If there’s one thing the New 52 does it’s getting people talking. There has been a level of excitement in seeing the changes and finding out what DC has planned for the characters. There is also the sense of confusion in wondering what has or has not happened. Some characters like Batman and Green Lantern have seen very little changes to their history. Other characters have been completely rewritten.
The New 52 was meant to be a soft reset for the years of continuity. It was all to be new reader friendly. Because of this, it’s understandable that some bits of character history would be tweaked and other parts removed. The dreaded ‘five years ago’ also played a big factor in condensing major events in the characters’ lives.
With the Teen Titans, we’ve seen that in the first year of the New 52, the decision has been made to change Tim Drake‘s current team from being a new incarnation of the team to being the actual first time there ever has been a group of Teen Titans. If this is the case, what does that mean for all the previous Teen Titans stories and characters?
== TEASER ==
The original Teen Titans consisted of Dick Grayson (as Robin), Wally West (as Kid Flash) and Garth (Aqualad). Shortly after their first appearance, they were joined by Donna Troy and Roy Harper. Looking at this roster, Dick and Roy are the only ones that currently officially exist in the New 52. Wally, Garth and Donna have not been seen or mentioned. We don’t know if they actually exist or are simply somewhere else (which we refer to as ‘comic book limbo’). Just because we haven’t see the others doesn’t mean they don’t exist and they never had their adventures. Or does it?
The team continued in the late 60s and 70s with a couple cancellations to the series as well as new members when the series returned. Other characters such as Beast Boy, Bumblebee, Bat-Girl, Duela Dent and Hawk and Dove were either introduced or brought into some of the stories. It was the Marv Wolfman and George Perez series, THE NEW TEEN TITANS in the 80s that introduced Starfire, Cyborg and Raven as well as provided their biggest adversary, Deathstroke the Terminator.
Did any of these adventures happen? What about the epic story, “The Judas Contract” where Deathstroke has Terra infiltrate the team in order to utterly defeat them? Deathstroke doesn’t appear to have any connection or interest in any of the members. Beast Boy has been re-introduced as part of the Ravagers. Cyborg’s accident lead him straight to the roster of the Justice League.
In RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #6 we did get a tiny bit of hope. In a flashback to Jason Todd‘s return from the dead, he encounters Starfire for the first time. She mentions her memories were a little fuzzy but did allude to spending time with Dick and Roy as what we can assume a team of sorts. Dick was even shown wearing his blue Nightwing costume. This means some of the original Teen Titans adventures could have still happened. They could also have been on a team with Wally, Donna and even Cyborg. Maybe.
Just because characters such as Donna and Wally haven’t been seen or mentioned doesn’t mean they don’t exist. DC has mentioned they are merely waiting for the right time and right stories to re-introduce the missing characters such as them. We can assume Beast Boy had no interaction with them from his appearances in ‘The Culling‘ and RAVAGERS. Cyborg may be part of the Justice League but we get the feeling that team hasn’t spent an enormous amount of time together. They still don’t know everything about each other and may have only gathered together for the major threats. This could give Cyborg the opportunity to have adventures with others. Although, in the recent JUSTICE LEAGUE #13, we strongly get the impression he simply sits around the Watchtower alone.
Of course the current TEEN TITANS series guarantees that the last volume, all 100 issues, hasn’t happened. At least those adventures haven’t happened yet.
For those concerned about these past stories, it’s been said that we still have our old copies and trades. We can live with the knowledge that they did occur for us back then. They are just no longer part of the current continuity. It’s unfortunate that it has to be an extreme case of either the events happened or they didn’t. It could have been left more ambiguous. We could have been lead to believe that there was a Teen Titans in the past without the specifics being told what issues did or didn’t happen. With BATMAN and GREEN LANTERN comics, we can assume most things happened. By clearly stating that there wasn’t a Teen Titans before pretty much wipes out the chance that the previous stories happened in any shape or form.
It’s understandable that editorial may wish to step back a little and have this new Teen Titans be introduced to readers without a lot of baggage. It just isn’t necessary to completely obliterate the history that all of the characters associated with the Teen Titans just to accommodate this idea. We can still hope that someday we’ll find out more about the adventures Nightwing, Starfire and Arsenal had. It’s possible some of the other former Titans were involved. Until then, we’ll have to keep reading our old trades to make sure the stories are not forgotten.