The Teen Titans are one of the most culturally relevant super-teams in all of comic lore. DC’s team of sidekicks, younger heroes, and occasionally de-aged regular heroes has been around ever since Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad went behind their respective mentors backs in 1964, shortly joined by Wonder Girl and a swath of others. In their time, they’ve been used as DC’s answer to the X-Men, a platform to introduce new heroes who later became company icons, and a place to store and rehabilitate weak or unnecessary characters. All things considered, they’re a great team. But they suffer from what could be called “the boarding school effect”, a phenomenon that occurs when you give teenagers with powers or advantages a private tower to mess around in with little to no adult supervision.
The first thing that’s guaranteed to happen is that hormones will run wild and couples will form. Unfortunately, teenagers don’t always have the best judgement, especially when it comes to romance, and Teen Titans has been responsible for giving comic readers some of the worst comic couples ever put to print. These range from the obscenely boring to the outright offensive, but certainly outnumber the good relationships that the series has given readers.
15. ROBIN AND STARFIRE
What? Dick Grayson and Starfire? The quintessential Teen Titans couple? Well what on earth are they doing on a list like this? It’s true that the two were a cornerstone of arguably the most popular iterations of the team, and it’s just as true that their romance has continued to define them going into the modern day, but there’s a bizarrely understated aspect of their relationship.
It’s sort of like the relationship between Jean Grey and Cyclops in that it’s important to character and narrative dynamics, but is pretty bland and arbitrary when you get right down to it. In both cases, it’s very much an instance of the most popular guy and most popular girl getting together because that’s what the popular kids do when the parents give them a special playhouse to be alone in. At the end of the day, it’s downright generic.
14. AQUAGIRL AND STATIC
Aquagirl and Static entered into a brief and unpopular romantic relationship right around the time that the Teen Titans reached the lowest point in their cultural relevance. The two may or may not be related, though its not clear which would have caused the other. The two met when captured by the Terror Titans and forced to fight as gladiators in the Dark Side Club.
When released, Aquagirl convinced Static to stay with the Teen Titans and become a member, despite the fact that both had been missing for months and Static informed her that he had a family that was probably really worried about him. The relationship didn’t last, partially because Static was actually written as an intelligent and capable hero, partially because Aquagirl was depicted as flirt who talked up most of the other male heroes on the team, and partially because nobody really cared about them.
13. BEAST BOY AND TERRA
To be fair, the initial romance between Beast Boy and Terra before the events of “The Judas Contract” was fairly well received. They had believable chemistry and personalized interactions that made their brief relationship have meaning outside of narrative context. And therein lies the problem. Their puppy love romance was so integral to the plot of one of the most iconic Teen Titans stories of all time that any reference, remake, or reimagining of “The Judas Contract” has to have them front and center.
Through time, a few cartoon shows, an animated movie, and several comic lines, their coupling has suffered from overexposure to the point where it began to feel exploitative and fans became disgusted by the repetition of it all. Fortunately, DC hasn’t remade the storyline for the Rebirth era yet so they may have learned their lesson on this one.
12. BLUE BEETLE AND TRACI 13
The struggle of naming all the problems with the relationship between Blue Beetle and Traci 13 isn’t finding all of them but deciding where to begin. For starters, they were never officially a couple but treated each other like they were dating. The ambiguous nature of their relationship made for several poor decisions including Traci’s call not to join the Teen Titans as she thought working with her ‘boyfriend’ would be weird, though it didn’t stop Beetle from openly flirting with Aquagirl.
There’s also the nebulous nature of Traci’s mystic powers which are best described as ‘some kind of magic’ which somehow ties her into the true nature of reality, thus making her inexplicitly important to the “Flashpoint” event. In the restructured universe, she’s dating Natasha Irons which is really best for everyone involved.
11. KID DEVIL AND RAVAGER
By all accounts and logic, this one really should have worked. Kid Devil was the Faustian apprentice to Blue Devil, a naïve young hero in over his head more often than not. Ravager was the reformed daughter of Deathstroke, largely jaded with the various goings on of her more innocent teammates on the Titans. Their dynamic did tend to work as they played off each other, beginning with Kid Devil’s soft crush on Ravager and her gradual endearment with him.
