For decades upon decades the Teen Titans have been one of the seminal superhero teams in DC Comics. The first popular teen-centric team book, their influence was felt far and wide. Starting off with just Robin, Aqualad and Kid Flash, the Teen Titans’ ranks grew and grew, becoming one of the most recognizable and powerful groups in the DC Universe. First appearing in The Brave and the Bold #54, they would officially come together as a unit in The Brave and the Bold #60, introducing the character of Wonder Girl, Donna Troy, to their ranks.
Popular as any other superhero comic, the Teen Titans would appear sporadically in both later issues of Brave and the Bold and Showcase Presents. In the ’70s, they received a stronger revival, but it wasn’t really until Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s The New Teen Titans that the group became the juggernaut team they are today, beloved by the masses. Even though the stellar run would ultimately end, the Titan legacy would not. Following The New Teen Titans came team after team; some were good, some not so much. Here at CBR we’re counting down 15 Teen Titans teams, from the worst to the best. Titans, together!
15. POST-ZERO HOUR TEEN TITANS
During the event known as “Zero Hour”, Hal Jordan, formerly Green Lantern, turned into the fear-mongering villain Parallax. In trying to rewrite the universe, there were plenty of time anomalies that took place, one of them being that the Atom, a long-time Justice League member, was regressed to the age of 17. As a result, once Roy Harper’s Teen Titans disbanded, the teenage Ray Palmer was brought into the Teen Titans fold.
With a forgettable ensemble of teen heroes, Ray and his team rescued a small group of Psions from the alien race known as the H’San Natall. The aliens wanted to plant sleeper agents on Earth, but Ray and company caught on to their plans and saved the day. Ray and his Titans would continue fighting crime until one day they just stopped. In the end, this team of Titans were an insignificant blip in Teen Titan history.
14. ARSENAL’S NEW TITANS
Roy Harper, otherwise known for his Speedy, Red Arrow and Arsenal superhero identities never had a particularly easy life. From teenage superhero sidekick to drug addict, he strove to rise above his mistakes; constantly trying to prove himself. During the ‘90s, although undergoing a crazy costume change that was just awful, he got his chance to lead the Teen Titans.
Following the time-shattering events of “Zero Hour”, Nightwing stepped down as team leader and felt Arsenal was more than capable of handling the role. Roy agreed, but unlike previous Titans teams, he worked missions for the United States Government in exchange for having some pending lawsuits thrown out. Starring a rather eclectic team of heroes, they weren’t the worst Titans, but they weren’t the best by far. Eventually, Sarge Steel cut their funding, making room for Ray Palmer to try his hand at leading the team.
13. THE TEAM TITANS
The Team Titans, rocking a roster of characters that would forever become lost to obscurity, was DC’s response to Marvel’s successful X-Force title. Unfortunately, despite Marv Wolfman being on board and the Team Titans initially garnering attention to merit their own series, the book failed.
The Team Titans were one of one hundred groups sent back in time in order to prevent the birth of Lord Chaos, the son of Donna Troy and Terry Long. To do so, they were tasked with killing Donna Troy. Sporting characters like Kilowat, Redwing and Battalion to name a few, it was then revealed they came from a false timeline created by Monarch to serve as his sleeper agents. Once “Zero Hour” came out, all hopes for the book’s success vanished; it undermined everything Wolfman was trying to do and the comic wasn’t even given a proper ending.
12. TITANS WEST
The team known as Titans West was incredible short-lived and lasted only a couple issues, if that. The telepathic hero Lilith Jupiter, otherwise known as the hooded vigilante Omen, assembled this group of Titans. The heroes she brought to the team were Hawk and Dove, Beast Boy, Flamebird and Golden Eagle.
Lilith needed help in stopping the bad guy Mister Esper, a relatively longtime foe of hers. The team, despite the suddenness of them coming together, proved rather effective. Yet after Mister Esper was defeated, Lilith relinquished her role as leader, feeling the position did not truly suit her. Hawk dove in to take the position, but it turned out he wasn’t cut out to serve as the team’s leader; he just didn’t have good leadership skills. And so, Titans West quickly disbanded.
