In the wake of Justice League: No Justice, the DC Universe has changed, and the Justice League reorganized. Even the League’s former protégés, the Titans, have fallen under the auspices of the League. But what about their younger counterparts, the Teen Titans? Well, it seems they want to do things there own way, especially since this team is led by the headstrong Robin, a.k.a. Damian Wayne. The Teen Titans’ new status quo is revealed in The Teen Titans Special, which comes to us via writer Adam Glass, who is returning to DC after five years, and various artists. We caught up with the former Suicide Squad writer to talk the new direction the Teen Titans will be taking starting when they hit the shelves on Wednesday, June 27.
“When I first started talking to DC about this, I knew that Damian needed his own team,” Glass said to Nerdist on the topic of developing the right team for his Teen Titans Special. “I wanted Damian to have his own generation of Titans. It has felt before like he had Dick Grayson’s hand-me-downs. Damian also wanted to be in a place where he wasn’t questioned as a leader. And yet, the core of the Teen Titans is that you always have to have a Robin, a Flash, and you always have an archer. So I wanted the new Wally West, who has become an interesting interpretation of Kid Flash. And I liked all the Arrows, and I liked Emiko [the new Red Arrow] a lot. I knew we needed one, And it turned out Emiko worked out.”
Like a lot of us, Glass grew up with the Marv Wolfman/George Perez New Teen Titans comics of the ’80s, and this era’s influence can be felt in his take on the team. Glass told us, “Growing up, I loved New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract. It was maybe the most important comic book of my life. I loved the Wolfman and Perez comics. And although Robin and the others were a part of it, it also introduced all these new wonderful characters like Raven and Cyborg.”
Glass took that lesson to heart, and set out to introduce his readers to some of DC’s unsung heroes. “Similarly, I wanted to bring in new blood and new characters into the book,” he said. “I had always been a Lobo fan. I started to get the idea of a young Lobo in my head…So I thought: How would Lobo be as a young woman, as part of this generation? So I pitched, ‘How about if Lobo had a daughter?’ Before I could even finish, they said yes.”
This is hardly the only character Glass is bringing to the forefront in Teen Titans Special. “The character of Jinn—I always thought genies were interesting characters,” he said. “There are a few of these kinds of characters in the DC Universe, like Johnny Thunder and the Thunderbolt, but I thought no one had taken the time to carve out a mythology for them. So that’s how it came about.”
Since this is a new generation of Teen Titans, we’re going to see a few traditions tossed aside. One big change we’ll see in this version of the group is that the team’s HQ will not be Titan’s Tower, as it has been with almost all past versions of the team. “They are going to have their own cool new base, one that sticks to who they are,” Glass said. “Robin would rather move in the shadows and not announce his team to the world, or be on the news. He’s going to go out and do things his own way until someone comes knocking on his door.”
And in keeping with that, this version of the Teen Titans won’t always see eye to eye with their Titanic predecessors. Case in point: the Special has a meeting between the older Wally West and his younger cousin Wallace West, now the new Kid Flash. The elder Wally tries to explain to his successor how things are going to be, but younger Wallace has ideas of his own. According to Glass, “I think this book really highlights the differences between generations. The older Wally and Dick Grayson wanted to grown up to be the Flash, to be Batman, but this younger generation of heroes want to be themselves. I have two teenagers myself, and they don’t want to grow up and do what mom and dad do—they want to be their own people.”
Glass continued, “The older Wally says, ‘Hey, I paid my dues. One day you’ll grow up and then you can make your own rules,’ while younger Wally thinks, ‘No, I want to make my own rules now. I don’t need to wait. I have a different path that I’m going on.’ No doubt, There will be people like the older Wally West who show up here and there, and our team will have to deal with them as they start fighting crime and being a team. Eventually there will be those kinds of clashes between the older Titans and the Teen Titans. At first I’m going to be establishing this team, and once that’s happened, you’ll see the consequences to that.”
The Teen Titans Special #1 hits comic shops on Wednesday, June 27.
Images: DC Comics