Their romance grew over time from just hanging out around Titans Tower to late-night skinny-dipping sessions. So why do they make the list? Simply because never in the course of their relationship did anyone so much as say they were together. As far as the writers seemed to be concerned, they were just tender friends and nothing more, despite the clamoring of the fans who wanted them to be official.
10. SUPERBOY AND WONDER GIRL
For years, fans had been calling for Superman and Wonder Woman to get together, seeing the pairing of the two most powerful members of the DC Trinity as the end all be all of ships. Then New 52 answered their wish and showed fans the folly of their request. But years before, writers experimented with this pairing by putting together their respective young allies. Superboy and Wonder Girl met as members of Young Justice where she harbored a long-standing unrequited crush on the Boy of Steel.
In the very last arc of the initial comic line, Superboy arbitrarily revealed that he’d secretly reciprocated her feelings for years and wanted to pursue a relationship. Wonder Girl agreed and the two stayed together pretty much until “Flashpoint” turned everything topsy-turvy. Apart from the weird jump start to the relationship, it was weirdly boring despite the real chemistry between the characters.
9. BEAST BOY AND RAVEN
One’s a perpetually immature, prank-obsessed shape-shifter. The other’s a half-demon sorceress prophesied to bring about the apocalypse. Individually, they’re compelling and deep characters with multiple layers of development worth scrutinizing and analyzing, but together they’re…surprisingly boring. For one thing, they didn’t even show remote romantic interest in one another until the team’s fourth incarnation, almost 30 years removed from their mutual debuts. And the build-up to their romance was so long and drawn out that even the writers of The Office could have told them to speed things up a bit.
They shared little chemistry and the general gist of their relationship seemed to be parasitic, with Raven leeching the optimism and good feelings from Beast Boy. Fortunately, this has been erased in the current Rebirth line with an emphasized age difference between the two of them and vastly divergent personalities.
8. TEMPEST AND DOLPHIN
In his time in print, Garth has undergone some of the strangest character changes in all of comics, transforming from a sickly and pale Aqualad to the powerful and confident Tempest. Throughout this change, he’s had flings with everyone from Aquagirl to Omen, but his weirdest and least-liked relationship was with half-fish hero Dolphin. Why was this seen as an awkward coupling?
Well part of it was the vast differences in physiology but there was also the small matter that Dolphin was the ex-girlfriend of Aquaman, Tempest’s mentor. Though the king of Atlantis gave the duo his blessing, have you ever dated your teacher’s ex and had it end well? Of course you haven’t because that’s literally insane. The two even married and had a child together before DC reset the clock on the entire universe, thankfully erasing this relationship from existence.
7. RAVEN AND NIGHTWING
In all fairness, Raven and Dick Grayson were never actually a couple in the comics. This instead refers to Raven’s abrupt and very out of character sudden romantic interest in Nightwing around the time he was getting ready to marry his long-time girlfriend Starfire. Raven was still getting a grip on the whole having-emotions thing but seemed to be able to control herself except when it came to the former Robin. So much so that she interrupted her friends’ wedding and nearly trigger an apocalypse by summoning her demonic father, Trigon.
Though it was important to the story and did ultimately help break up Nightwing and Starfire, it was also an obvious ploy by writers not to make Raven a more compelling character but to hype up Dick Grayson’s hypermasculinity and general appeal to the female gaze.
6. JINX AND KID FLASH
The Teen Titans cartoon from the early ’00s introduced a whole generation to some of the classic Teen Titans characters while being funny, dramatic, and sporting a unique blend of animation styles and an earworm theme song. A fan favorite character was Jinx, here reinvented as a villainous teenage sorceress who could hex opponents with bad luck. Over the course of the series, she sparked up a pseudo romance with Cyborg and the two would occasionally flirt while fighting.
