot for the series
  • Fad Super: As mentioned above, Mad Mod and Ding Dong Daddy are prime examples.
  • Fan Service: To an insane degree. Though notably, both Wolfman and Perez gave a bit of equal ground -- Dick Grayson was Mr. Fanservice personified, and Deathstroke was set up as a "sexy older gentleman" type, and the female fans of the book reciprocated alongside the males drooling over Starfire and Wonder Girl.
    • The Animesque cartoon series made Raven into the resident fanservice girl, complete with big breasts, a skimpy costume and getting her clothes ripped off. Which is a complete 180 from her original interpretation as a small-chested, demure girl who didn't really get normal people. To make your head spin even more, they made Starfire small-chested. Yes, "Miss Balloon Bod" Starfire.
  • Finger-Licking Poison: In "The Judas Contract", Deathstroke captures Gar 'Changeling' Logan by drugging the gum in the envelopes Gar is using to respond to his fan mail.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: Raven goes evil because of her demonic heritage, the team fights a group of evil Titans...
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Young Frankenstein
  • Give the Villain a Hero's Funeral: Happens during The Judas Contract arc. After Terra dies attempting to bury the Titans in rubble and they deliver her employer-lover Slade Wilson to the cops, they all agree that it's in their best interest that no one knows Terra joined the team specifically to betray them to H.I.V.E. and was pure evil. They give her a Titans funeral with honors. While Raven and Robin conclude that Terra was evil from the start and remain solemn, Beast Boy is in denial, and spends the funeral sobbing over the girl he loved. This has repercussions in a later arc where a villain in the future tries to replicate the exact same plot.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Miss Martian in her Green Martian form, though perhaps a much cuter take.
    • As stated previously: Starfire, in the comics. There is a reason Starfire was called "balloon bod" by Terra I. She basically defines Most Common Superpower, Ms. Fanservice, Stripperific and (due to her Lightning Bruiser status) Boobs of Steel. At the very least, she's as fanservice-intensive as, say, Power Girl (if marginally "smaller"). In the comics. In the cartoon, not so much.
      • Pérez actually stated that her character was meant to exude sexuality.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Raven
  • Hand Blast: Starfire, as well as her evil sister Blackfire, has this as her main superpower.
  • Heel Face Turn: Superboy
  • Hindu Mythology: Explored in a recent arc, which introduces the Indian hero Solstice.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: Cyborg
  • Husky Russkie: Red Star
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Cyborg had one of the defining aspects of this in the 1980s run (he was an unwilling cyborg). Blue Beetle later on. Solstice has shades of it in the reboot.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Kid/Red Devil, to such an extreme that he made a deal with Neron to have powers. It is one of his defining character traits and is the motivation for almost every decision he makes.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. Sweet Jesus, how it is averted. The only three living children of the Titans are Jai and Iris West, and Mirage's daughter Julienne. And even then, the West twins were brought back from the dead, and Julienne is the product of rape.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl/Shameless Fanservice Girl: Starfire flip-flops between the two. On top of her having no nudity taboo and stripperific outfit, she learns languages through physical contact. Apparently any type of contact will do, but she deliberately chooses kissing as it's "more fun".
  • Irishman and a Jew: Kid Devil, possibly.
  • Jive Turkey: Cyborg talked like a bit of Shaft, and a bit of "normal educated human being". He spoke some words (like "Lissen/Listen") a bit funny for the most part. Before him was Mal Duncan.
  • Kid Hero: At least the original version of this team. By the Marv Wolfman era, most members had reached college age, but there was still room for teenagers (like Beast Boy and Terra).
  • Kuudere: Raven
  • Legacy Character: Three Robins, two Kid Flashes, two Wonder Girls, two Speedies, two Aquagirls.
  • Leotard of Power: Every female Titan has worn one at one time or another.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Static is the Patron Saint of this Trope.
  • Mad Scientist: Doctor Caligan
  • The Mole: Terra. What's hilarious is that at no point in the comic does she ever seem to at all hide he fact that she is constantly lying to and dislikes nearly everyone on the team.
    • Subverted with the finalized origin of Terra II. She was sent to the surface world to help Mankind by her people, who were oblivious to the fact that Terra was evil.
  • Monster Modesty: Cyborg doesn't wear anything. He used to wear a jump suit hoodie with the hood up but Beast Boy convinced him he looks better wearing nothing. The orange-skinned alien Starfire also had elements of this (see below).
  • Most Common Superpower: Starfire is the best example. They didn't call her "Balloon Bod" for nothing.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Starfire was an obvious example in the old days, what with her Innocent Fanservice Girl ways, but Donna Troy often ran around in bikinis as well. Let's just say George Perez liked drawing sexy ladies.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: In the second issue of the 2011 reboot, we get this exchange between Tim (Red Robin) Drake and Cassie (Wonder Girl) Sandsmark:

Cassie: Yo! Up here. (points at eyes) And before you ask--Yes, they're real.
Tim: I wasn't looking at, um... them, Cassie. I was trying to figure out how those war bracelets you're wearing are invisible.

  • Never Recycle a Building: Figures in Marv Wolfman's story "Who Is Donna Troy?" Apparently a burnt-out building sat in that condition for about 16 years, and Donna's childhood doll was still in a room of said burnt-out building and not carried off for nesting material. This is a key clue used by Robin to track down Donna's origins.
  • 90% of Your Brain: Deathstroke/Terminator was said to use all of his, which in his case meant enhanced senses and reflexes, mostly.
  • The Notable Numeral: The Fearsome Five.
  • Not What It Looks Like: At the beginning of the new series after the "OYL" gap, Robin (Tim Drake) returns to his room at night and sits on his bed, only to have a naked and extremely drunk Ravager (Rose Wilson) wrap her arms around him and try to seduce him. Robin's completely not interested but, knowing Ravager can be a bit hard to dissuade, pins her down on the bed and starts to handcuff her hands behind her. Then Kid Devil walks in.

