Titans Retrospective: Team History
March 4, 2013
March of the Titans begins with a look at the history of the team! From the swingin’ sixties through the New Teens of the 80s! Then, the team history concludes with the Titans Hunt and the underrated 1996 team!
(Open on the cover of a comic on the origin of Nightwing)
Linkara (v/o): Some time around 1999 or 2000, my brother was collecting Nightwing comics. He was a huge fan of the character, primarily thanks to his appearances on the Batman animated series. He took these comics, bagged and boarded them, and tacked them on his walls. Mostly, it was the cover of the crappy blue seashell-themed wallpaper in his room, but he'd still take the comics down and read them. And he would let me read them, too. I have not read many comics before, just the occasional one I found here and there. Anything I knew about superheroes came from cartoons or from word of mouth. That's how I heard about stuff like the Clone Saga, even though I had never actually read a single issue of it. It was in "Nightwing: Secret Files & Origins #1"...
(Cut to a panel inside the comic, showing the Teen Titans)
Linkara (v/o): ...where I was first exposed to a team that Dick Grayson, age whatever, had been a part of: the Teen Titans.
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. However, for the month of March, we will not be looking at the worst comics ever made. We will be looking at the superhero team that got me interested in reading comic books. We'll see the ups and downs of that team and why I seem to care about them in spite of all the crap that's happened with them throughout their long history. Welcome, my friend, to "March of the Titans".
(Various shots of comics involving the Teen Titans in some form or another are shown)
Linkara (v/o): So let's get some stuff out of the way that I know some people are gonna be grumbling about. One, these episodes are not gonna be my funniest. This is not about me telling jokes, but I'll try to inject humor where I can. This is about me relaying my personal history and passions as a fan of a particular comic series, a series that got me to open my eyes and explore an entire medium of storytelling. Sure, I'll tell jokes, but that's only because I'm a snarky bastard. Two, no, I am not talking the animated series. Yes, the animated series is great, but again, that's not what we're here to discuss. We're talking about fifty issues of a particular comic series. If you're passionate about the animated series...
(Editor's note: "DULL SURPRISE FOR ALL!")
Linkara (v/o): ...or any other series, tell other people about it in your own way. No, we're talking about the team that began in 1999 and ended in 2002, the team that wasn't "new" and it wasn't "teens", they were just the Titans. And that brings us to number three: I'm not gonna talk about what came after it. Geoff Johns' 2003 "Teen Titans" book was all fine and good, but that isn't my favorite incarnation of the team, and there's a lot about it that I disliked, owing either to really stupid character development or him feeling the need to retcon elements of character motivation and history to fit his own view of how things should work.
Linkara: It was still enjoyable, sure, but it isn't the book that made me the hat-wearin', comic book-reviewin', don't-care-about-no-movies-'cause-they-ain't-no-comics-lovin' guy you all see today.
Linkara (v/o): However, the Titans as a book was always one that embrace its varied history, always tried to move the characters into the next stages of their lives and not just be "Well, let's reboot everything in ten years and hope nobody complains." That's why I started this series of videos to begin with. The 2011 reboot, despite originally hinting that there Teen Titans teams before, has now gone out of its way to say that their team is the first to ever be called the Teen Titans. And as a fan of what has come before, it is offensive to me and to its forty-plus years of history.
Linkara: But before we can get to my favorite book, we need to talk about the team and what has come before. This week, we'll be taking a broad look at the history of the Titans, up until next week's feature: a miniseries called "The Technis Imperative". So let's dig into the history of the Teen Titans and figure just who the hell these people are.
(AT4W title sequence is shown; title card has the title song from the movie Hair playing in the background. Cut to shots of some Titans comics that Linkara had looked at in the past)
Linkara (v/o): We have already seen the first appearance of the group, back in "Brave and the Bold #54". We've also looked at a Christmas issue, wherein they reenact in "A Christmas Carol" – poorly. But what else did the series have to offer? Were there other members, or was it just the Fab Five? Who were the villains they fought? Well, let's go all the way back to 1966...
(Cut to a closeup of the first "Teen Titans" comic)
Linkara (v/o): ...with the original comic series, the first issue of which they fought (reads text dramatically) "The BEAST-GOD of XOCHATAN!"
