Teen Titans: Then & Now Review

(This review may contain spoilers for the story content.)

Introduction: Hello, valued readers. Today’s comic review is on a story arc that I have known I had wanted to review for a while but kept putting off because I did not want to oversaturate this review blog with Titans tales. However, whenever I would reflect on what comic story to review next, “Teen Titans: Then & Now” continually sprung to mind, so I finally gave in. This story is from Teen Titans Vol 2, which lasted from 1996-1998 and starred a brand new team of Titans that had no prior connections to any of the past incarnations. The main arc of “Then & Now” takes place within issues #12-15, with #16 being an epilogue. The comic is written and penciled by Dan Jurgens, with the Titan-famous George Pérez running inks within the main arc. “Then & Now” is by far one of my favorite Titans stories ever—and this statement is coming from someone who has read every Titans tale from inception to 2018. The title “Then & Now” stems from the fact that the story equally uses both original Titans as well as the new team, marking the first meetings between the veterans and the rookies. Additionally, the story’s name reflects how the events of the story are a result of the Titans’ past affecting the present. All-in-all, this story holds much significance, on which I will elaborate shortly.

Plot Summary: Nightwing (Dick Grayson) summons his old teammates, Flash (Wally West), Tempest (Garth), and Arsenal (Roy Harper), when he receives a distress message from Loren Jupiter, their incarnation of the Teen Titans’ old benefactor and now current benefactor for the team’s newest incarnation, which consists of Atom (Ray Palmer), Argent (Toni Monetti), Joto (Isaiah Crockett), Risk (Cody Driscoll), and Prysm (Audrey Spears). Learning that Jupiter has been kidnapped, the four original Titans investigate. As they do so, they slowly begin to regain memories of a past adventure, shown via flashback. The past adventure put them up against the villain Haze, Jupiter’s son, whom they deduce is behind the current goings-on as well.

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A severely burned Joto dies, proud to be a Titan

Arriving at Haze’s hideout, the original Titans are forced to battle the new Teen Titans when Haze’s illusion-casting powers cause each set of Titans to perceive the other as enemies. The originals fight off young versions of themselves, who taunt them about their insecurities, while the Teen Titans face off against a grouping of the foes they have already gone up against. Once the illusion is broken, the teams work together to defeat Haze. While Haze is defeated, Joto dies in the process, when he absorbs a raging inferno into himself to rescue Jupiter. The heat was too much for Isaiah, and he burnt out and died in Risk’s arms, using his last breaths to say, “Tell…my family I love them very, very…much. Tell them…I died…a Titan.” Everyone involved attends Isaiah’s funeral. Joto’s teammates, unsure how Isaiah felt about them, feel ill-at-ease until Omen teleports into the room and reads Isaiah’s journal aloud to them, so that they can all know how he felt toward them. Inspired by Joto’s serious attitude toward being a hero and a Titan, Argent buckles down and decides they should likewise take being heroes seriously. She rallies her teammates, but Jupiter enters the room and announces that the Teen Titans are once again disbanded.

Plot Analysis: Dan Jurgens crafts an intricately executed plot that accomplishes a multitude of significant objectives at once. Firstly, Jurgens brings the founding members of the Teen Titans together (sans Donna Troy, who was de-powered and grieving the loss of her child at the time). At this point, this new Teen Titans series has been around for about a year, but because the five members did not have ties to the previous incarnations of the team, some fans were skeptical of them and kept them at arms-length, emotionally speaking. Fans missed the classic characters. Jurgens addressed this issue by having the active founding members guest-star for this story arc. Not only did Jurgens use Dick, Wally, Garth, and Roy, he used them to serve as proxies for the fans who favored the “traditional” characters. Each issue of the main arc had one of the four narrate, allowing readers to see their thoughts and view the story from their varying perspectives. Jurgens wrote each character so that their thoughts toward the new Teen Titans reflected various opinions fans had (and had published through the titles letter columns), while making sure the words were given using each character’s respective voice so that they were still “them” and not simply stand-ins for the readers.

