Despite the popularity of the Teen Titans animated series, the DC Comics version has been hesitant to reference its roster in continuity – until now.
Spoiler Warning for Teen Titans #47
The Teen Titans have always held a weird place in DC Comics, having a hard time finding a consistent audience in recent years. But one version of the team that has been consistently successful is the version which first premiered in the 2003 animated series. Though nostalgia for the series is at an all-time high, DC has been hesitant to bring those same characters together in the mainstream universe… until now.
The arrival of Teen Titans #47 sees the return of the Titan’s most iconic incarnation–with a few interesting additions. The new issue issue by Robbie Thompson and Javi Fernandez sees the current group of Titans trying to make up for their past sins by recapturing all of the criminals who escaped from their prison. Unfortunately, the last villain left, Joystick, has taken control of Red Arrow and Kid Flash, leaving Lobo’s daughter Crush and Roundhouse to fight off their friends. And with this being the final issue of this Teen Titans comic, there’s no telling how the fight will turn out.
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Fortunately, as it often does with the Titans, teamwork wins out. And With their last villain defeated, the team is unsure where to go or what to do–which is when they find a note addressed to them from their former leader, former friend, and former Robin, Damian Wayne. With the hope that they’ll finally get to reunite with their friend, the group runs halfway across the city to a rooftop to find a different Robin expecting them. Nightwing greets the team and invites them to join Titans Tower… along with himself, Starfire, Raven, Cyborg, Donna Troy, and DC’s favorite shapeshifter, Beast Boy.
This moment will undoubtedly be a catharsis for longtime fans of the animated series who have been waiting for their team to make an appearance in the DC Universe. Despite the animated series’ popularity among millennials, DC hasn’t brought these characters back together in mainstream DC Continuity since the animated series ended in 2006. Given that DC is bringing Red X into comics as well, it appears as though DC is finally realizing the potential of tapping into nostalgia for the animated series.
What makes the moment so satisfying, though, is that it isn’t just an appeal to fans of the animated series, but fans of the comics too. This is the same lineup (only missing Wally West) that revitalized the Teen Titans all the way back when The New Teen Titans debuted in the ’80s (with Deathstroke’s darkest Titans story). Ever since the New 52 reboot, it hasn’t been clear whether that era of the team even happened. Cyborg hasn’t been associated with the team ever since then, and Nightwing hasn’t had many interactions with his former teammates either.
The reason the animated series and The New Teen Titans worked so well is that these characters are all distinct and play off one another in fun ways. However, instead of just replicating that, future Titans comics will have new additions for these characters to interact with. Millennials who grew up with the animated series will no doubt be interested in seeing what the often rebooted Donna Troy adds to the mix, while longtime comic readers will want to see how the group of former sidekicks handle being mentors. Teen Titans #47 might be the current run’s end, but it still promises an exciting future for the beloved team.
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