Linkara: And people say I hate the Silver Age. How can I hate the Silver Age when there is a comic that features (holds up hands dramatically) the Beast-God of XOCHATAN?!
(Cut to the opening page of the comic, which consists of a splash page that is turned on its side)
Linkara (v/o): Albeit, one way is to force me to turn the opening splash page on its side in order to read the text.
Linkara: (irritated) Damn it, 1966! I thought that was more of a thing in the '90s to be forced to (makes a turning motion with his hands) turn a comic on its side and take you out of the story!
Narrator: They're here! Those kids with the super-hero beat...
Linkara: I prefer the superhero turnip myself.
Narrator: Fighting, battling...
Linkara (v/o): One would say those two are the same thing.
Narrator: ...daring, dashing--and even thinking!
Linkara: (sarcastically) Teenagers thinking?! What new spore of madness is this?!
Linkara (v/o): Not only does their first outing have them fighting a giant conquistador statue and joining the Peace Corps, but they also briefly fight Killdozer! Awesome! In the second issue, they established more details about the team, like how they would get calls for help from teenagers; they operated out of a cave, later called the Titans' Lair; and their vehicle was a big helicopter with the words "Teen Titans" written across it, because, well, even teenagers need to secure their brand name. It also featured Wonder Girl tying her ponytail around a tree and having all the other Titans hanging from her leg.
(A snippet of "Hair" plays briefly)
Woof Dachshund (Don Dacus): (singing) Gimme a head with hair, long beautiful hair...
Linkara (v/o): For those of you only familiar with the animated series, a lot of the goofier villains featured there actually got their start here. For example, Ding Dong Daddy and the Mad Mod, both characters that make a hell of a lot more sense in the '60s than they did in the early 2000s, but whatcha gonna do? Mad Mod, by the way, will be making a reappearance later on, but we'll get to that. Another weird one was also in Roy Harper's first comic featuring the team: an international organization dedicated to hate and distrust... DIABLO!
(Cut to a clip of the game Diablo)
Deckard Cain: Stay awhile and listen!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Speaking of guest stars, future Teen Titans regular Beast Boy, renamed Changeling and then Beast Boy again later, even had an issue where he guest-starred, trying to join the team because the Doom Patrol wouldn't let him actively engage in missions because he needed parents' permission. The Titans turn him down for the same reason, which is just laughable, considering you have to imagine Robin pleading with Batman to join the team like he was pleading to attend a concert.
Linkara: (as Robin, pleading) You just don't understand me, Batman! Why won't you let me join the Teen Titans?! (as Batman, arms crossed) No! I know what you teenagers do when you get together. You sit and listen to rock 'n' roll, don't you? (holds up fist) DON'T YOU?!
Linkara (v/o): A lot of this stuff was weird, but weird in that awesome comic book kind of way, despite questionable science. For example, when the teens go up against a vigilante group who want to tar and feather some foreign exchange students, the Titans fight them, and Wonder Girl lifts up two guys... sort of.
Vigilante 1: Yikes! We're going up!
Vigilante 2: Can't let go! We're stuck!
Wonder Girl: You should know I can make my wrist bracelets "magnetic" just by willing it! And of course, I can make them "nonmagnetic" just as easily, by un-willing it!
(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching This Island Earth)
Mike: (as Exeter) And if your hands were metal, that would mean something.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): I notice that no one ever brings that up when talking about Donna Troy's confusing backstory. And remember how, in the "Christmas Carol" comic, there was that ad for the Adam West Batman series? Yeah, that wasn't the only time that happened. They actually hide their helicopter behind a giant billboard advertising the show and we see it a few times in the series. Said billboard keeps changing the look of the ad, too. One particular issue of note for the upcoming look of the Titans series itself would be issue 14. It's actually a really damn good story, and the mood is radically different from most of the rest of the series. In it, a criminal called the Gargoyle claims that one of the Titans withheld evidence that would have proved him innocent in a crime, and he swears vengeance. However, it's actually a ploy to make the Titans distrust each other and fill their minds with negative thoughts. All of the suspicion lies on Robin, and when the other Titans hesitate to follow his orders, the Gargoyle sends them to a limbo dimension where they are his evil servants. The media thinks the other Titans are dead, and it's not exactly a far-off idea from what they're actually happening. And Robin has to face criminals on his own and find a way to defeat the Gargoyle, too. While it still contains lots of '60s-era dialogue – and references to both the Beatles and the Monkees – it's a rather dark story compared to the rest, especially when you consider that the following issue has the Titans going to Hippietown, U.S.A.* to defend said hippies from a biker named Captain Rumble and disguising themselves as hippies. It's about as authentic as this...