11. TITANS L.A.
After The Titans West group disbanded, no thanks to the superhero Hawk, the young heroes went their separate ways. The story behind Titans L.A. began with Beast Boy, out on his own. Still reeling from the event known as the “Technis Imperative”, in which Cyborg took control of the moon, Garfield was emotionally and physically drained. The shapeshifting hero then found himself in L.A..
While there, he reunited with his cousin Matt Logan and the former Titan Flamebird. Remaining in L.A., Beast Boy and Flamebird would team up to fight crime and she’d try to convince him to create a new Teen Titans team. Taking matters into his own hands, Matt held a drive to recruit members and ultimately Titans L.A. was made up of Herald, Bumblebee, Captain Marvel Jr. and a couple others. Dubbed “Titans L.A.”, the team wouldn’t last long as Gar eventually returned to the East Coast.
10. CYBORG’S TEEN TITANS EAST
Before we get started, it’s relatively important to know there were two Titans East teams…well three, if you want to include alternate future timelines. No matter, the point is that Deathroke was the originator for the first Titans East team. He designed his new team, comprised of former Teen Titan members, to destroy the Teen Titans, or at least serve as enough of a challenge so the Teen Titans would take a more proactive stance in fighting criminals.
Incredibly effective and ruthless, it took everything the Teen Titans had, including getting the help of Nightwing’s Titans, to take down their evil counterparts. Later, Cyborg would try to refurbish the team name by assembling a small troupe of promising young heroes. Unfortunately, most of the new Titans East team got killed after not having been on the team for a single day.
9. DEATHSTROKE’S TITANS
In the ‘90s, DC comics decided to do something a little different with the long-time Teen Titans villain Deathstroke. The mercenary had long since tried to kill the teenage superheroes, but after a series of events, came to see the Titans as allies he’d be willing to help. However, when Deathstroke formed his own Titans group in the “Villains For Hire” arc years later, things took a turn for the worse yet again for the mercenary.
After the event “Blackest Night”, he assembled a rag-tag team of bad guys like the Tattooed Man, Osiris and Cheshire. Together they took paid jobs and killed whoever needed killing, usually in the name of making the world a better place. It was good in theory, but after killing Ryan Choi, the Atom, superheroes started gunning for him and before too long Deathstroke disbanded his misfit team.
8. REBIRTH TEEN TITANS
In DC Rebirth, the Teen Teens have been scattered throughout the world. Some, like Beast Boy, have become lost and destitute and no longer know their purpose. Others have simply remained outside of the superhero world, unsure about their future as a whole. Damian Wayne is Robin, the son of Batman and the grandson of the infamous villain Ra’s al Ghul. Realizing his grandfather is after him, and through him the world, Damian goes about recruiting young heroes; some new, some old.
Although they don’t get along at first, what with Robin kidnapping them to prove his worth, they eventually understand they need to help the young superhero. While they may not be the most organized group, they are quickly finding their stride and working their way to become a mighty force for good.
7. DEATHSTROKE’S DEFIANCE
Lately in DC Rebirth, Deathstroke has once again abandoned his villainous ways and has chosen to try and fight in the name of truth and justice…to an extent anyway. Following a short arc where Slade Wilson stole the speed powers of Kid Flash and went back in time to save his son and failed, Slade came out the other end nearly traumatized by the experience.
Recognizing his failures as a parent and a human being, Deathstroke decided to recruit a small entourage of former Teen Titans member who, for one reason or another, no longer felt they could be part of the more legitimate Teen Titans. Deathstroke’s Defiance team included his son Jericho, Power Girl, Terra, Kid Flash and his daughter Rose Wilson, Ravager. Training his Titans into a deadly group, Deathstroke’s goal is to fight the dirty fights no one else can or is willing to.
6. NEW 52 TEEN TITANS
When DC Comics kicked off the New 52, the Teen Titans weren’t far behind. In this new continuity, they hadn’t yet come together as a group or even met one another. However, Tim Drake, who was now known as Red Robin, was trying to locate several promising youths, hoping they could join forces in fighting the villainous organization N.O.W.H.E.R.E., who were hunting down young metahumans in the hopes of harvesting their powers.