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The four male founding Titans reunite

They wonder if the new kids deserve the mantle or if they have what it takes to be heroes, but they ultimately come to view the kids as Titans. By having the older Titans acknowledge the new kids, Jurgens placates many Titans fans who were similarly skeptical of the newest TT team. “If Nightwing and the others can accept them as Titans, so can I,” is what I believe Jurgens was hoping fans would think. In this effort, I think Jurgens enhanced the effect of the original Titans’ acceptance of the newer team by having them address many fans’ issues with the new group. If they had not, their acceptance may have seemed like a transparent ploy to have reluctant readers accept the new kids, which could have made them dislike Atom’s team even more. However, by raising the concerns and pushing through them, the original Titans’ acceptance gained more credibility. In-universe, this acceptance worked on two levels: The older Titans felt better about the new kids using the name, and the new team felt like they had earned the right to use the name. Having the two incarnations being connected by their shared association with Loren Jupiter helped by giving Jurgens an extra excuse to unite these heroes (Titans Together!)

Jurgens also resolved a mystery that had been perplexing the Titans mythos for decades—the origins of Lilith Clay. In the original Teen Titans series, Lilith grew up as an adopted child. When her powers manifested, she wondered who her birth parents were and how they may have been the source for her psychic abilities. In a few backup features during that era of publication, Lilith investigated this mystery, to no avail. In pre-Crisis history, when Lilith briefly joined the New Teen Titans, an origin was given. In this history, Lilith was the daughter of Thia, one of the Titans of Myth, a sun goddess, and an unnamed human businessman whom Thia killed to gain wealth and status on the earthly plane. Lilith had developed heat-based powers on top of her classic precognitive powers. The NTT defeated Thia, and Lilith decided to stay in Olympus with her newly discovered family, as a demigoddess. However, Crisis on Infinite Earths retconned this origin. The Titans of Myth were good-natured people who had connections to Donna Troy. Thus, Lilith was without an origin again.

Meanwhile, the character Omen began appearing at the beginning of Jurgens’ new Teen Titans title as a quasi-member of the team, but everything about Omen was purposefully left as a mystery to the team. They did not even know her gender. All they knew were her various powers, including teleportation, levitation, precognition, telepathy, and other psychic abilities. “Then & Now” revealed the mystery of who Omen was, while also providing a new origin for Lilith Clay, as she discovers that she is the daughter of Loren Jupiter and an unnamed psychic woman who taught her how to develop her powers (although she did not learn this until long after the original Teen Titans had disbanded). Omen/Lilith also served as an extra means of connecting the two teams, as she was a member of both groups. Plus, her relation to Jupiter (and thus Haze) furthered the plot. Additionally, with Donna Troy not being used in this story, Lilith met the role of “female original Titan,” and it felt nice to see Lilith catch up with the four older boys at a bar in the epilogue.

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Pictured from left to right: Risk, Argent, Prysm, Atom (on Prysm’s shoulder), and Joto—with Omen on bottom; Omen reads Isaiah’s thoughts on his teammates

While Jurgens focused on the original Titans a considerable amount, I assure you that “Then & Now” had a large impact on the new team as well. As a whole, this team did not take being heroes very seriously. They did not even give themselves the Teen Titans mantle; a reporter who saw them in action when they first met and worked together did. Furthermore, Jupiter more-or-less pushed them into being heroes, financing their operation. Most of the 16-year-old kids were immature and lacked perspective. They did not fully comprehend the weight of what it means to be a hero: sacrifice. At least, they did not understand until one of their own, Joto, died in front of them after sacrificing himself to save Jupiter. This tragedy changes the hearts of the Titans remaining, especially Argent and Risk, who had been taking heroics the least seriously up to this point. Many readers saw these carefree, reckless attitudes and refused to consider these new kids Titans. However, after this story arc, readers wrote into DC, having had changed their minds. Joto’s sacrifice embodied what it meant to be a Titan, and readers began accepting him and the rest of the team as Titans as a result. With Jupiter forcibly disbanding the team, Argent takes it upon herself in issues after this story to gather everyone and be a team again to honor Isaiah, and this time, she understands the weight of being a hero. Jupiter’s ending the Titans is symbolic in a way—it signified the end of the team as they were, so that readers new that the team had gone through a metamorphosis into true heroes, true Titans (complete with new uniforms for Argent and Risk).

