Titans Together! Again!

The Teen Titans are all good and well, but they aren’t what they used to be. So, you should be pleased to know that Judd Winick has been given the reins of Titans.

“I don’t really know anyone of my generation who isn’t [a fan],” said Judd Winick, a 37-year old native New Yorker. “I learned to draw by copying George Perez as well as John Byrne artwork. And the reason we’re returning to this lineup is because of the great work [Marv] Wolfman and Perez did. They created a foundation; a bedrock of characterization that could stop a truck. We owe it all to them.”

NewTeenTitansVol1-001 The Teen Titans debuted as a group in July of 1964, in issue number 54 of The Brave and the Bold, and as a named team 6 issues later in 60. They were, in some respects, the teenaged version of the Justice League, with Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad filling out the squad, while doubling as the sidekicks for Batman, the Flash and Aquaman respectively.

But their number soon grew with Donna Troy, aka, Wonder Girl joining the team. These additions weren’t necessarily sidekicks either, highlighted in the 1980’s revival of the Teen Titans with the team acquiring Cyborg, Starfire, Beast Boy and Raven.

Enough of the history though, this is all to say that in April of this year a new title – Titans – will be debuting, and featuring our favorite Teen Titans. The cast has been confirmed as being Nightwing, Flash (Wally West), Donna Troy, Beast Boy, Raven, Cyborg, Starfire and Red Arrow; although whether he will be a part of the team or not is ambiguous at the moment.

As for the storyline? “Part of the premise of the title is that it isn’t a standard ‘team.’ They won’t have meetings or monitor duty,” Judd Winick told CBR News. “These are friends. And because of the decision long ago to let them grow up, these teen sidekicks grew up together. They are more of family than most characters in the DCU.

“That being said, they will be getting together to help one another out. As in, Nightwing’s got a case that is getting out of control or Flash is into something that needs more than the fastest man alive, the rest will join them in their fight. That’s family, more than a team.”

For those of us who have been reading issues containing these characters we’ll be able to points that, in hindsight, point towards this new non-team forming. Nightwing’s handing of the Outsiders over to Batman on the basis that he didn’t like a team being just about ‘the job.’ Dick Grayson, aka, Nightwing, is not Batman; he doesn’t brood, he doesn’t like being alone. He likes the team environment, and that a team is forming of his old friends is not a surprise at all.


As for Red Arrows involvement, stepping off the Justice League and on to this team might be considered a step back, especially for someone’s first time on the JL. That would explain Winick’s comments when questioned about the teams lineup; “That’s them. Give or take some flip flopping here and there.” I would hazard a guess that the “flip flopping here and there” is Red Arrow.

This also comes at an interesting time in the DC universe, especially when you consider Nightwing’s involvement in it all. The Countdown to Final Crisis is slowly nearing its end, which means that the Final Crisis is nearly upon us. When questioned about their involvement; “As close as we can and not get burned. How’s that for vague?” remarked Winick. “But seriously, most of the DCU will have tie-ins. And this is no exception.”

But we’ve also got Bruce Wayne apparently ascending to New God status, so what does that do to Grayson’s role in the DCU. It’s already been confirmed that Jason Todd would be taking on the mantle of Batman which, to my mind, is the only decision that makes any sense. But I discuss that elsewhere.

There’s more over at the CBR article, but the general sense that you get from reading the article is that Winick is a man who loves these characters, and is going to do right by them. When quizzed about a possible Bart Allen return; “Yes. Bart Allen will be back. Barry Allen, as well. Blue Beetle. Superboy. We’re going to kill Jason Todd and bring him back again. It’s a dead man’s party,” laughed Winick. “So, no, Bart Allen won’t be coming back.”

As for the opening arc of the series, Winick has some comments on that as well, which lead in to a puzzling remark. “We will be tackling an old villain, one from ‘Teen Titans’ canon that has yet to return. And with that, said villain will get an update. But the first arc is about galvanizing the gang, showing them that they need to be back together.

“And there’s gratuitous nudity,” Winick continued. “Both genders are represented so no one will feel left out. The second arc focuses a bit more on the Titans themselves than the bad guys. Most likely it will be called ‘The Life and further Death of Superboy.’”

I’m not sure just what it is he’s saying here, as there seems to be no tone that suggests either jocularity or seriousness. That aside though, Titans is definitely going to be on my reading list! TITANS-Cv1_solicit

One last thing before I sign off. Having read the article at CBR I made the following mistake of looking at the CBR forums. It seems that no one who visits CBR likes the idea of Winick, or the Titans. This surprised me, so I contacted those that I trust most on this issue; Josh, Connor and Ron over at iFanboy.com. They answered my question in their weekly letters column;

I don't if there is a more polarizing writer in comics today than Judd Winick. He has a reputation for "pushing issues" on readers by focusing on gay rights and AIDS and other social issues and some people just don't want to hear about real world (I'm sorry) societal ills in their super hero comics. I'm not one of those people. I love his work and I love that he challenges people with his work. That's what art is supposed to do.

I'm super psyched for Judd Winick's Titans. We can't say enough good things about Green Arrow and Black Canary and I feel like his run on Green Arrow itself was one of the great, underrated super hero runs of the last few years. He had a really solid stint on Batman, despite being the one to bring Jason Todd back - grrrrr - and his The Outsiders was pretty good. A little uneven at times, but overall it was good. So don't feel bad - you're not alone. You and I will be brothers in being excited for Titans.

- Conor

I will leave it there, and go and look at subscribing to the Titans book. In the meantime though, let me know what you think in the comments!

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