Kid Devil: Hot damn!
Robin: This isn't what it looks like.
Ravager: Yes it is.

  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Villain named Siren, though she can make her tail into legs.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: In one issue, Ravager (Rose Wilson) drunkenly comes on to Robin (Tim Drake) by hiding in his bed completely naked. When he refuses her offer to "be friends", he handcuffs her with her hands behind her back...immediately as an intruder alarm goes off, causing Kid Devil to rush to Robin's room and find a naked handcuffed Ravager with Robin on top of her. After Robin tries to explain that it is Not What It Looks Like, they rush off to confront the intruder whilst Robin tells Ravager to put some clothes on.
    • Tim's predecessor was saying this to Starfire a LOT during the Wolfman-Perez run.
  • The Pollyanna: Miss Martian
  • The Power of Legacy: In the original Judas Contract arc, the other Titans gave Terra a hero's funeral, a statue in their hall, and told everyone (including her half-brother, Geo-Force) that she died a hero. The truth was that she was The Mole and Evil All Along.
  • Public Exposure: Mirage used her illusion powers to disguise herself as Starfire and pose naked for a men's magazine. Starfire was not amused when she found out.
  • Put on a Bus: Nightwing was put on one towards the end of the New Teen Titans run.
    • The final issue before JT Krul's run ended with half of the then-current Teen Titans being written out of the book.
      • With the Flashpoint reboot, all of the Titans save for Cassie, Tim, Connor, Kiran, and Bart are now gone. Furthermore, even the villains are now on a bus, as Scott Lobdell has announced that his run will not feature a single existing Teen Titan villain. Rose Wilson is kind of an exception, but her origin has been changed around.
  • Red Shirt: Kole was created specifically for this purpose. Wolfman was obligated by his fellow creators to kill one off his characters for the Crisis on Infinite Earths because they all had to kill of people they were using for it. He ended up kind of liking her in the end, but a deal's a deal, and he didn't have to wipe out any major character.
  • Religion of Evil: Brother Blood's Church of Blood.
  • Ret Canon - Following the One Year Later Time Skip from Infinite Crisis, Beast Boy donned his costume from the cartoon and Raven donned a similar costume to the one from the cartoon (modified to include a bird symbol and leggings). A future incarnation of Cyborg has blue plating similar to his cartoon self. A series of Titans East teams also appeared, but only the third bore any resemblance to the cartoon's version, the first (whose ranks include the aforementioned future Cyborg) being from the future and freedom fighters against their old teammates and the second being Psycho Rangers set up by Deathstroke.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Bumblebee, in the old days.
  • Secret Public Identity: Danny Chase, Mal Duncan.
  • Sexy Jester: Joker's Daughter, eventually. She started out being pretty hideous, and got fat in the mid-80s, but later artists draw her very hot.
  • Shape Shifter: Beast Boy/Changeling, Miss Martian.
  • Sidekick Graduations Stick: Nightwing, Arsenal, Troia, Tempest, The Flash. Possibly Red Robin and Red Devil.
  • Shonen Upgrade: Beast Boy awakened the ability to shape shift into Mythological and Magical animals when protecting Raven from the Wyld. His evil future self who had the same ability implied that he could do it all along but was afraid to do so.
  • Star-Spangled Spandex
  • Take That: After leaving DC and going to work for Marvel Comics, Sean Mc Keever publicly talked about the copious amounts of executive meddling he faced while writing the Teen Titans. In response to the attention the quotes drew and the negative reputation Teen Titans has garnered in recent years, Marvel editor Tom Breevort publicly referred to Mc Keever's new title, Young Allies (which like Teen Titans is a book about teen superheroes) as "...What you wanted Sean's TEEN TITANS run to be!"[1]
  • Team Mom: Troia became this during the Team Titans era.
    • Solstice seems to be taking this role in the New 52.
  • Team Title
  • Teen Superspy: Danny Chase.
  • Token Black: The book actually had two black cast members in the 70s, and it was going to be averted with Cyborg and the character who eventually became Starfire in the Wolfman team, but they went with an alien girl instead.
    • Averted in Lobdell's run; three of the seven members are minorities.
  • Tomboy: Wonder Girl II (Cassie) originally started as this in her Young Justice days, then became The Chick, before being riddled with Wangst. Bombshell now seems to serve this role.
  • Totally Radical: Cropped up in every version from time to time, but especially the original.

"No teen-ager would use "music" in a hip language message! They'd use jive!"

  • Tsundere: It's a little bit unclear whether Raven is a type B Tsundere, a Kuudere, or both.
  • Underwear of Power: Several, though less nowadays. Best example would be the old Robin costume.
    • Even though it was in fact a legless leotard, people (even later writers) seem to think it was just underwear, despite how impractical that is.
  • What Could Have Been: There is a LOT of this for the series, but in a more current example: That pregnant silhouette shown in a foreshadowing page towards the end of Sean Mc Keever's run was meant to be Miss Martian's nemesis, Sun Girl, who would have become pregnant with Inertia's child before he died and would have sought out Kid Flash to help her raise the baby. Editorial hated the idea and nipped it at the bud.
    • It seems there even was a plan in place to eventually bring Kid Devil back from the dead. Unfortunately, Dan Didio nixed it, citing Eddie's death as the first example of "dead means dead" for the DC Universe. Well, until the next change in management comes about we'd suppose.
    • Scott Lobdell has said that Aqualad was supposed be part of his new Titans line-up, but that the idea was axed at the last minute due to the character being fleshed out in anoter title.