Monday, September 12, 2011

Moments That Made the Bronze (and Modern) Age: The New Teen Titans Begin

In the 70's and 80's, there were a few comics that I consistently picked up as much as my allowance would allow. Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up, Uncanny X-Men, and then another title came along that pulled me to the DC side of things: The New Teen Titans.

In the 70's I had read a few issues of the Teen Titans, mostly when I saw Hawk and Dove in there. When DC decided it was time to recreate the team, they supplemented a few other comics with a special preview of the New Teen Titans comic.

There were those I recognized instantly (Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl) along with new faces that I didn't (Changeling, Starfire, Cyborg, and Raven). But this series had so much going for it that it couldn't lose in my eyes.

First, the artwork. George Perez knocked it out of the ballpark with every issue he drew. The addition of Changeling's new name and costume (formerly Beast Boy) really caught me. I had never seen him before in his Doom Patrol days, but his ability to turn into animals intrigued me. I have never been a big fan of Cyborg, but this is where he got his start.

This series also launched a few other famous DC characters' careers. Deathstroke the Terminator was introduced in the second issue and quickly became a staple in the DC universe. Looking at how he's crossed over into so many titles (and now thanks to the reboot even has one of his own) it's hard to imagine his humble roots as a new villain from Teen Titans.

Another favorite DC character of mine was the Vigilante, introduced in the second Teen Titans Annual. He was DC's answer to the Punisher (who was Marvel's answer to the old Executioner novels) and had some pretty cool weapons going for him, including gold nunchaku and various guns. He got a series of his own that lasted for 50 issues or so before DC had him commit suicide to deal with all he'd done as Vigilante. That decision sucked, by the way.

Eventually, Robin even underwent quite the life-change by becoming Nightwing. And hey, who could ever forget "The Judas Contract", a storyline in which one of the team--Terra--actually betrayed them to Deathstroke and was eventually killed by the end of it all. That particular story was so powerful that twenty years later Geo-Force (Terra's brother) faced off against Deathstroke and tried to kill him for turning Terra and having a hand in her death. That, my friends, is a grudge!

There are so many other moments in the series that deserve noting, but taking it all back to the beginning I have to say picking up that sampler and eventually the first issue made me a happy camper in the 80's.


Chris said...

Ironically, despite being a HUGE Teen Titans fan, I've never read this run. I got started with the Geoff Johns/Mike McKone run's been hit/miss since they left. I was listening to a podcast the other day about the original run and they mentioned that it still holds up well to this day...I'll go check it out.

Dr. OTR said...

In the early 80s, the New Teen Titans and Fury of Firestorm were my two must-reads. I haven't read an issue of NTT in 25 years -- ought to go and buy some! (Alas, I ditched mine in college.) Recently bought a couple of old Firestorms in the dollar bin, and they've held up really well.

Brian Reaves said...

The "New Teen Titans Omnibus" just came out last week, and it contains the first 24 issues of the run. It's a little pricey, but on Amazon it's not that bad. Compared to the "Archive" editions DC put out of this series at $50 a pop, the omnibus is cheap and worth the money.

Firestorm's run was recently published (the first part of it anyway) in a TPB, Doc. You should check it out if you love that series.

Chris said...

George Perez is doing a signing on Oct 1 at a local comic shop...I'm bringing my JLA/Avengers and Crisis on Infinite Earth Absolute Editions for him to sign.

I mayyyyy just have to pick up the NTT Absolute also...kill two birds with one stone; get a good read...and get Perez's sig (apparently he's been suffering some health problems as of late.)

dbutler16 said...

The New Teen Titans was my second favorite DC comic back in the day, after the Legion of Super-Heroes. Great stories and George Perez in his prime!

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