The most famous team of teenage Super Heroes in The DCU (but not the first). Often referred to as a "Justice Little League," though more often as a "Junior Justice League."The original series began back in The Silver Age of Comic Books, with a one-shot story in The Brave And The Bold #54 (July, 1964), where three Sidekicks, Robin, Aqualad, and Kid Flash, teamed up. The issue sold notably well, and, after a few more tryouts and the addition of Wonder Girl (despite her actually being the original Wonder Woman as a girl, and not a contemporary sidekick) and Speedy, became an ongoing series.The book depended heavily on Totally Radical, with Fad Super villains like the Mad Mod and Ding Dong Daddy and hamfisted attempts to address the issues of the day. Nevertheless, it was lighthearted and fun. Eventually, though, it was cancelled in 1973, brought back in 1976, and re-cancelled in 1978. Altogether 53 issues were published.In the Bronze Age, the series returned as The New Teen Titans, launched in 1980. Written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by George Perez, this version of the series was the most successful and the most iconic (as well as being the version the animated series is most based on). It brought back Robin, Wonder Girl, and Kid Flash, and teamed them up with new characters Cyborg, Raven, and Starfire, along with previously-established character Beast Boy, now renamed Changeling.The series moved into Darker and Edgier territory, and was a trendsetter in that respect; for instance, an early storyline involved them going up against "Deathstroke the Terminator," a paid assassin, and being infiltrated by the not-so-innocent Terra. It was heavily character-based, with lots of conflict, romance, and soul-searching (that occasionally slipped into Wangst).This version was not only popular, but often considered DC's number one title at the time, a rival to the X-Men (which they eventually crossed over with), and a major definer of the tropes that came to be recognized as comics' Bronze Age. However, writer fatigue and removal of the book from newsstands to prop up DC Comics' direct market line of books led to it collapsing into boredom and fan apathy. The arrival of a new editor inspired Wolfman to shake up the book, using a subplot involving the mysterious "Wildebeest Society" that went on way too long and didn't have a very good ending. Fan favorite villain Deathstroke became a good guy, half the roster was slaughtered/turned evil/depowered, popular villain Terra was brought back (as a genetically altered underground dweller who was oblivious to her counterpart's evil history); none of which really helped the book and ultimately led to the Batman editors having their big chance to take back Nightwing from the Titans (Wolfman had the sole rights to him since 1980), to the horror of fans of the book.Ultimately the book was cancelled, but within a year was relaunched, consisting of an aged-down Atom and a bunch of new characters, but it wasn't very successful (to the point where poor Risk became C-List Fodder to the extreme with the morbid running gag of losing limbs to Superboy-Prime). And let's not even talk about Team Titans, a group of future-sent teens.At this point, the idea of the Teen Titans split two ways. A late 90s series just called Titans lasted quite a while (and featured most of the original team and the 1980s successful team, plus a few new characters), but was never a big seller, and eventually delved into some truly horrific storytelling by Jay Faerber (the "Jesse Quick sleeps with her mother's fiancee" storyline). The other idea took the original idea of a band of teenage heroes and sidekicks, and became Young Justice. The former tended even more toward the soul-searching of New Teen Titans, while the latter went through mostly lighthearted adventures and character-based comedy.About this time, the Teen Titans animated series premiered. After it became popular, the Powers That Be decided they wanted a Teen Titans comic that resembled the show. Thus, both Titans and Young Justice were cancelled, and the more marketable characters from the latter were brought together with the more nostalgic characters from the former in the miniseries Graduation Day, which led into a relaunch of Teen Titans written by fan favorite Geoff Johns.This series was reasonably popular, but involved several changes in characterization which annoyed long-time fans. For instance, the Fun Personified character, Impulse, was shot in the kneecap (with ADD curing bullets, as many disgruntled