- NOTE: It's actually "Hippieville, U.S.A.".
(Linkara is seen wearing a long black wig and dark glasses and gives a peace sign with his index and middle fingers)
Linkara: (in a hippie voice) Like, peace, man. We be groovy cats up in this pad.
Linkara (v/o): It would be later explained that the Gargoyle was none other than Mr. Twister from the "Brave and the Bold" issue that's considered the first Teen Titans appearance. He had been transformed into the Gargoyle, thanks to another freaky-ass villain called Antithesis, who was later retconned as the first villain the Titans fought together. Comics are confusing. Speaking of, I bet you fans of the animated series love Starfire, right? Well, want to see Starfire's first appearance? Here he is!*
- NOTE: Indeed, the earliest Starfire is in fact a boy, not a girl.
Linkara (v/o): Oh, wait, you mean the alien princess? Yeah, we'll get to her in a bit. No, the original Starfire is this kid: a Russian superhero. To avoid confusion later on with that Starfire, he was renamed to Red Star and even joined the team for a time during the New Teen Titans run. Other guest stars who would be on-again-off-again Titans included the duo Hawk and Dove, whose successors would also be members at one time or another. As the book progressed, notable changes in the writing style did occur, particularly after Bob Haney stopped being the only writer. While the pseudo-jive talk persisted in some ways, the overall style of things began to resemble the Bronze Age of comics, featuring less single-panel openers that teased of a future event in the book and more continuous action. Panel arrangement varied from the standards and the art was more experimental in places. Hell, they even began to have multiple issues with a continuous story, including one featuring interdimensional aliens from an earlier issue. Speedy became a permanent member of the team, while Aqualad became more of a guest star, no doubt because they were having trouble figuring out what the hell to do with him since he's a water-based character. Wonder Girl's origin was finally in a backup story... Remember, she was a character who was created by accident. ..and in keeping with that, a tradition was started in which every time Donna's origin was rewritten, something new would be altered about the character, usually her costume or her powers. In-universe... well, here's why she decided to switch costumes...
Donna Troy: (thinking) I think this might be a good time to get around to making a new costume! I was getting tired of that old one, and it was getting kind of raunchy...
Linkara: (making "finger quotes") "Getting kind of raunchy"? If you don't count the cape, you technically wear more clothes than Robin.
Troy: (wearing a new outfit) ...the new Wonder Girl! How about that, tigers?
Linkara: Great costume, but I think you're confusing yourself with Mary Jane Watson. Be careful, Donna, or else Satan will erase your future marriage from history, too.
Linkara (v/o): Issue 25 introduced a new Titan to the group, named Lilith, a go-go dancer who has psychic abilities, although mostly precognition. After an incident where a well-known peace advocate is killed, she introduces them to the richest man on Earth, a man named Loren Jupiter, who brings in the Titans to be a peacekeeping force to teach teenagers about the world they're going to inherit when they grow up. Robin leaves the group because he wants to continue his studies in college, and the others decide to pursue the mission without costumes and powers while living in an unlisted floor of a building run by robots and swear off any kind of violence.
Linkara: Yeah, that doesn't last long. But it is really damn weird.
Linkara (v/o): They're joined by another future superhero named Mal Duncan and get subliminal instruction from Mr. Jupiter on how to pilot a rocket to Venus.
Linkara: Did I mention that this part of the series was really damn weird?
Linkara (v/o): For crying out loud, they go to the Moon as a stopping point before they head to Venus!
Wonder Girl: And I'm here alone--one quarter of a million miles from Earth! I know I shouldn't, but I can't keep from shivering! It--It's cold as the grave here! It...It's frightening!