Characterization: Within “Then & Now,” Jurgens manages to juggle 10 Titans, as well as creating and exploring the psyche of a villain, Haze. Each character used is not simply a puppet performing a show. None of them are “all action.” Jurgens emphasizes each character’s personality traits, as well as their skills and abilities. Those interested in reading “Then & Now” can be at ease knowing that characterization is a strong point of the book in addition to the consequences of the plot points discussed above.

  • Original Titans: Jurgens captures the essences of the original Titans used in the story by exploring a number of their traits. Beyond just focuses on their modern-day personalities, Jurgens also illustrates his knowledge of the characters by depicting their past-selves personalities in the flashback scenes. The flashback shows the original Titans using their cheesy lingo (“Robin-O” and the like), and it shows Wally and Roy competing to flirt with Donna. I found Jurgens’ ability to implement varying personalities in both the past and present to be impressive.
    • Nightwing/Robin (Dick Grayson): Dick is a highly empathetic and compassionate person. When the four founding boys regroup at the beginning of the story, Wally breaks the news to Dick that Donna lost her son Robbie. Dick is shocked and instantly sheds a tear. He takes a moment of silence to process the information before regaining himself and telling them, “Come on. Let’s get to work,” which shows his sense of responsibility and duty. Additionally, Jurgens highlights Dick’s natural leadership. At first, Roy and Wally each challenge his leadership, but Dick’s research and understanding of the situation, among other things, leads them to accept Dick’s instructions yet again. When the originals meet up with the new Teen Titans, the younger heroes also immediately accept Dick’s leadership. Dick’s demeanor demands respect, and I respected Jurgens’ use of that trait.
    • Flash/Kid Flash (Wally West): Wally is a very conservative, traditionalist in nearly every way. As such, he is very hesitant and even initially rude to the new group of kids using the name that he helped found. Given how he worked to earn respect and acceptance as Barry Allen’s successor to the Flash moniker, he feels that the kids had not earned the name Teen Titans yet, although he eventually warms up to them a little. Additionally, his status as a JLA-er may have something to do with how harshly he treats the kids who initially treat heroics haphazardly.
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      Roy accepts his new red Arsenal uniform

      Arsenal/Speedy (Roy Harper): When “Then & Now” begins, Roy is still using his yellow, metal-plated uniform, as well as the crossbows and guns and he used while wearing it. He notes, though, that he misses a bow. When Haze amplifies his powers to allow him to actually affect reality in issue #15, he reaches into Roy’s mind to show off how he could make their innermost dreams come true. When he does so, Roy’s yellow, armored uniform is replaced with a red, sleeker uniform that greatly resembles Green Arrow’s original uniform (but in red), the uniform Roy grew up admiring when he was Ollie’s sidekick as Speedy. With the new uniform came a longbow and trick arrows (which he had not used since he first gave up the “Speedy” moniker). After Haze is apprehended, Roy decides to keep the uniform, admitting that it feels “right” to him. He says that the previous Arsenal uniform was him running away from his roots and that he feels more at home in the red suit. In this way, Jurgens used this story to slip in a development of Roy’s character as Arsenal. Additionally, after the funeral, Dick suggests that Roy should stay around with the new Teen Titans team and use his experience to serve as a mentor (which he does in later issues).

    • Tempest/Aqualad (Garth): Garth has always been the more soft-hearted and level-headed of the original group. He is diplomatic and keeps the others from bumping heads as often as they would otherwise. This story is the first time that his friends have seen him since he acquired the Tempest identity and the new abilities that came with it, powers he displays rather efficiently in this story.
    • Omen/Lilith (Lilith Clay): Lilith was kidnapped as well during the initial parts of the story, but her advanced powers as Omen came in handy multiple times in the arc, particularly her teleportation ability. After her identity is revealed, she seemed nervous in approaching Dick and the others, but after having the chance to explain herself, she is visibly relieved to spend time with her old friends again.
  • Teen Titans (current incarnation): The new team of Teen Titans received a decent amount of characterization as well, considering they are the stars of the book and considering Jurgens created them and knows their personalities quite well.
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      A gigantic Atom saves the day