fans have quipped) and suddenly became Kid Flash, a more intelligent and serious character than before (although he did retain some of the humor that made him popular in the first place), and the modern version of Superboy was retconned into having Lex Luthor's DNA and worrying about turning evil because of it. Meanwhile, the Tomboy Cassie Sandsmark was stripped of her original personality and made The Chick, only to soon be turned into a raging bitch while the book itself bent over backwards trying to present her as a "perfect" leader and as pure as the original Wonder Girl. Generally, the ex-Young Justice characters were on the receiving end of this, being made Darker and Edgier as an attempt to invoke the New Teen Titans days.Recently, the series has been revamped again, introducing new Legacy Characters (such as Sailor Moon-esque Miss Martian), and attempting to be both Lighter and Softer (for example, bringing Wendy and Marvin from Super Friends into the DCU) and Darker and Edgier, killing off even more characters (such as the aforementioned Wendy and Marvin, at the hands of a murderous devil dog version of Wonder Dog, no less). Such gore-filled editorial mandates led to writer Sean McKeever to quit the book in protest, and things have spiraled still further down the drain, to such an extent that DC has reunited the 80s New Teen Titans into their own book "Titans" (again) to offshoot the sucking of the main book. Alas, "Titans" somehow managed to suck even more, and, after two years of dismal and declining sales, the various team members have been 'graduated' to the Justice Leage, 'demoted' to the Teen Titans or, in at least one case, been the unfortunate and unwilling recipient of a Dethroning Moment of Suck. "Titans" was now about a Deathstroke-lead team of villains, while the simultaneous run on "Teen Titans", by comic newcomer Felicia Henderson, had few champions, even amongst the most rabid fans.Around the start of 2011, J.T. Krul took over writing the main book, with fan-favorite Nicola Scott on art, and so far, their run has been fairly well-received. Both Titan books were cancelled in August; these were replaced in September with a single book, written by Scott Lobdell and drawn by Brett Booth, as part of DC's New 52 relaunch. The starting line-up consists of Red Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, and Solstice, along with with two new characters, Skitter and Bunker. Superboy starts out as an enemy under control of N.O.W.H.E.R.E., an organization devoted to capturing, controlling, or killing young metahumans. He eventually joins the Titans after they save him from dying at the hands of his creators. This leads into The Culling, a crossover with Legion Lost, during which both groups face off against N.O.W.H.E.R.E.Notably, nearly every single run since the 1990s has been an attempt to copy the success of the 1980s version, and every single one has eventually fizzled out thanks to a combination of bad writing and Executive Meddling.This page has a character sheet.
Anyone Can Die: The Titans seem to have a higher rate of mortality than other super teams. Even former Titans are prone to dying. No wonder the Titans memorial hall is so crowded.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: After Mia Dearden reveals to the team her Dark and Troubled Past, where she contracted HIV from her days as a teenage prostitute, the others start telling of their own secret worries; Beast Boy is worried his "condition" could infect others and eventually turn him into a monster. Raven can't help but feed on emotions whilst everyone else sleeps. And Cassie is scared that Ares may be turning her into a weapon of war... Then Bart comes in with his own secret:
Kid Flash: I gotta secret, too. I ran out of clean underwear yesterday, so I stole some of Beast Boy's.
Cerebus Syndrome: ...and back. The 1980s were the good kind of "Angst-ridden super-heroes", so much that they (along with the X-Men) pretty much defined the trope for comic books, but even that got bad after a point. Various other runs have fallen into this as well.
C-List Fodder: It's a comic series made up mostly of teenage characters, many of them forgettable. They may as well have bullseyes on their heads. Pantha, Baby Wildebeest and Bushido were casually murdered by Superboy-Prime in one page of Infinite Crisis, and Risk got his arm ripped off (which later became a running gag). Their "Hall of the Dead" is now ridiculously huge, featuring Kole, Aquagirl I, the aforementioned trio, Kid Devil and half a dozen others.