(Cut to a clip of Missile to the Moon, as seen on RiffTrax)
Mike Nelson (v/o): (speaking as one of the astronauts) Relax, we're on the moon. What could possibly go wrong?
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): I suppose it does make sense to a certain degree. This was only a few months after the moon landing.
(Cut briefly to an ad in the comic for building a moon base)
Linkara (v/o): A lot of advertisements of the comic also had space themes and model kits recreating the lunar lander and such. But still, it's a big "what the hell" for a comic that only a short time ago...
(Cut again to the start of the "Hippieville" story)
Linkara (v/o): ...had featured the hippie town!
(Cut back again to the review of issue 25)
Linkara (v/o): Like I said, though, they dropped the "no costumes or powers" thing fairly quickly, mostly with Aqualad telling them to get their sorry asses back in gear. This involves a plot by Aquaman's nemesis, Ocean Master, teaming up with aliens.
Dove: We're up against a group of aliens-- creatures from outer space!
Hawk: "From outer space!??" Aw, c'mon--you've got to be kidding!!
Linkara: (yelling in frustration) ONLY TWO WEEKS AGO, (points at camera) YOU WERE ON THE MOON!! AND YOU MET ALIENS!
Linkara (v/o): Mr. Jupiter remained around to finance the team, but it was more traditional superhero stuff, or at least the heroes bumbling into situations, until the book was canceled with issue #43, but revived a few years later and continued its numbering, despite the fact that within the book, as far as they were concerned, they had split up for two years. They're brought together again by a false distress call made by Dr. Light, who makes quick work of the team. What's most noticeable about this era is that the group is more willing to fight with each other. It's something that's brought up in the Titans series: they're a family in all the good ways, in that they'll always be there for each other, support one another, and be the first people to turn to in bad situations, but they're also a family in the worst way; everything is much more personal with them, so small problems can escalate into bigger ones rather quickly, and it makes it that much harder to do things apart from the family. In this situation, though, it gives Mal Duncan the chance to finally step into his own. Dr. Light kidnaps all the other Titans except for Mal, who is left with the storage area of the Titans' lair, which has spare costumes and equipment from the Titans. Mal has actually had a few different identities, including his first one here, taking the look of another hero called The Guardian. In the next issue, he acquired Gabriel's Horn and took on the identity of The Hornblower. Seriously. And this is his costume (...which is mostly white with blue accents). Again, seriously!
Linkara: You know what the really sad thing about that costume is? Both this incarnation of the team and the 2011 reboot of the team could desperately use some blue in their color scheme.
(Cut to Lewis dressed as Doctor Who, who holds an umbrella and raises his hat)
Doctor: Hello, I'm the Doctor, and we'll be right back!
(He walks off as the AT4W logo appears in the corner, and we go to a commercial. Upon return, there is the sound of laser gunfire and the Doctor runs back in, panicked)
Doctor: Oh, dear! (looks into camera) We're back.
(He runs off as the AT4W logo appears in the corner. Cut back to the comic as the video resumes)
Linkara (v/o): Fortunately, he [Mal] only sported that for a single issue before reverting to the Guardian again. Other heroes got introduced in the book, too, including Mal's girlfriend, Karen [Beecher], who became Bumblebee. Also... Joker's daughter. Long story there and it's not important. She's better known as Duela Dent, who you might remember as being...
(Cut to a shot of Dent in "Countdown To Final Crisis")
Linkara (v/o): ...a victim of "Countdown". You want more weirdness?
(Cut back to the "Titans" series)
Linkara (v/o): Instead of continuing to operate out of the cave, with all their equipment and stuff, they instead decide to build and operate a restaurant/disco. Yes, really. In the fiftieth issue, they introduced a concept that's never really taken off, despite several attempts: Teen Titans West. It's actually a team book tradition that sometimes the roster will expand to the point where a second version of a group will be running around.
(A montage of other superhero teams' comics is shown to prove his point)
Linkara (v/o): The Justice League did it with both "Justice League International" and "Justice League Europe"; the Avengers had just "The Avengers" and then "Avengers West Coast"; and then there was the Justice Society and "JSA All-Stars".
