The “Bats Out of Hell” crossover has been raging through issues of The Flash, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps and Justice League as readers await for the next big issue of the Dark Nights: Metal event series by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Over the course of the crossover’s four issues, we’ve seen various members of the Justice League like Aquaman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Cyborg wage a losing battle against the Dark Knights, a group of evil and twisted versions of Batman that hail from the Dark Multiverse.
Justice League #33, by Joshua Williamson, Tyler Kirkham and Mikel Janin, is the final issue of the storyline. In it, readers catch up with Victor Stone, aka Cyborg, who had been left trapped by the Batman Who Laughs and the Murder Machine in the Justice League’s satellite headquarters. As the evil Batmen torture Victor with the goal of obtaining control of the Element X that comprises the Mother Box housed inside of him, Vic gets to share a conversation with his Box on the metaphysical plane. The piece of New God technology attempts to convince Cyborg to give into it entirely, to let it take control of him if he is to have any hope of defeating the Dark Knights.
While Victor considers the Box’s proposal, to allow himself to be erased so it can take over his body, a voice suddenly comes from the void, telling him to hold on, to resist the urge and to remain true to himself — a voice who calls itself a friend.
Finding his strength, Cyborg is able to break free and emerge stronger than ever and, along with the rest of the Justice League, takes the fight directly to the Dark Knights. As he does so, he finds the source of the voice who helped him: the Teen Titan Raven, held captive by the Knights since the conclusion of the “Gotham Resistance” crossover. This marks the first Rebirth reunion of Cyborg and Raven, who were part of the most famous incarnation of the Titans in Marv Wolfman and Geore Pérez’s 1980 series The New Teen Titans.
When the two superheroes are reunited, Victor frees Raven from her confines and, with a warm hug, he tells her that, clearly, the both of them are stronger together, echoing the famous Teen Titans catchphrase, “Titans together!” The way Raven talks about Cyborg seems to hint at a shared past, and the hug they share is loaded with the emotion of lost friends finding comfort in each other.
This reunion is noteworthy due to it being a nod to Teen Titans’ pre-Flashpoint continuity — continuity which hasn’t;t existed for the past five years. When the New 52 emerged and “streamlined” the DC Universe, its colorful and extensive past was written away, leaving massive changes to the history of the Teen Titans and its “original” roster. In the New 52 timeline, Cyborg was never a Teen Titan, but was instead a founding member of the Justice League.
Throughout the years, the team of teenage superheroes has been one near and dear to the hearts of many DC fans, and this change was one that particularly annoyed longtime readers. Now, as we find ourselves in the Rebirth era, fans are looking more and more at a universe they are familiar with. Cyborg and Raven’s reconnection appears the latest example of the past re-asserting itself over the New 52’s changes.
Titans together, indeed.
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