Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Titans

One tricky thing about rebooting an entire universe at once is that you lose out on the ability to use character development to produce changes to the setting. With a reboot, you don't see the wind-up, you tune in just as the pitch has been thrown. While you can suss out what happened to lead up to the pitch, how important it is based on the current state of the game, and so on, you do miss out on the drama of the wind-up.

I think it is this lack of wind-up that has made me roll my eyes at Cyborg's inclusion in the new Justice League. Maybe I just underrate his powers, but without the in story development that helps show how/why Cyborg joins the team, he's just not tall enough to ride that ride. While I think that Cyborg would be a useful addition to the Justice League (they need a tech guy), I'd be concerned that he'd be relegated to the role of Dude Who Pilots The Plane or Watchtower Repair Technician, both of which are not-so-great roles for the teams only obvious minority.

Moving Cyborg to the Justice League just feels like a demotion. So let's keep him a teenager in the Titans. I'm striking the 'Teen' part from their title as, based on current Titans storylines, that 'teen' label does not really apply for most the team. Also, there's that whole thing about kids wanting to act older than they are, so no 18 year old would want to join a "teen" group.

In the Drewniverse, the Titans are sort of Superhero College. It's where you go after you've done your time in public school or if you need just a bit more supervision while you come to grips with your powers. Keeping with the Giant T Shaped Building theme, the 'headmaster' of our Titans is Mr. Terrific. He's older, sure, but his role is more Charlie than Angels. He provides guidance and support to the Titans and takes care of the stuff that your average teen wouldn't even have cross their mind.

A fair play RA, if you will.

Terrific started the Titans let's say three years ago. He keeps an eye (orb?) on heroic happenings and will invite young heroes to join. Titan membership is seen as a path to Justice League membership, as was the case with Star Girl, who recently "graduated" from the team, but that promotion is not guaranteed. For example, Starfire or Raven might be able to punch at the Justice League level, but Beast Boy? Not so much.

Anyways, here's our roster, largely informed by the Teen Titans animated series:

  • Cyborg - The longest serving member of the team and field leader (Cyclops to Terrific's Xavier). Victor Stone was a promising athlete who was severely injured in an accident. His father used his access to STAR Labs/LexCorp technology to restore his son (much of the same technology that went into Metallo went into Cyborg). Vic was pretty unhappy at the transformation, mainly because he wasn't consulted and felt that his dad picked having a freak over a cripple as a son. This lead him to walk away from his family, at which point Mr. Terrific approached him, filling the mentoring father figure role Vic needed.
  • Starfire - A Tamaranean Princess, Koriand'r was exiled from her home planet due to the machinations of her sister who wished to clear he lines of succession for herself. Headstrong and impulsive, our Starfire is much more the "Red Sonja in Space" of her original incarnation and less of the "tee hee I don't know I'm hot" Dream Girlfriend she later became.
  • Raven - Only begotten daughter of Trigon, Scourge of the Deepest Realm, Raven was whisked away from her father's clutches at an early age so that she might not grow up to be the vessel with which he shall use to conquer our own dimension. She grew up in a pocket dimension, but fled to Earth when Trigon showed up. Trigon is pretty much pacing at the gates to our reality now, a problem that Raven (and Agents of Fate) will have to deal with shortly.
  • Beast Boy - Not the original! The original Beast Boy/Changeling is a prisoner of The Brain, captured amidst the aftermath of the fall of the original Doom Patrol. This Beast Boy is a clone of the original, a plant (literally) being used by The Brain as part of its schemes- shades of "The Judas Contract" here. Over time, the clone will start to degrade a bit, his transformations becoming a bit "goopier" ala Clayface.
  • Blue Beetle - Jaime Reyes! Yay! Jaime was actually brought to the Titans (by Wonder Woman, no less) to be trained. I really liked Beetle's reboot, so don't really feel the need to change to much about him.
  • Static - Probably the best known of the Bang Babies, Static (Mr. Shock if you're nasty) was pulled into the team after being a bit too enthusiastic about his heroing. He's extremely capable and very confident in his abilities, so Terrific sometimes struggles to get him to play well with others. He'll be filling the role of Robin to some extent.
  • Supergirl - The most recent addition to the team, taking the place of Star Girl. There's a bit of resentment at her recent inclusion as pretty much everyone is aware she's "slumming it" with the Titans until she's called up to the League. For her part, Kara is trying to make the best of her life on Earth (I don't like the "she doesn't care about people" version of Supergirl - she's supposed to be a character readers identify with, not hold at arms length!) and gives everything her best, earnest effort. I'll have more on her in a later entry.
And there we go! Can you what Mr. Terrific is doing with his roster? No white dudes is pretty obvious, but more than that, we have young heroes that come from pretty messed up family backgrounds (notable exception being Jaime) and upbringings. The theory is, if you take a group of young people with no real family ties and build them a family, you can create a bond that will be hard to shake in the years to come, even long after they leave the team.

Now, can you guess what one of the world's smartest people will do with a unified team of superpowers? That feels like a mighty big lever to me...

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