      Atom (Ray Palmer): A veteran hero and JLA-er who wad de-aged into a teenager during the “Zero Hour” event, Ray Palmer had a habit of insisting (more to himself than to others) that he is Justice League-class, partially because he doubted his own abilities upon becoming a teenager again and losing some of his memories. By the start of this story, the Teen Titans had just finished helping during the “Genesis” event, whereupon an energy wave affected metahuman powers. In addition to regaining some of his memories, Atom gained the ability to grow as well as shrink, an ability that he exclusively uses during his tenure as a Teen Titan. Jurgens debuted this ability in this story, and the ability was very helpful in a number of situations.

    • Argent (Toni Monetti): Argent was the spoiled rich kid who was used to getting everything she wanted. She was very extroverted, proud of her body, and she liked the finer things. Like Risk, Argent did not always take being a hero seriously, but Joto’s death really affected her. She was humbled and understood the weight of what it meant to sacrifice for others. The lesson Toni learns in this story carries with her, as she gradually matures and becomes a truer hero. In later stories, she adopts a leadership role in the field, and her sincerity in becoming a hero impresses the older Titans so much that she is invited to join the reformed Titans when the older members reform in Titans (1999). So, this story was a major turning point for her character. Argent’s powers include construct creation out of a silver plasma energy she can generate.
    • Risk (Cody Driscoll): Risk is an overconfident, hot-tempered teenager who wants to charge into a fight rather than think ahead, for which Tempest scolds him. Risk had a habit of underestimating opponents, including Haze. Risk’s powers include superhuman physical stats across the board (strength, durability, speed, reflexes, agility, etc.). Risk and Joto had a love-hate relationship. They ragged on each other constantly, especially Cody toward Isaiah. So when Isaiah dies, Cody regrets being so hard on him, but he is very relieved to hear Isaiah’s sister tell him that he considered Cody a friend, a sentiment that was elaborated upon when Omen read Isaiah’s journal aloud (shown in an image earlier in this review; scroll back to it to read Isaiah’s thoughts on Cody and the others). Given that Isaiah died in his arms, Cody’s haphazard attitude is changed by the epilogue.
    • Prysm (Audrey Spears): Raised in a virtual world where life is perfect and everyone gets along, Prysm remains a little innocent and naive at times, and those traits presented themselves in this story. Because of her upbringing, she shows great respect for the veteran Titans. Prysm’s powers include flight, illumination, and energy projection (hot blasts of destructive energy). Her body has a semi-transparent crystal appearance, and she changes color according to her mood.
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      Joto, the man of the hour

      Joto (Isaiah Crockett): Much has already been said about Joto. While he does not have the strongest personality among his group, Isaiah shows the most heart. When his teammates get heated or otherwise out-of-hand, Joto is the one to calm them down. Furthermore, he repeatedly expresses his earnestness in wanting to be a hero, to be somebody younger kids can look up, somebody whom Superman would be proud to stand by. Joto’s primary power is thermokinesis, meaning he projects heat from his body. His body gets hot and he can melt almost anything he touches, turning it into slag. Additionally, he can project a “heat pulse” to sense everything within an area, including the amount of people in a building and other details. Isaiah is extremely smart, already attending university by the time he turned 16 years old. If the “Joto” moniker is not familiar, perhaps you will recognize the moniker “Hot Spot”/”Hotspot,” the name he uses in the Teen Titans animated series and in later comics (spoiler alert: he does not stay dead for long, but the consequences of his death are everlasting).