Then the episode “Lightspeed” aired in the final season. It simultaneously introduced the character of Kid Flash for the first time, threw him haphazardly into a romance with Jinx, and caused her to switch sides and become a hero. Fans may have been receptive to all of this, but when it was tossed in their laps in a single episode, it just rubbed everyone the wrong way.
5. TERRA AND DEATHSTROKE
There’s a lot to hate about the impromptu relationship between Terra and Deathstroke in the pages of the classic Teen Titans story ” The Judas Contract”. The general conceit was that a primary reason for Terra to betray her teammates in the famous heel turn was that she and Deathstroke were lovers. Arguably the worst aspect of this was the age difference. Terra was 15, and writers have since confirmed that she was initially supposed to be even younger.
Their relationship also added little to the story. Terra could have had any number of other reasons for betraying the Titans in the most important narrative role she ever played, but having her be in an inappropriate relationship with their oldest enemy, both in terms of story and in physical age, was probably the least appropriate route. To say fans were upset by the reveal of their explicit relationship would be an understatement.
4. STARFIRE AND ARSENAL AND THE RED HOOD
Starfire is one of the most instantly iconic characters in all of comics. Since her introduction as a deposed princess in Teen Titans, she’s been a mainstay of the entire series, demonstrating that refugees to strange and foreign lands can still be optimistic, happy, and even find love. Then the New 52 happened and all that went out the window faster than you can say “No, no, put her in less clothes.”
The company-wide reboot turned her into an apathetic nymphomaniac in an overly sultry outfit. She fell in with the new Outlaws, Red Hood and Roy Harper, and had repeated romantic encounters with both, each time emphasizing how it meant nothing to her and that they shouldn’t look too deep into their bedtime activities. This caused backlash with fans who disliked seeing the typically passionate Starfire as an emotionless doll.
3. KID FLASH AND SOLSTICE
The biggest obstacle for the romance between Kid Flash and Solstice was that it took place in the ill-fated and poorly-advised New 52 universe. As Red Robin was forming the new version of the Teen Titans, the two of them were prisoners together in an Indian prison for metahumans where Solstice was tortured and disfigured by N.O.W.H.E.R.E., giving her a new stoney appearance.
Once they made their escape, part of Solstice’s recovery involved her initiating a romance with Kid Flash based on their mutual experiences. Because, you know, a girl who’s undergone a life-altering trauma can fix her problems with the right guy. Oh, and they had very little chemistry, their romance didn’t really add anything palpable to either the story or their characters, and ultimately was generally a symbol of what New 52 was, unwanted, nonsensical, and made irrelevant with Rebirth.
2. ROBIN AND WONDER GIRL
There’s nothing like a tragic death to bring people closer together. But when those people are the deceased’s girlfriend and best friend and ‘closer together’ translates into ‘make out in their friend’s gooey remains,’ then perhaps a healthy distance is preferred. After the death of Superboy in Infinite Crisis, his best pal Robin decided that the best way to cope with the loss was to try and clone Superboy’s dead body.
Unfortunately, Robin was a better Boy Wonder than he was a geneticist and his attempts to make a new Superboy consistently failed. Wonder Girl, Superboy’s girlfriend, discovered Robin’s experiments when he destroyed his vats of half-baked clones in frustration. Emotionally bonding over their shared loss in a pool of their dead friend’s rotting guts, the two shared a kiss that send fans around the world into a confused uproar.
1. DONNA TROY AND TERRY LONG
Donna Troy and Terry Long aren’t just the single worst couple that has ever disgraced the pages of Teen Titans, not just the worst couple in the entire history of the comic medium, they might just be the worst couple in all of fiction. The story goes that Wonder Girl met Terry Long in college…as his student. She was 19, he was in 30s, a divorcee, and was working multiple jobs because he couldn’t make tenure.
While dating, he actively hit on her friends, revealed he found her powers to be “fun”, and used her celebrity to boost his own ego. Definitely not what William Marston intended. Writers had the two married with a kid before one of them realized that fans were on the verge of rioting and quickly wrote both Terry and their son out of the picture with a car accident.
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