Continuity Snarl: Donna Troy's origin (and Donna herself) is the most well-known of these. The short version is that she used to be Wonder Woman's sister growing up after being adopted by the Amazons, and later became a super-hero. The Crisis on Infinite Earths converted her to actually debuting first (on a team full of sidekicks) because George Perez wanted to have a "rookie" Wonder Woman in the new continuity.
Crashing Through The Harem: In the first issue of the 1996 series, Cody sneaks into the Cheyenne Mountain base on a dare. Spotted by guards, he runs away and ends up running into a women's locker room, which is full of young women in various states of undress. He stops and stares at them, assuming that he has run onto a holo-deck. One of the women then kicks him to the ground.
Cute Mute: Jericho. He had his throat slashed as a child, and thus was mute for his entire tenure on the team. Arist George Perez created the character solely to flex his artistry chops, and outright forbade writer Marv Wolfman from ever giving the character thought bubbles, meaning everything about Jericho had to be portrayed through his facial expressions and body language. Amazingly, Jericho became a rather successful The Casanova in-universe despite his communication handicap.
Makes sense; if you're mute you figure out how to use, and exploit, body language.
He didn't just depend on facial expressions and body language, though - he communicates through American Sign Language (every time Jericho is shown using sign language, when drawn by George Perez, you can be completely sure that the sign is accurate).
This happened to Kid Devil when he joined the series. He was originally a much goofier sidekick that used high tech devil pajamas and originated from the Blue Devil series, known for its very fun tone. Between then and his time as a Titan, he made a deal with Neron to become a real devil, and a lot of angst came with it when things didn't turn out they way he liked. It is slightly averted in his case, as Eddie's personality didn't change much, just his appearance and situation.
Executive Meddling: Arguably one of the worst victims in comics for some reason, despite only being a huge seller in one era. Virtually every single writer has come off the book complaining about this in some way, to the point where it's obviously not just making excuses as to why their runs sucked (most of the time, anyways). The short list:
Team Titans, a team of future-borne characters with horrifyingly "90s" stereotypes.
The removal of Nightwing from the book and all portrayals of Nightwing and Tim Drake in Titan comics since the 90s. The "Arsenal-led" team was explicitly forbidden to use Nightwing; similarly, despite winning a fan contest in which he was a choice to join the Atom-led Teen Titans, Batman editors refused to honor the contest and allow Dan Jurgans to use Tim Drake in the Titans.
Devin Grayson was forced to use Argent from the "Atom" team, as well as Damage from the "Arsenal" one. She also had to temporarily switch Wally West with a future Flash when his own book underwent a change.
Jay Faerber complained that he was forced to include a new team of teenage super-powered kids into the book because the editors wanted to shift the book over to a new, young cast. Eventually they kind of forgot about it as sales dwindled, so the suddenly-introduced kids got phased out at light speed.
It's speculated that Sean Mc Keever left the book because of this, specifically the recent death of Kid Devil, one of his favorite characters. This was, according to Dan Didio, done so as the establish the new "death = for realz" policy after Blackest Night, but since he specifically pointed out Kid Devil, it's pretty safe to assume Didio simply doesn't like that character.
Confirmed. He tactfully calls it "creative differences".
Word has it that Geoff Johns' run had this as well, hence the changes in Bart Allen and Deathstroke.
As a whole, it seems that ever since the '90s Titans, executives have been either meddling too much or not enough. Winick's "Titans" is a rarer case of the latter.
Face Heel Turn: Averted with Terra, who was really bad all along, and acted like it. But other Titans have played this straight, in a trope that's used quite a lot for the series
Fad Super: As mentioned above, Mad Mod and Ding Dong Daddy are prime examples.
Fanservice: To an insane degree. Though notably, both Wolfman and Perez gave a bit of equal ground — Dick Grayson was Mr. Fanservice personified, and Deathstroke was set up as a "sexy older gentleman" type, and the female fans of the book reciprocated alongside the males drooling over Starfire and Wonder Girl.