  • Haze (Jarrod Jupiter): Jarrod Jupiter, only slightly older than Dick and the others, is upset that Loren Jupiter was not around when he was growing up. He thought that Loren abandoned him, despite the truth being that Jarrod’s mother left Loren. Jarrod was jealous of the Titans for taking Mr. Jupiter’s attentions, both the older and newer teams. And he was especially hateful toward Lilith, whom he believed Loren left his family to be with (again, a deluded falsity). As Haze, he kidnapped and killed popular students at his private high school to lure the Teen Titans to investigate so that he could exact revenge on them. His plans then were foiled, but he resurfaced in the present to set up this situation. In the midst of the chaos, he pleaded repeatedly for Loren to love him and asked why he refused to do so. The “Genesis” event awakened a number of telepathic powers in Jarrod, which he used in this latest attempt. He imprisoned over a hundred people in his home base to leech psychic energy from. Ultimately, he used a drug he invented to send himself into lucid dream where he, Loren, and Lilith were all one happy family. Haze was a tragic villain, but given the amount of deaths he caused, my sympathy is miniscule.

Art: Dan Jurgens’ work throughout “Then & Now” is superb. I really love his style, with the detail put into the line-work. Because Jurgens is the writer, he knows exactly how he envisions the characters appearing when they are doing or saying certain things, and the story greatly benefits from that story-art coordination. He draws the older Titans as if he had been doing it for years, and he draws his own creations (the current Teen Titans) as consistently well-done as ever. One moment that thoroughly impressed me was the scene when Haze creates constructs of a massive array of adversaries from the Titans’ past (displayed below). The sheer amount of detail that was used for each character on those pages wowed me. I also loved how he used Punch (Sylvester Sebastopol), a one-off villain from the original Teen Titans series. Given how the story focuses a lot on the original incarnation of the team, I appreciated a villain from that era thrown into the mix. Now, some characters who are not villains, per se, but were adversaries at one point (Red Star, Thunder, and Lightning) are shown among the crowd, but I can accept that, especially when they are drawn so well. It is not an error, given that Dick notes in the story that Haze’s records of who their adversaries are was a little off. George Pérez’s inks assisted Jurgens’ pencils. Anyhow, as with everything else from this comic, I enjoyed the art.

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Titans old and new face off against Haze’s constructs of Titans adversaries

Final Remarks: One more significant detail about this story I would like to give is that the flashback has Aqualad/Garth with the team under Mr. Jupiter’s supervision. However, pre-Crisis, Aqualad was not a member during the Mr. Jupiter era. Back then, the Teen Titans went on missions using a rotational roster of Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Speedy, Lilith, Hawk (Hank Hall), Dove (Don Hall), and Mal Duncan. Later, Hawk and Dove left, and Robin and Gnarrk took their spots on the rotational roster. Crisis on Infinite Earths, though, removed Gnarrk’s tenure on the team from continuity. So, I suppose Jurgens’ story replaces Gnarrk with Aqualad in terms of the Mr. J era of TT history, which is cool to note, as Garth had not previously ever been a teammate of Lilith before this story.

As a final note, I reiterate that “Teen Titans: Then & Now” is one of my favorite Titans stories ever. It combines the classic “team-up” story type with various other elements that enhanced the story. More importantly, the story had a major impact on many of the characters used in this story and cemented Jurgens’ Teen Titans team into Titans lore and helped many readers accept them as Titans. If any of you are fans of Titans, either the well-known traditional ones or the lesser-known ones here, you will want to read this story arc at some point. It is a quality story with quality art with quality aftereffects. For you guys, I have a question and a challenge. Question: Which of the characters included in this story piqued your interest the most? Challenge: How many villains from the two-page spread I inserted below the “Art” section can you name?

Closing: I know I have said a lot about this story (because it is that important), and I hope you have enjoyed what you have read. If you have any thoughts on the comic or on my review, feel free to comment below. Thank you for reading, and I hope you have an amazing day.

Embrace Nerdom,
-Nerdy N8

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Teen Titans: Then & Now Review

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  1. You’ve read all the Titans, N8. Ever managed to get ahold of original BATB 54 or 60? And would you admit if you had? 🤑

    I see why this is such an important issue of Teen Titans. For a team whose membership changes so regularly, there’s got to be an attempt to cement the past and the present together when the membership totally turns over.

    Ok, Haze is Loren Jupiter’s son. Old Titans and New Titans battle each other because of Haze’s illusion casting powers. The Titans remember an old unrecorded battle with him. Question: Did the Titans have a memory wipe of (daddy’s boy) Haze, or was it just a plain old flashback to the first battle?