(Cut back to the Titans)
Linkara (v/o): With the Titans, the West Coast branch, and in one case, the East Coast branch, never really took off, despite repeated attempts to make it work. So, who made up this team? Well, Beast Boy, Hawk and Dove, Lilith, and two newcomers. There's Golden Eagle, who is Hawkman's kinda sorta protege... and then there was Batgirl.
(Cut to a shot of the Batman version of Batgirl)
Linkara (v/o): No, not that one.
(Cut to the Cassandra Cain version of Batgirl)
Linkara (v/o): No, not that one.
(Cut back to the Titans comics, showing their version of Batgirl, who wears a bat mask, but otherwise wears a colorful costume that looks like Robin's)
Linkara (v/o): This one.
Linkara: (hesitates slightly) Okay... I've briefly talked about Fredric Wertham, whose book, (makes "finger quotes") "Seduction of the Innocent", suggested that Batman and Robin were in a gay relationship. Remember, this was the 1950s, so that was a big no-no.
(Cut to shots of the female equivalents of the Dynamic Duo: Batwoman and Batgirl)
Linkara (v/o): As a counter to this, DC created the characters of Batwoman and Batgirl to show that they were totally not gay and so wanted to bang these brightly-colored distaff counterparts. To be fair, both characters got a better shake in modern times, with Batwoman becoming an ass-kicking crimefighter lesbian – rather ironic, given her history – while Batgirl, AKA Bette Kane, was reinvented years later as Flamebird, a Robin fangirl who wanted to be a crimefighter, but kept getting told by Robin and later Nightwing that she wasn't cut out for it. She then reinvented herself, got a badass new attitude, and surprisingly was one of the characters who survived the 2011 reboot.
(Cut back to the original "Teen Titans" series)
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, the '70s series came to an end with issue 53 due to low sales, where we learn a revised version of the team's origin, as well as the team members all going their separate ways. This would all work out for the better, though, since it led to what was probably the most successful run of the team.
(Cut to a shot of the first issue of "The New Teen Titans")
Linkara (v/o): Nineteen eighty witnessed the debut of "The New Teen Titans", written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by George Perez. And naturally, the first issue was a collector's item, despite the lack of Mr. T trading card.
Linkara: Although, to be fair, Mr. T was not well-known at this point. (holds up index finger) However, I would suggest that the awesomeness of Mr. T would transcend time itself.
Linkara (v/o): Strangely enough, the book begins with an epilogue. Not sure how the hell that works, but it features the alien woman Koriand'r, AKA Starfire, breaking free of Gordanian slavers and stealing a ship that will bring her to Earth. The Titans themselves are brought together by Raven, a mysterious woman with empathic powers. She convinces Dick Grayson to reunite the Titans and even uses her powers to convince Kid Flash to come out of retirement by making him think he's in love with her.
Linkara: (feeling uncomfortable) Yyyyeah, Raven was kind of a jerk. She brought the team together to stop an interdimensional demon from coming through to Earth... but neglected to tell everybody that the demon, Trigon, was her father. So, when evil was sensed within her, they thought she was pulling a fast one on 'em.
Linkara (v/o): I exaggerate a little, but that's basically what happened. Beast Boy became a permanent member of the team, and there was still one final member: Victor Stone, AKA Cyborg. He was a teenager with Olympic aspirations, but his father, a brilliant but neglectful scientist accidentally caused an accident that severely injured him. His father replaced most of his body with cybernetic enhancements. Because he's a scientist in a work of fiction, he's proficient in all scientific fields. In addition, seeing what a good influence the Titans would be on him, Cyborg's father constructed the most memorable headquarters for the group: Titans Tower, located on an island off the coast of New York. It's a huge building in the shape of a T! I love it! Now, I mentioned Trigon a minute ago, but let's talk about some of the other villains for a second. Dr. Light assembled a group of other villains and called themselves "The Fearsome Five", and they actually managed to score some decent hits on the team, even almost brainwashing them into killing the Justice League. They were a recurring threat over the years, but the one that stands out to this day, to the point where, for some inexplicable reason, he got his own solo book in the reboot, is Slade Wilson, AKA Deathstroke the Terminator. Deathstroke was a mercenary and assassin, enhanced by experiments in the military to increase his mental and physical discipline. He had a wife, Adeline, and two sons, Joseph and Grant. When a rival group tried to threaten his family's lives to get information about his clients, Deathstroke thought he was fast enough to save them. And he kind of was. The guy who was holding a knife to Joseph's throat didn't kill him, but he did sever his vocal chords. Adeline, naturally pissed off about this, and a former military officer herself, shot Slade in her rage.
