Demythify: Legacy Lost & Found? DC Comics New 52’s First Teen Team pre-Teen Titans? Nightwing, Flamebird, Starfire & Arsenal Plus DC Nation Update (Young Justice Invasion, Cartoon Network)

Columns, Features, News, Shows, Spoilers, Top Story

First things first. Until DC Nation’s programming block of Young Justice Invasion, Green Lantern the Animated Series and DC Nation shorts, I’ll provide you updates on key news as part of my weekly Monday Demythify columns; an e-library of previous columns can be accessed here.

That DC Nation / Cartoon Network update will follow at the end of each column starting this week.

Now, onto this week’s column.

The Loss of Legacy

Since the DC Comics Relaunch’s New 52 was announced I’ve lamented about some big omissions in the New 52 including the loss of legacy that was a big hall-mark of the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe. You had several iterations of the Teen Titans back then starting with the original sidekicks of Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Speedy and others. You also had a first generation of heroes of the World War II era in the Justice Society who served as an inspiration for the forming of the Justice League.

In the New 52, the original Teen Titans Wonder Girl (Donna Troy) and Kid Flash (Wally West) remain MIA despite in the latter case the debut of a “West” in the Flash ongoing New 52 series.

In terms of the Justice Society, there were no heroes prior to Superman on the main DC New 52 Earth. However, Stargirl exists on Prime Earth and will be on the new Justice League of America series by writer Geoff Johns and artist David Finch in 2013. The rest of the JSA have been reimagined, resurrected, and “youngified” ;) on Earth 2 written by James Robinson and artist Nicola Scott.

The best example left in the DC Comics New 52 of legacy are with Batman’s ex-Robins that I have been a fan of.

We learned about them and their interactions in several books: (1) Batman and Robin written by Peter Tomasi and drawn by Patrick Gleason, (2) Red Hood and the Outlaws by writer Scott Lobdell and previous artist Kenneth Rocafort, (3) Nightwing by writer Kyle Higgins and penciller Eddy Barrows, (4) Teen Titans by writer Scott Lobdell and penciller Brett Booth, and (5) recently by writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV in the pages of Batman with artists Greg Capullo and Andy Clarke respectively.

We know that there were four sidekicks for Batman and three that were adjectiveless Robins: Dick Grayson (Robin now Nightwing), Jason Todd (Robin now Red Hood), Tim Drake (Red Robin then and now) and Damain Wayne (current Robin). These were all Batman’s sidekicks in the New 52 first five formative years of the New 52 post (yet to be fully illuminated, despite some big zero month reveals). You should be reading all the books I mentioned if you are a Robins fan and appreciate legacy.

That said, despite a Teen Titans only starting to be a team in the last year, there remains the unexplored revelation that there was a pre-TT teen team of some sort in the DC New 52. We know now in year two of the relaunch that they weren’t called Teen Titans, but we know they existed. They also may or may not have have crossed pathes with Deathstroke: The Terminator.

So, who were they and what did they do?

The Batwoman Revelation

In Batwoman #1, we learned that Flamebird, Bette Kane the cousin of Kate Kane the Batwoman, was on a Teen Titans type team that tangled with Deathstroke.

Interestingly, Jericho who is Deathstroke’s son is appearing as a villain in Deathstroke’s own New 52 series. No word on whether Jericho was on any Teen Team in the New 52.

(FYI – Deathstroke who is also set to appear in Young Justice Invasion as well as on CW’s Arrow with cools pics released here and here).

Anyhow, since it came up later in the first year of the New 52 that there was no previous Teen Titans team in the DC universe, I imagine some of the dialogue in Batwoman #1 was fixed in the Batwoman New 52 trade paperback.

Despite that team not being called TT officially, it would make sense for her to be on an earlier Teen Team considering their existence was more definitively revealed in the Red Hood and the Outlaws series.

The Red Hood and the Outlaws Revelations

Early on in the DC Comics Relaunch, Red Hood and the Outlaws received a fair bit of attention. The first because it was an unknown new property that garnered its own ongoing series. The second because of the early portrayal of Starfire.

While readers may have been distracted by Starfire’s skimpy outfits and seemingly bimbo portrayal, you may have missed all the indirect references to Teen Titans of olde between Arsenal and Starfire. In issue #1 of Red Hood and the Outlaws, Arsenal mentions their former team members: Dick (Nightwing / Robin), Garth (Aqualad / Tempest), Vic (Cyborg), Lilith (Omen), Gar (Beast Boy / Changeling) and an unknown new character called Dustin. So, these folks appear to have been part of a pre-TT teen team.

However, the happenings later on with the Culling where we meet Lilith and Gar for the first on-panel, would seem to contradict this. Maybe they were or were not on a previous team together? I wonder if November’s first Red Hood and the Outlaws New 52 trade paperback will be tweaked a bit to fix that?

We also saw in Red Hood and the Outlaws #6, the reveal that Nightwing, Starfire and Arsenal teamed together earlier. This seems more consistent with other DC New 52 happenings.

I can’t tell how much of the issue #1 mentions will materialize as the history of the New 52 is revealed (I mean who is this Dustin for example?), but it is a bet, at least, that these three with Flamebird at least were on a previous teen team together in the DC Comics New 52.

Since writer Scott Lobdell is at the helm of both New 52 titles, Teen Titans and Red Hood and the Outlaws, I imagine we’ll learn some more about this pre-Teen Titans teen team eventually.

I’m intrigued by this book and all the ex-Robins goings on in the last few months in the DC New 52.

Also, I get that things change and evolve. I’m not that futzed about things that may need to get tweaked in the trade paperback. The New 52 relaunch happened and for some writers they let the characters themselves influence where the stories go.

Regardless of what you may think, Scott Lobdell’s work always feel organic, dynamic and fun.

DC Nation News

We still have not heard back from Cartoon Network or DC Entertainment regarding their reasons for the postponement of new episodes of the DC Nation block to 2013.

The Young Justice Invasion episode Before the Dawn (Season 2, Episode 10) had slipped onto the internet last week through legal iTunes purchasing, despite Cartoon Network pulling that and rest of the DC Nation block from TV abruptly last week (see episode recap here). I speculated that the iTunes avenue was an error / oversight and sure enough that episode is no longer available on it.

In addition, the DC Nation hiatus petition had reached over 13,000 in one week and it’s still growing. You can still sign it here.

The Facebook group that started to push for the return of the DC Nation earlier than 2013, had reached 1,000 members over the weekend. To join you can visit here.

The Young Justice Season 2 teaser reel revelations has me so excited for 2013, but I just wish Cartoon Network was more transparent about what happened.

Thanks for reading. All feedback welcome.

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John is a long-time pop culture fan, comics historian, and blogger. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief at Comics Nexus. Prior to being EIC he has produced several column series including DEMYTHIFY, NEAR MINT MEMORIES and the ONE FAN'S TRIALS at the Nexus plus a stint at Bleeding Cool producing the COMICS REALISM column. As BabosScribe, John is active on his twitter account, his facebook page, his instagram feed and welcomes any and all feedback. Bring it on!