Red Robin enlists the aid of Wonder Girl, Bunker, Kid Flash and Solstice. The group would grow tremendously by the time all was said and done. N.O.W.H.E.R.E, also responsible for creating the new Superboy, sends him after the Teen Titans. Nearly killing them, he later joins their side, realizing they’re the good guys. Even though they started off as a hot mess, the New 52 Teen Titans flourished and became an awesome team.
5. POST-GRADUATION DAY TEEN TITANS
The Teen Titans leading up to “Graduation Day” were pretty much the Young Justice team and included Robin, Impulse, Wonder Girl, Superboy, Secret and Arrowette. The Young Justice book, which came in the middle of a relatively short-lived Teen Titans book and the Titans comic was rather fun, as the kids found themselves diving into adventure after adventure. Once “Graduation Day” rolled around, things changed dramatically.
The Young Justice team and the Titans, led by Nightwing, banned together in fighting a robot Superman gone awry; the younger heroes ignoring the older heroes’ pleas to stay out of the fight. When the dust settled, both Lilith and Donna Troy were dead, killed by the Superman robot. Flash forward a little later and Robin once again assembles his friends, recreating the Teen Titans yet again. Not only did they kick butt, but also the series renewed interest in the group for readers.
4. DC REBIRTH TITANS
The Titans are back! All your favorite characters from the older teams have returned in the DC Rebirth iteration of the older Titans that are too old to be Teen Titans. Nightwng, Donna Troy, Lilith, Garth and Arsenal are forced to come back together following the return of the villainous Mister Twister.
Now a team again, they didn’t feel quite whole; luckily Wally West escapes from interdimensional captivity and makes his way to his old friends. Unfortunately they don’t remember him; only the Flash and Superman seem to have any proper memories of Wally. Despite the emotional hurdle, the Titans instinctively felt that Wally was one of them. An incredibly powerful team, their greatest challenge so far has been overcoming their own personal struggles and relationships.
3. THE TITANS
Following right after the Teen Titans series from 1996-1998, a new book featured the return of the Titans. Nightwing, Donna Troy, Arsenal, Tempest, Flash, Starfire, Beast Boy and Cyborg were together again for the first time in several years. There would be later additions to the team like the relatively new Damage and the speedster superhero Jesse Quick. Despite the book lasting only a couple years and 50 issues in total, there was something overwhelming positive and uplifting in seeing Dick Grayson as Nightwing again, leading his grown-up friends into battle.
Even though the book suffered a bad case of the ‘90s, i.e. bad costumes and occasionally silly villains, the book was important as it led to the event “Graduation Day” and the return of The Outsiders. Following “Infinite Crisis”, Nightwing and friends would reunite to battle the demon Trigon in the 2008 Titans book.
2. ORIGINAL TEEN TITANS
It’s hard to beat the classics. The original Teen Titans team was comprised of Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad. Debuting in The Brave and the Bold #54, the young heroes first came together in an effort to stop the evil weather-controlling villain known as Mister Twister. The union of the three heroes created something that neither they nor anyone else could have predicted.
Eventually, additional members would be added to the original Teen Titans ranks, as Donna Troy as Wonder Girl and Roy Harper as Speedy would help them become the first young A-list superhero team in the DC Universe. Every other Titans team would be compared to them and despite the goofy shenanigans they partook in, even the A-list heroes like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman would all come to greatly admire the team.
1. THE NEW TEEN TITANS
The New Teen Titans, as written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by George Perez is the default group for when anyone thinks back on any iteration of the team. The group of heroes that made up the New Teen Titans — Robin, Kid Flash, Donna Troy, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Raven, Starfire, and eventually later additions like Jericho — would come to define the book. They are unquestionably the most beloved Teen Titans team.
Facing down everyone from Deathstroke the Temrinator to Brother Blood and H.I.V.E., no matter the hardships, even if it included being betrayed by one of their own, the New Teen Titans kept coming. Their story was one of heartbreak, action and figuring out what it meant to be a young person in a world that was actively trying to murder them.
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