The Animesque cartoon series made Raven into the resident fanservice girl, complete with big breasts, a skimpy costume and getting her clothes ripped off. Which is a complete 180 from her original interpretation as a small-chested, demure girl who didn't really get normal people. To make your head spin even more, they made Starfire small-chested. Yes, "Miss Balloon Bod" Starfire.
Finger Licking Poison: In "The Judas Contract", Deathstroke captures Gar 'Changeling' Logan by drugging the gum in the envelopes Gar is using to respond to his fan mail.
Heroic Sacrifice: Cinder of Deathstroke's team dies in order to destroy the Methuselah Device. Subverted in that she was already suicidal but couldn't die because of her power to turn into molten magma, and that she destroyed the device because given the option to bring her dead family back, she'd rather they stayed dead because she believed the world is a horrible place. It's hard to feel that sorry for her, or awed by her, when she'd been portrayed as such an utterly flat character, the circumstances of her powers revealed a month before she died, and the reminder that she burned off a man's reproductive organs using her own.
Hindu Mythology: Explored in a recent arc, which introduces the Indian hero Solstice.
Idiot Ball: Is handled by Cyborg and Dick Grayson in Rise of Arsenal. In Cyborg's case, designing a hideously gaudy removable prosthetic that in fact increases the pain Roy already felt in his arm, and is aware of that flaw. Notwithstanding his engineering capabilities, did giving something like that to a man who had just recently learned his daughter was dead seem like a good idea? Wouldn't it have made more sense to wait, or at least give him a more standard strap-on prosthetic made from wood or plastic? Did a grieving father honestly need the pain in his missing limb amplified at that time? Cyborg even states that Roy is "good as new" once he's outfitted with it, and then quickly apologizes for said statement.
And in Dick's case, having Roy admitted to Virgil House, completely alone. From the way Roy had been acting, Dick should've known that being alone was the last thing he needed at the moment.
I Just Want to Be Normal: Cyborg had one of the defining aspects of this in the 1980s run (he was an unwilling cyborg). Blue Beetle later on. Solstice has shades of it in the reboot.
I Just Want to Be Special: Kid/Red Devil, to such an extreme that he made a deal with Neron to have powers. It is one of his defining character traits and is the motivation for almost every decision he makes.
Infant Immortality: Averted. Sweet Jesus, how it is averted. The only three living children of the Titans are Jai and Iris West, and Mirage's daughter Julienne. And even then, the West twins were brought back from the dead, and Julienne is the product of rape.
Interspecies Romance: Starfire and Robin I/Nightwing had this going on for quite a while. They not only became engaged, but were almost married over the course of "The New Teen Titans" — they broke up when the wedding ceremony was attacked by Raven, currently experiencing Demonic Possession, and she killed the minister before he could officially marry them.
The Mole: Terra. What's hilarious is that at no point in the comic does she ever seem to at all hide he fact that she is constantly lying to and dislikes nearly everyone on the team.
Subverted with the finalized origin of Terra II. She was sent to the surface world to help Mankind by her people, who were oblivious to the fact that Terra was evil.
Monster Modesty: Cyborg doesn't wear anything. He used to wear a jump suit hoodie with the hood up but Beast Boy convinced him he looks better wearing nothing. The orange-skinned alien Starfire also had elements of this (see below).
Ms. Fanservice: Starfire was an obvious example in the old days, what with her Innocent Fanservice Girl ways, but Donna Troy often ran around in bikinis as well. Let's just say George Perez liked drawing sexy ladies.
My Eyes Are Up Here: In the second issue of the 2011 reboot, we get this exchange between Tim (Red Robin) Drake and Cassie (Wonder Girl) Sandsmark:
Cassie: Yo! Up here. (points at eyes) And before you ask—Yes, they're real. Tim: I wasn't looking at, um... them, Cassie. I was trying to figure out how those war bracelets you're wearing are invisible.
