When I was starting out collecting comic books (ages ago now), one of the first comic books I got off the rack was ‘The New Teen Titans #33’ entitled ‘Crossroads’. This book had a huge influence on me as I entered the world of graphic fiction. Of course, it helped that the book was created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez at the height of their powers.
From there, I started backtracking till I got their original run, and continued beyond. So, when I got wind that a live action ‘Titans’ series was happening, I was one of those fanboys who jumped at the opportunity to see the characters I grew up with, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The first season of ‘Titans’ introduced us to our main protagonists. Just like the comics, the origin story of the group revolves around Rachel Roth aka Raven, who is being hunted down by a cult (though not named, I suspect it to be the Cult of Blood) that intends to use her to fulfill a doomsday prophecy. Rachel is shown to have some mysterious dark power that takes over her from time to time.
Aiding her in her struggles against the cult is Richard ‘Dick’ Grayson aka Robin. Dick is estranged from his mentor, Batman, and has carved his own life as a police detective. Along the way, they run into memory-wiped Kory Anders aka Starfire, an alien from another planet. These three add to their ranks Garfield Logan aka Beast Boy, a shape shifter, who has taken a liking to Rachel. With these characters, you have your initial core group of Titans, though they do not call themselves that just yet.
As the story progresses in season one, we get our first glimpse of most of the characters that appear on ‘Doom Patrol’, and other heroes they encounter (who might eventually join the group). Amongst them are Donna Troy, Dick’s long-time friend and counterbalance to his brooding demeanor. Just like Dick (who is the protege of Batman), Donna has a storied mentor in the form of Wonder Woman. At the onset, she and Kory come to near blows, but this is typical of two alpha females.
Another pair of heroes who might join the group (and are acquaintances of both Dick and Dona) is Hawk and Dove. Hawk aka Hank Hall is a former football star while Dove aka Dawn Granger is a former ballerina. Both fight crime on the streets quite similarly to the way Robin does.
However, there is some animosity between Dick and Hand which might (or undoubtedly) have something to do with Dick’s intimate relationship with Dawn. Together, Dick, Donna, Hank and Dawn represent the younger generation of heroes (unlike Batman and Wonder Woman) with Dick and Donna also being former sidekicks of their mentors.
At season one’s end, ‘Titans’ left the group (minus Hawk and Dove) engaged with a battle against Rachel’s father, Trigon, an inter-dimensional demon. The season ended with a cliffhanger that involves Robin facing his own inner conflict with Batman. With that, we enter season two with many more stories to tell.
Recent news and trailers verified the presence of a classic Titans villain in the form of Deathstroke, The Terminator. With him, are his son Joseph Wilson (also in the comics – known as Jericho), and daughter Rose Wilson (known as Ravager in the comics).
Deathstroke adds to the list of early comics villains from ‘The New Teen Titans’ comics as he joins Trigon and the Church of Blood (with a possible Brother Blood appearance, maybe?). Deathstroke’s presence opens the door to many more comic book references, including the seminal ‘Judas Contract’ story arc.
Also, for those who were fortunate enough to catch it at the end of season one, there was a tease of a character that we usually find in Young Justice. Superboy aka Conner (Kent?) will be appearing in the show along with Krypto, the super dog. This completes DC Trinity’s younger counterparts with Conner joining Dick and Donna to (eventually) form their own ‘Titans’ trinity.
Aside from these storytelling additions, there will be the continuation of the Trigon story arc carried over from season one’s cliffhanger. If the comic books are to be any guide, the Titans will come out of this alive, but with major repercussions since Trigon has been known in the comic books to manipulate minds and emotions (just like Raven).
Having said that, the major draw of ‘Titans’ is the growth of these characters from the shadows of their mentors. There’s a lot of teenage angst shown in the series, but this reflects on the transitions happening to these young heroes as they emerge reformed into better versions of themselves worth emulating.
Unlike ‘Doom Patrol’ and ‘Swamp Thing‘, ‘Titans’ forges a different path to development in the DC Universe. The series focuses on youthful rebellion transformed into responsible adulthood. The process isn’t pretty, and ‘Titans’ shows just how dirty the hands of these young heroes can get. However, the metamorphosis these characters experience is very relatable to the challenges people face on a daily basis (and then some). Indeed, ‘Titans’ shows us how to get back into the light once we have faced our own darkness.
Season two of ‘Titans’ is now ongoing.