Teen Titans of the New 52 era has ended, and while it had some shining moments, most of it was absolute chaos. There were actually two runs of the Teen Titans comics in the New 52, and they only sort of followed one another. At times the 2014 run of the comic seemed to carry over some themes and backstories from the 2011 run, but then other times, it rewrote them entirely. How both ended felt like a complete wash, as though there was some sort of disagreement between the writers and DC Comics. Or, even worse, perhaps DC Comics doesn’t entirely know what to do with these characters, which then trickles down to the writers.
I read the 2011 run after I ran into Superboy in the 2014 series, and it seemed like I needed some serious backstory with Superboy to understand what in the world was going on. I ended up having more questions than answers, and not just about Superboy. Teen Titans in 2011 started with Red Robin, who wanted to collect superpowered teens to find out who was trying to collect them for evil purposes. He ended up recruiting Wonder Girl, Bunker, Kid Flash, Superboy, Solstice, and Skitter. The only character in this bunch that DC kept consistent and consistently good was Bunker. Everyone else dropped out one by one for various reasons until the whole series ended and Red Robin returned to Batman.
Skitter disappeared and reappeared so often, I can barely call her a member of the Teen Titans.
Kid Flash claimed to be Bart from the future, and while he was from the future, he’s no descendant of the Allen family. He was actually an escaped criminal from the future, who did horrible, horrible things. Somehow he got Solstice to go with him to be with him during his sentence and serve out his sentence with him. As in she killed a judge in front of everyone so she would have to go to prison as well.
Superboy was a clone of Superman, and he had an evil clone as well. When he fought his evil clone, he nearly killed him, left him to die, and then something took the good clone away. It was unwillingly, and I have no idea if he was killed or not. I read it several times and I still don’t know what happened. Perhaps it was explained in a crossover. The page is below, and well; you tell me.
And then we come to the Cassie Sandsmark Wondergirl. I swear this is the character whom DC has no idea what to do with. In the 2011 series, she’s the daughter of an archaeologist who likes to steal things. One thing she stole from her mother’s digs was the Silent Armor, which is what gives her super strength, the ability to fly, and her own little Wonder Woman-like lasso. Then in the 2014 series, it comes out that she’s a niece of Wonder Woman, her father was Cassandra’s brother, and her Amazon lineage is why she can wear the Silent Armor. I thought that what happened with Superboy was confusing enough. I outright give up when it comes to sorting out Cassie. Is it her mother who was the archaeologist or was it her father? If her aunt was Cassandra, whom she is obviously named after, why didn’t her mother say anything to her?
I don’t even want to get started on the green Beast Boy from another dimension that makes a brief appearance, followed by a red Beast Boy that suddenly appears and joins the team. But somehow he becomes green in the 2014 series? Do I even want to know?
Even though I’m not a fan of Damian Wayne Robin, I am a little excited about an entirely new team of Teen Titans. The 2014 series was good until about halfway, and then it devolved back into the mess of 2011. These characters need somewhat of a fresh start. Cassie needs a real focus in her personality and her contribution with the team. The Superboy clone needs to never return. I’m not sure it’s even a good idea for Jonathan Clark, the current Superboy, to join the team.
I definitely don’t want this team wiped out, above all else, even with the Titans going strong. There’s huge history with the Teen Titans, and the recent iterations with the franchise have not done the group justice. The late 1980s revival of the team may have been incredibly corny, but it was a true revival of the team of sidekicks brought to life by a writer who was passionate about the team. That passion was not present with the New 52. I hope it returns with DC Universe Rebirth. Without that passion and that true purpose for this team, the Teen Titans will be another washed up crew from the DC universe, one that only keeps going because the cartoons made the idea popular again. If DC is able to successfully revitalize Aquaman, I know they can do the same with the Teen Titans.