Never Recycle a Building: Figures in Marv Wolfman's story "Who Is Donna Troy?" Apparently a burnt-out building sat in that condition for about 16 years, and Donna's childhood doll was still in a room of said burnt-out building and not carried off for nesting material. This is a key clue used by Robin to track down Donna's origins.
Nice Job Breaking It Heroes: Roy Harper's descent into anti-heroism can be attributed to how out-of-character his family and friends acted during Rise of Arsenal.
Black Canary, the closest thing to a mother he ever had and the woman who helped him beat his addiction the first time, washed her hands of him and considered him a lost cause. She should've known that being alone was not helping matters. It was with her support that Roy beat his addiction the first time. And when she had the opportunity to fully give that support again after Roy had been pushing her away, she chose not to.
Cyborg designed him a prosthetic arm that wasn't a "proper" prosthetic because Roy's arm is still infected. The arm is removable, but increases the pain in his stump, greatly hinders his ability as an archer, and he can't wear normal clothes over it.
Doctor Mid-Nite was completely oblivious to the fact that Roy had been taking pain killers from his supply of medication, never mind how easily Roy was able to take them.
Donna Troy, Wally West, and Dick Grayson, supposedly his closest friends, did nothing to help. Granted, Roy called Donna a whore and said she was a bad mother, but if Donna truly understood the pain Roy was in as she claimed, she'd know people say things that don't mean when they've lost a loved one (and have suffered a horrible injury). She might have wound up the same way he did after her son died, only she had the support of her friends and family. Dick was the one who came up with the idea of having Roy temporarily committed at Virgil House. And Wally, he did absolutely nothing at all.
90% of Your Brain : Deathstroke/Terminator was said to use all of his, which in his case meant enhanced senses and reflexes, mostly.
Not What It Looks Like: At the beginning of the new series after the "OYL" gap, Robin (Tim Drake) returns to his room at night and sits on his bed, only to have a naked and extremely drunk Ravager (Rose Wilson) wrap her arms around him and try to seduce him. Robin's completely not interested but, knowing Ravager can be a bit hard to dissuade, pins her down on the bed and starts to handcuff her hands behind her. Then Kid Devil walks in.
Please Put Some Clothes On: In one issue, Ravager (Rose Wilson) drunkenly comes on to Robin (Tim Drake) by hiding in his bed completely naked. When he refuses her offer to "be friends", he handcuffs her with her hands behind her back...immediately as an intruder alarm goes off, causing Kid Devil to rush to Robin's room and find a naked handcuffed Ravager with Robin on top of her. After Robin tries to explain that it is Not What It Looks Like, they rush off to confront the intruder whilst Robin tells Ravager to put some clothes on.
Tim's predecessor was saying this to Starfire a LOT during the Wolfman-Perez run.
The Power of Legacy: In the original Judas Contract arc, the other Titans gave Terra a hero's funeral, a statue in their hall, and told everyone (including her half-brother, Geo-Force) that she died a hero. The truth was that she was The Mole and Evil All Along.
Public Exposure: Mirage used her illusion powers to disguise herself as Starfire and pose naked for a men's magazine. Starfire was not amused when she found out.
Put on a Bus: Nightwing was put on one towards the end of the New Teen Titans run.
The final issue before JT Krul's run ended with half of the then-current Teen Titans being written out of the book.
With the Flashpoint reboot, all of the Titans save for Cassie, Tim, Connor, Kiran, and Bart are now gone. Furthermore, even the villains are now on a bus, as Scott Lobdell has announced that his run will not feature a single existing Teen Titan villain. Rose Wilson is kind of an exception, but her origin has been changed around.
Red Shirt: Kole was created specifically for this purpose. Wolfman was obligated by his fellow creators to kill one off his characters for the Crisis on Infinite Earths because they all had to kill off people they were using for it. He ended up kind of liking her in the end, but a deal's a deal, and he didn't have to wipe out any major character.