    What a heavy issue! They put new and old Titans against each other, bring back a warehouse of almost-villains; reveal a secret identity; disband the Titans; and *kill* one of the new Titans?

    Joto/ Isaiah burns out and dies. And in that moment he Inspires the other Titans. He’s wasn’t dead for long, as I read in his wiki, and pulls a ‘Spock’ (Star Trek 2-3) “Remember me.”. I’m sure that we both hope his second death in Heroes in Crisis will be as short-lived.

    I think you illustrated DC editorial’s points at the time – that the story would need to mollify fan opinion they’d collected through the letters column. Good observation that the older Titans treated the newer with a bit of disdain, the way the readers were. So the readers are placed in the shoes of the Titans, and vice-versa. And it’s certainly worked on the readers. That alone is a good subject for a review – how to start a story where the readers *are* in order to bring them where you want them. It’s a bit of a different tack than “12 Reasons…”, which starts out-of-order to show you where you’re going.

    Wow there’s a lot of characters in this story arc!

    Omen is who piqued my interest the most, for the continuity ramifications. And everyone likes a good reveal of a secret identity. (Ok. Except for Monarch in Armageddon 2001)
    Lilith Clay lost her origin through Crisis on Infinite Earths (COIE) and then was a bit of an unknown until her New Earth story was provided in ‘Then and Now’. That’s 10 years, isn’t it?
    And the soap opera family relation to the antagonist is always a winner. Do they interact much once Haze and Omen find out they’re brother and sister?

    You also point out that, in the Flashbacks, New Earth Aqualad was part of the Titans when Loren Jupiter and Lilith were around; when in The original TT stories they hadn’t. He had taken the place of Gnarrk who had been written out of continuity.

    I find the continuity changes the most interesting part of the story.

    Poor haze. Daddy didn’t love me.

    I know that you like Jurgens and Perez’s art, but you didn’t have much to say about it. To me, the fine-line style, exacting facial expression and precise layouts are more of a credit to Perez’s finishing than Jurgen’s drawing.

    I can’t name that many villains, without looking them up.
    Dr Light
    Death stroke
    Trigon
    Blood Brother
    Starfire’s Sister
    Cheshire
    Bobble-head Brainiac?
    Haze!
    Psimon

    Did I pass the test?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, Roscoe, a pleasure to see you respond so quickly to a new review. To address your points:

      I am afraid I have not been fortunate enough to be able to afford copies of BatB v1 #54 and #60 just yet, but I was able to read them thanks to my Teen Titans: The Silver Age Omnibus. I look forward to the day I can acquire copies of each of those issues in respectable condition.

      As for the cementing the past and present/future Titans comment, you are correct. The characters in-universe even note that every roster of the Teen Titans since its inception up to this point had at least one of the founding five members as a part of it, and that is true. I am sure this tradition is part of why many readers (and Wally) were hesitant to accept the new Titans kids. Dan Jurgens creating a brand new team of Teen Titans was daring, and the likes have not really been done since his run. Other teams have had either veteran members of members who succeeded a mantle that one of the veteran/traditional Titans have used (e.g. “Robin,” “Kid Flash,” “Wonder Girl,” etc.). Jurgens’ team is the only one that was unique in starting with characters having had not previously had any Titans connections, and I respect that bold move. He did placate some traditionalists by having Roy in his new red Arsenal uniform join on as a quasi-member/mentor for a short while.

      For better or worse, though, because this two-year series is the only one to use a whole cast of heroes new to the Titans mythos, more and more “traditionalists” among Titans fans will be created. The more DC says “You cannot have a Titans team without one of these veteran members/monikers,” the less likely fans are (I imagine) to be willing to accept a team of Titans that does not include one of those key members. At this rate, if any author dreams of making a team of Teen Titans using either (a) existing young heroes who have never been Titans before or (b) original characters created to be Titans for the team, that author would have a difficult time making the pitch, I would wager. Fans expect the familiar, particularly when it comes to the Teen Titans. Believe me, I love those familiar characters and names. However, I want the option of having a totally off-the-wall team to be a viable one. I am currently impressed by the current TT title written by Adam Glass, as it uses three brand-new, original-to-the-title characters for his team, and it is refreshing to see. However, he still uses a “Robin” and a “Kid Flash.” I like those characters a great deal, believe me, but I wanted to point out that Glass’ roster seems to be the most DC has been willing to stretch the Teen Titans since Jurgens’ run. I know Jurgens’ book lasted only for two years, but I believe another all-new team could have a shot of being as refreshing of an addition to Titans lore as this one was—for me at least.