Linkara: Personally, I would have considered couples counseling before into the homicidal rage, but that's just me.
Linkara (v/o): However, he survived, only losing his eye from the attack. A criminal organization and recurring threat to the Titans known as The H.I.V.E. tried to hire Deathstroke to kill the Titans, but he refused because they wouldn't pay him in advance. In turn, The H.I.V.E. then tried to kill him.
Linkara: Deathstroke is a frequent submitter to the website "Clients from Hell".
Linkara (v/o): Naturally, he was unfazed by the effort, but The H.I.V.E. instead took Slade's son Grant and tried to replicate the enhancements that Deathstroke had and have him kill the Titans. He did gain powers, but The H.I.V.E. kind of botched the whole thing, and Grant was killed after he fought the Titans. Deathstroke, being kind of an asshole, blamed the Titans for his death instead of, you know, the guys actually responsible for his death, and took the contract to kill the Titans. And thus began "The Long Game", as Deathstroke planned and plotted, occasionally engaging the Titans before he executed his gambit: "The Judas Contract". The Titans brought in a superpowered girl named Terra, who had been used by some crooks to further their own schemes. Terra was a mite full of herself, but otherwise seemed normal to the others. However, the truth was far worse.
Linkara: Those of you familiar with the animated series are most likely in the know about the tragedy of the character of Terra. But things were a bit different in the comics.
Linkara (v/o): In the animated series, Terra was a girl who had trouble controlling her powers and was brought on by Slade to betray the team, but ultimately, she turned on him and was going to join the forces of good before she got turned to stone and then reappeared in one of the most frustrating and annoying finales ever for a kids' show. In the comics... Terra was a monster, plain and simple. She was a sociopath and a sadist, and she was only fourteen years old. She played with the emotions of the Titans and happily betrayed them to Deathstroke and The H.I.V.E., learning all of their weaknesses and even their secret identities. When she thought that Deathstroke had turned on her, she went nuts and basically killed herself in her rage, buried under a pile of earth that she had created.
Linkara: Oh, yeah, and she also slept with Deathstroke! I did mention she was fourteen years old, right?
Linkara (v/o): "The Judas Contract" is one of the best storylines of the series and introduced not only a new Titan, but debuted Dick Grayson as Nightwing, featuring the all-powerful disco collar costume. And the new team member? None other than Deathstroke's other son Joseph, now mute because of his severed vocal chords. As far as I know, I'm pretty sure Joseph, going by the name Jericho, was actually the first superhero who spoke in sign language. He was a gentle soul, through and through, compassionate and loving. Also, the enhancements that his father had been given passed onto him in a new way. Jericho had the ability to possess other people if he made eye contact with the person, controlling their body. After all that, Deathstroke actually opted to retire... mostly. He came back several times throughout the rest of the book, and in the early '90s, he got his own spin-off book and sort of became DC's answer to the Punisher. I don't know how long his solo series lasted, but I'm pretty sure it actually endured for quite a while, and he even had another kid: a daughter named Rose. We'll be getting back to her later, of course. But wait! Wasn't there a reason why the Titans were formed in the first place? Oh, yeah, that interdimensional demon who wants to – you guessed it – take over the world!
(Cut to the obligatory clip from the Street Fighter movie)
M. Bison (Raul Julia): Of course!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Raven was raised by a society of pacifists and mystics in a place called Aazarath, who taught her to control her emotions, lest the evil within her be unleashed and she'd be Trigon's pawn. Raven's mother Arella aided the Titans against Trigon as best as she could, though obviously things did not go well. The Titans fought Trigon early in their tenure – and got their asses kicked. Severely.