Ret Canon - Following the One Year LaterTime Skip from Infinite Crisis, Beast Boy donned his costume from the cartoon and Raven donned a similar costume to the one from the cartoon (modified to include a bird symbol and leggings). A future incarnation of Cyborg has blue plating similar to his cartoon self. A series of Titans East teams also appeared, but only the third bore any resemblance to the cartoon's version, the first (whose ranks include the aforementioned future Cyborg) being from the future and freedom fighters against their old teammates and the second being Psycho Rangers set up by Deathstroke.
Shonen Upgrade: Beast Boy awakened the ability to shape shift into Mythological and Magical animals when protecting Raven from the Wyld. His evil future self who had the same ability implied that he could do it all along but was afraid to do so.
Take That: After leaving DC and going to work for Marvel Comics, Sean Mc Keever publicly talked about the copious amounts of executive meddling he faced while writing the Teen Titans. In response to the attention the quotes drew and the negative reputation Teen Titans has garnered in recent years, Marvel editor Tom Breevort publicly referred to Mc Keever's new title, Young Allies (which like Teen Titans is a book about teen superheroes) as "...What you wanted Sean's TEEN TITANS run to be!"
Team Mom: Troia became this during the Team Titans era.
Solstice seems to be taking this role in the New 52.
The Glomp: Skitter seems fond of this where Bunker is involved.
Token Black: The book actually had two black cast members in the 70s, and it was going to be averted with Cyborg and the character who eventually became Starfire in the Wolfman team, but they went with an alien girl instead.
Averted in Lobdell's run; three of the seven members are minorities.
Tomboy: Wonder Girl II (Cassie) originally started as this in her Young Justice days, then became The Chick, before being riddled with Wangst. Bombshell now seems to serve this role.
Totally Radical: Cropped up in every version from time to time, but especially the original.
"No teen-ager would use "music" in a hip language message! They'd use jive!"
Underwear of Power: Several, though less nowadays. Best example would be the old Robin costume.
Even though it was in fact a legless leotard, people (even later writers) seem to think it was just underwear, despite how impractical that is.
Villain Protagonist: The Terror Titans in their own miniseries, and much later Deathstroke's team in Titans, most of whom kept indecisively straddling the line between antihero, antivillain, and straight on villain.
What Could Have Been: There is a LOT of this for the series, but in a more current example: That pregnant silhouette shown in a foreshadowing page towards the end of Sean Mc Keever's run was meant to be Miss Martian's nemesis, Sun Girl, who would have become pregnant with Inertia's child before he died and would have sought out Kid Flash to help her raise the baby. Editorial hated the idea and nipped it at the bud.
It seems there even was a plan in place to eventually bring Kid Devil back from the dead. Unfortunately, Dan Didio nixed it, citing Eddie's death as the first example of "dead means dead" for the DC Universe. Well, until the next change in management comes about we'd suppose.
Scott Lobdell has said that Aqualad was supposed be part of his new Titans line-up, but that the idea was axed at the last minute due to the character being fleshed out in anoter title.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Why hasn't Zatanna apologized to Raven? Her advising the Justice League not to trust her is the reason why The New Teen Titans became a team in the first place. To make matters even worse she turned the whole team against her moments before Trigon's first appearence.
The Dreaded: This is a team of relatively inexperienced but very powerful heroes. Their first story arc involved defeating an army of powered evil doers and escaping an exploding Antarctic base. Despite this, they immediately get very scared when a Red Robin puppet is delivered to the base with pins stuck through it and a smiley face...
Evil Plan: NOWHERE's goal is still somewhat mysterious beyond a combination of wanting an army of meta-human heroes and For the Lulz level of douchery.
Executive Meddling: Lobdell started out writing the book intending to carry over some themes and traditions from the old continuity. However, at some point, he was informed that this particular team had to be the first and only iteration of the Titans, it was decided that Tim Drake was always and only Red Robin, and in his Superboy book he was informed to completely reboot that character as well. The part that makes this egregious is that most of the above was retroactively added into issue reprints after the initial issues had been released and he had planted the seeds for a previous team.