      As for Haze, you bring up a good point that I did not realize I omitted. The original Teen Titans’ encounter with Haze occurred shortly after they began working with Jupiter’s supervision, which itself happened after the Titans witnessed someone die in front of them (partly because of them) for the first time. They were struggling with coping with the weight of that at the time. With Haze having had killed so many students just to draw in the TT’s attention, their guilt intensified. Loren Jupiter convinced them to let Lilith hypnotize them all so that they would forget Haze. However, in the present, Haze triggered and slowly unlocked these memories within the four male heroes. I would like to note that Haze/Jarrod was a skilled chemist. The illusions he displayed in the present were the result of his awakened powers (courtesy of the Genesis Wave), but the Haze of the past used gels and gases to create the vivid illusions and such in his victims’ minds.

      As for you talk of the story being a heavy *issue*, I would like to remind you that all of these events occurred over the course of five issues (#12-#16 of Teen Titans Vol 2), and issue #12 was double-sized. So the whole story arc took the equivalent of six issues.

      As for Isaiah, you are correct. He is rescued/brought back to life. But the details of which I shall save for later in case I do a review of this title’s final arc, in which it happens. Still, the causes of Isaiah’s return to life are so specific that I do not especially imagine they could be replicated in Prime Earth/current continuity. However, I would definitely like for Isaiah to be alive and kicking again. My heart ached when he was revealed to be dead in Heroes in Crisis #1, as he had barely made a PE debut. I can imagine ways that DC could reasonably bringing Hotspot back to the scene if he is not alive again by the end of HiC, but we do not know if DC cares enough about this Titan as much as I do, I am afraid.

      Funny that you mentioned Star Trek, though! Many of the new Teen Titans members are Star Trek fans, including Joto, Risk, and Atom. Risk and Atom argue over whether The Next Generation or The Original Series is better within “Then & Now,” actually! At least, they argue over whether Kirk or Picard was the better captain. Fun fact: Other Titans that like Star Trek include Impulse and Damage. I have not actually seen “Remember Me” as I am still personally only halfway through with The Original Series, but I will keep this conversation in mind when I finally get to that episode.

      Your observation between the differences in intention between “Then & Now” and “12 Reasons” is spot-on.

      I am glad you found the continuity revelations regarding Omen and Aqualad to be so interesting. As for Lilith, yes, after her pre-Crisis origin was retconned away, she was without an origin for about a decade. Not only was Lilith’s new origin not revealed until this point, Lilith did not even have any appearances at all after the issues showing the retcon of Titan history in NE, until she began appearing as Omen at the start of TTv2. Of course, no one at the time knew Omen was Lilith, for certain, although many guessed correctly (and many guessed incorrectly, as well; you have to love those letter columns). As for Lilith’s and Jarrod’s relationship following this arc, nothing is shown. Jarrod is in a mental ward in a self-induced, almost vegetative state as he dreams up a world where he, Lilith, and Loren are a happy family (with him being the center of attention). Lilith’s appearances are limited after this title ended, up until her death in Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day (as I detailed in a previous review—https://nerdyn8snotes.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/titans-young-justice-graduation-day-review/).

      Which one of the five, full-time members of this new generation of Teen Titans (Atom, Argent, Risk, Prysm, and Joto) interests you most? I am curious. Perhaps you like the design of one the most but the power set or personality of another most.

      I see you do not pity Haze that much. Good man.

      Regarding the art, as I have said before, I am quite unaware of how all of the penciling, inking, and coloring work together to shape the art. If I gave Jurgens credit that Pérez deserves, forgive me. I harbor a great fondness of Pérez and his work. Your observations are probably more accurate.