(Cut to the cover of an issue of "The New Teen Titans" from its relaunch)
Linkara (v/o): "The New Teen Titans" got relaunched as part of a DC initiative called "hardcover-softcover", wherein books would first be printed on much nicer material and then reprinted months later in standard material, and the first storyline for the Titans was Trigon's return and conquest of the Earth. Over the course of the series, Raven had interacted less and less with the team and began wearing her hood 24/7, her appearance looking more and more sickly and gaunt until she disappeared, Jericho experiencing a vision of Trigon's coming. As a storm begins to gather around New York City, the Titans bring in Lilith in the hopes that her psychic abilities will help them locate Raven.
(Shots of the storm are shown, along with sounds of thunder, the tower's windows shattering, and multiple huge explosions. Then Raven appears)
Linkara (v/o): Yeah, that doesn't go well. Raven is completely under Trigon's will, acting as his herald before he arrives, and Earth is completely overrun by Trigon's power. And take a look at this, because hot damn, this is creepy stuff: tendrils of people encompassing everything, the ground itself forming hands that clutch buildings!
Linkara: This is horror material right here, people! This is the kind of stuff that should be talked about on Longbox of the Damned!
Linkara (v/o): Not even the Titans are immune to this! Here, look at this! (panel shows Titans screaming as their tendrils encompass everything) You may begin screaming!
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Yu-Gi-Oh)
Jaden Yuki: It's official: definitely having nightmares tonight!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Fortunately, the people of Azarath planned for all of this and set up a little scheme that would help Raven and the Titans destroy Trigon once and for all... (under his breath) at least the stupid opening of Judd Winick's "Titans" book. (louder again) And of course, in a book like this, there were repercussions. There was major media attention on the group after they had saved the world, their tower had been destroyed, and Raven was presumed dead, or at the very least, missing. The Titans themselves experienced their worst fears and weren't certain what that really meant for them.
Linkara: But enough about emotional crises or demonic creatures intent on taking over the world.
(He reaches his hand out as the Street Fighter clip with M. Bison is shown again and pushes it out of the way)
Linkara: Did the joke already. Let's talk about romance!
Linkara (v/o): It was established pretty early on that both Dick Grayson and Starfire had a thing for each other. However, Donna Troy had a romance with a non-powered guy, Terry Long, who a lot of people really hate because they found him kind of creepy and pervy, which is really odd to me. He was apparently not Donna's teacher, so it's not like he was dating a student. Yes, there was a ten-year age gap between them, but they were both legal. He was a divorcee and... he was... normal. In fact, that was probably his biggest sin: he was just a regular guy and there wasn't a lot of drama, other than him occasionally being in danger, which was just a subversion of the trope of male heroes defending non-powered female love interests.
Linkara: And honestly, despite the problem of a lack of drama... (hesitates slightly) I actually liked that. I liked that a superhero and a normal person could get together and get married and... she didn't just end up with another superhero, because that's what's expected.
Linkara (v/o): Speaking of their marriage, you want to know something else different for the time? The wedding issue of the two had no interruptions by supervillains. No big, massive drama caused by evildoers, no interruptions to fight crime; the two just get married and the drama is character stuff, like Beast Boy arranging for an illusion to be cast over Cyborg so people see him as normal for those who don't know the Titans' identities and Cyborg being pissed about it. And of course, new characters were introduced as time went on, with less-than-stellar results. First up was a crystal spinner named Kole, who sadly was created solely to die. You see, "Crisis On Infinite Earths" was coming up, and since so many creators were giving up characters to die in the event, Marv Wolfman felt the need to do the same with a character of his own creation. He later regretted the decision, but yeah, she was killed in "Crisis" only a short time after she debuted. The other, however, is probably the most loathed, despised and irritating character in the entirety of "The Teen Titans". Nobody liked him, nobody respected him, and he was shuffled off the team rather unceremoniously to tie into events happening in the Batman books at the time. His name was Danny Chase.
Linkara: (rolls eyes) Danny Chase. (sighs, then brightens up) Danny Chase is my favorite superhero of all time. And he's my favorite member of the Titans. I am not kidding at all. I love the little brat.