• Jake Wright

Why New Teen Titans by Wolfman & Perez is THE Definitive Titans Comic Run

Updated: Feb 1

The 1980’s is perhaps the most iconic reign of superhero comics, with incredible comics like 'Uncanny X-Men' from Chris Claremont, 'Watchmen' by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, 'The Dark Knight Returns' by Frank Miller and so many more! But a chunk of the 80s success - especially in DC’s case - is down to the 'New Teen Titans' run by legendary creators Marv Wolfman and George Perez.

The Titans comic was a surprising success considering it was essentially a reboot of the previous Teen Titans but had the dynamic duo of Wolfman and Perez giving fans a breath of fresh air by turning a couple of tried-and-true young heroes – Robin, Kid Flash and Wonder Girl (all who had founded the original Teen Titans team) – and combined those with three brand new members of the team being Cyborg, Raven and Starfire who each brought something new to the book that fans had never seen before.

(via: DC Comics)

Cyborg added the element of awesome technology mixed with robotic enhancements, Starfire gave us the elements of an alien empire along with an intergalactic soap-opera and Raven gave us a branch into the magic and mystical corners of the DC universe. There was also Beast Boy – now going by the name Changeling – who was not a new character but had previously been closely associated with the Doom Patrol. He was brought into this new team as the youngest member but also the comic relief of the group. The character of Gar Logan proved to be the final piece of the puzzle to creating the perfect team balance.

The stories brought to us from the New Teen Titans were unlike any we had ever seen before with lots of the villains hitting very close to home. Trigon gave us the dynamic between an evil, dimension-conquering father being opposed by his own daughter Raven. Deathstroke’s most famous story ‘The Judas Contract’ gave us the ultimate betrayal from a new addition – Terra - to the team who was considered family to the Titans, allowing Deathstroke to incapacitate the majority of the team. And Blackfire - Starfire’s renegade sister – brought us a jealous and hate-fueled sister affair with her aiming to destroy Starfire and the Titans. These all added an extra element of depth to these stories from the family drama that added numerous layers to the books which we believe really rocketed the New Teen Titans to comic greatness.

(via: DC Comics)

The run provided fans with the assurance that the Titans weren’t a younger version of the Justice League, but that they were all heroes in their own right who were just as capable as any of the top DC teams at the time. It included huge character development for the already existing character’s whilst also fleshing out the newer ones to develop their own voices and personalities:

Wonder Girl grew into a fierce leader who could be solely relied on whilst also maintaining the ‘girl next door’ personality.

Kid Flash suffered internal conflicts between wanting a normal life and feeling the responsibility that his powers came with and often challenged his own beliefs, fans fully accepted Wally’s character and he went onto become the first kid sidekick to take over from his mentor in the main role when he came of age.

Cyborg was hot-headed, rash and stubborn at first but his compassion and caring nature began to flourish when he grew to accept himself and feel comfortable with who he was.

Starfire is outgoing, sweet, cheerful and often naïve however, during battle this innocent personality shifted to a seriously determined and fierce alien warrior which can often scare her fellow teammates. Her relationship with fellow Titan Dick Grayson began with this run and has grown into one of the most popular relationships in mainstream comics to date.

Raven was very untrustworthy to start with, yet she was the one who assembled the New Teen Titans, she was extremely mysterious but eventually proved her worth and began to open up to her Titans team-mates. Often reserved, her empathic powers meant she dealt with lots of emotions at once however she proved to be extremely strong-willed which allowed her to repress these emotions often.

Changeling (Beast Boy) was the comedic relief, often cracking jokes in even the most serious of situations but this is mainly used to hide his true pain. Gar often feels lonely and extremely inadequate and uses jokes and quips to mask his pain. Him and Cyborg get off to a rough start however when Changeling and Cyborg learn more about each other they form a great friendship and learn that opposites to really attract.

Dick Grayson – Robin and later Nightwing – goes through the most growth out of anyone in the team. His character arc is truly iconic and was something that he had needed for years, and when he transitioned from Robin to Nightwing it was perfect. Wolfman and Perez carefully crafted his arc of moving away from Batman’s shadow into an adult superhero in his own right, especially when aging up characters in comics was something that barely ever occurred. Dick became his own man and without Wolfman and Perez, probably wouldn’t be the popular hero he is today.

(via: DC Comics)

The duo of Marv Wolfman and George Perez is one of the greatest partnerships in not only DC comics but comics as a whole and its evident to see. Not only did they revolutionise the New Teen Titans, but they also changed DC comics history with their work on the popular Crisis On Infinite Earths comic too. It’s evident to see that their work has had huge effects on the DC universe which goes beyond comics such as:

The Teen Titans animated series which ran from 2003-2006 was heavily based on the Teen Titans material the duo produced throughout their New Teen Titans run; Deathstroke - the villain created by the duo – has become one of the most popular characters in the whole DC universe and has featured in projects such as Arrow, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Injustice: Gods Among us, Titans and much more; Titans, a live-action series focusing on most of the New Teen Titans roster which is currently on it’s third season. Finally, Cyborg has become a key part of the DC universe by going on to being heavily involved in the Justice League both in comics and movies. But none of this would have been possible without the New Teen Titans comic book series from Wolfman and Perez over forty years ago!

If you're looking to start reading the New Teen Titans by Wolfman & Perez then don't worry, we've got you covered. You can start by picking up the first two volumes below:

New Teen Titans Vol 1 (UK) - https://amzn.to/3uaiwLT

New Teen Titans Vol 2 (UK) - https://amzn.to/3IQKDUj

New Teen Titans Vol 1 (US) - https://amzn.to/3s9tEGg

New Teen Titans Vol 2 (US) - https://amzn.to/3IRcUKw

Are you a fan of the New Teen Titans run? Who is your favourite member of the team? Let us know in the comments below