      As for the test, this instance was one of those times when you pass simply by taking the test in the first place. You missed a few, but I see some good effort here! Maybe after a day or two of this review being up, I will post a comment listing every character shown in that spread. Stay tuned.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It hasn’t happened for a couple years, but every so often I luck into a carton of old comics somewhere that I’m demolishing or renoing. I found Iron Man #1, Hulk #100, X-men #…9, Metamorpho Vol 1 #14, among many others, that way. I find any BATB that aren’t Metamorpho, then we’ll talk.

    From what you’ve written, I believe that you are in favour of totally original TT teams – even though Dan Jurgens had to work overtime to get his team of Newbies accepted. If the TT has since always included vets of some kind ot another, (ha. Vet. Beast boy.) i guess the message that DC editorial received was – ‘must have TT veterans’ – even 20 years later. After Flashpoint it must be so much easier to recruit TT vets because everyone is young again. (Can anybody explain ‘teen lantern’ in the similarly themed YJ book?)

    Aha! So Lilith did hypotize them, and make them forget Haze. Considering how many times this particular storytelling device has been used (Haze/Lilith, Batman/Zatanna, Wally/Abra Kadabra, Triumph/…cosmic bad luck?) it must be a comic staple by now. And Lilith (poor Lilith. The life expectancy of a Titan is somewhere between ground beef and avacado.) in PE is the one to help break the ‘spell’ of amnesia cast by Abra – but brings Abra back as well. I liked him better as a worthless birthday magician. Messing with memories rarely goes well.

    It is a little disappointing that Lilith never interacts with Haze at a Jupiter family reunion when they discover their connection. I guess the ‘Genesis Wave’ making his illusionary powers real, i guess that was to help establish that they were related by having similar powers.

    The TT’s like Star Trek? Not only is that an interesting bit of trivia – – but it’s also one of the places where cosmology gets interesting. Both our world and the DCU have a sci-fi show called ‘Star Trek’. But DC also published the Star Trek comic ongoing series; as well as having crossover with Star Trek/ Green Lanterns. That would make Star Trek both real and fictional in the same universe.

    And I think i misled you a bit. ‘Remember me’ is more or less a pivotal line from the end of Star Trek II, with my man Ricardo Montalban. But don’t let that stop you from watching the episodes. They are pleasantly ridiculous.

    This is what I wrote down for each of the ‘…Now’ Titans:

    * Atom – Youthed.
    * Argent – Spoiled Extrovert.
    * Risk – Hot head.
    * Prysm – Transparent.
    * Joto – Heart.

    And I’ve got to see the most possibility in Prysm. In the same way i like Casey Brinke, i like the sound of a somewhat fictional-fictional Titan member thrown into a real world. Very ‘Sandman’. I can relate to someone that had trouble making sense of this daily b—$#!+ – not that I came from some ideal place or anything. Prysm is going on my list of characters to follow up on.

    And I’m not knocking Jurgens art (and not just because he’s checking out your blog) – I’m just pointing out that inking is as big a part (if not a bigger part, if we’re talking an ink-genious like Janson) as the pencillers layout and figure drawing, and I can see Perez’s influence.

    I always like seeing different combinations of pencillers and inks to see invidiual styles; what works and what doesn’t. Perez for me really shines in the big splash scenes like the one you use above with all the heroes and simulated villains.

    Heh. Someone will surely name all the villains and say where they came from.

    Thanks for such a great response to my comments, N8. I’m forever in awe of your Titanic knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Geez, is Joto the DC whipping boy, or what? They killed him soon after his first appearance in NE AND PE? Suuucks.

    Also, yes, DC has really taken a risk on Adam Glass and the freedom they’ve given him has paid off. In a way it’s distressing, because I feel as though they’ve kept Dan Abnett on a short leash over on Titans. At least he was allowed to realize his Aquaman/Silencer plans relatively unimpeded.

    It’s a shame fans are so unwilling to accept new characters. I tend to love the origin stories, they’re the juicy bits.

    Liked by 1 person

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