Going out on a big limb…

UPDATED 7/15/23: Mark Waid and Emanuela Lupacchino’s World’s Finest: Teen Titans #1 — starring the classic ’60s lineup, plus ’70s addition Bumblebee — is out now! So we figured on bringing back for another look this groovy piece from August 2020’s TEEN TITANS WEEK. Dig it! — Dan

Welcome to TEEN TITANS WEEK — an anniversary celebration of comics’ greatest (or at least most entertaining) superteam. The term Teen Titans was coined 55 years ago this year and The New Teen Titans #1 debuted 40 years ago Aug. 14. So all week long here at 13th Dimension, we’ll be featuring a variety of tributes to Robin, Wonder Girl, Speedy, Cyborg, Starfire and all the rest. For the complete index of columns and features, click here.

It’s the climactic day of TEEN TITANS WEEK — the actual 40th anniversary of The New Teen Titans #1. And so we’ve got 13th Dimension contributor Scott Tipton going out on a mighty limb with THE TOP 13 TEEN TITANS STORIES — RANKED.

Now, since TEEN TITANS WEEK also celebrates the 55th anniversary of the team’s name, this list includes stories from both before and after the Marv Wolfman/George Perez era.

Oh, and don’t worry: We’re not quite done with TEEN TITANS WEEK just yet. On Saturday, we’ll have two more features for you.



13. Teen Titans #50: “The Coast-to-Coast Calamities!” by Bob Rozakis, Don Heck and Joe Giella (1977). I don’t care what anyone says, I always loved Titans West, an incredibly short-lived California-based franchise of the team whose members included previous Titans Lilith, Hawk and Dove, Beast Boy, Golden Eagle and the original Bat-Girl, Betty Kane. They coulda been contenders, I tell you.

12. The New Teen Titans #13: “Friends and Foes Alike!” by Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Romeo Tanghal (1981). For me, the Wolfman/Perez Titans run really kicked into gear and showed what it was capable of here, in this storyline where former Doom Patrol member Changeling enlists his new teammates to track down the Brotherhood of Evil — murderers of his family.

11. Batman: The Brave and the Bold: “Sidekicks Assemble!” Written by Marsha F. Griffin, directed by Michael Chang (2010). The underrated animated series presented its own telling of the birth of the Titans with this episode uniting Robin, Speedy and Aqualad against Ra’s al Ghul and Talia.

10. Teen Titans #1: “Teen Titans,” by Geoff Johns, Mike McKone and Marlo Alquiza (2003). This series relaunch combined the younger kid heroes of Young Justice like Connor Kent, Tim Drake, Cassie Sandsmark and Bart Allen with older Titans veterans Cyborg, Starfire and Changeling. After two less-than-stellar previous Titans relaunches, the third time was the charm here, kicking off a very solid run with the startling revelation that the new Superboy wasn’t merely a clone of Superman, but was also half-human, having been grown from the DNA of who else but Lex Luthor!

9. Teen Titans #53: “In the Beginning…,” by Bob Rozakis, Juan Ortiz and John Fuller (1977). This final issue of the team’s short-lived late-‘70s revival provided an all-new origin for the team, pitting the core five Titans of Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Wonder Girl and Speedy against their Justice League mentors, who have been brainwashed into a life of crime by a mysterious alien. Usually I’m not much for rewriting history, but I really liked the notion of all five Titans being founding members.

8. The Brave and the Bold #149: “Look Homeward, Runaway,” by Bob Haney and Jim Aparo (1979). Batman calls in Robin to reunite the disbanded Teen Titans and go undercover and infiltrate the Runaways, a gang of teenage thieves on a Gotham crime wave. Admittedly, Bob Haney’s story is a little pedestrian, but this being one of the few times we see the Titans illustrated by the great Jim Aparo lands it a place on my list.

7. The New Teen Titans #39: “Crossroads,” by Marv Wolfman and George Perez (1983). Prelude to The Judas Contract, this issue saw Dick Grayson giving up his Robin identity at the same time Wally West decided to leave the team, with the two of them hanging up their uniforms in a touching sequence made all the more shocking by the revelation of Terra’s disloyalty. This issue absolutely stunned me as a kid.

6. The Brave and the Bold #54: “The Thousand-and-One Dooms of Mister Twister,” by Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani. Every team has to have a beginning, and this tale chronicling the first meeting of Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad is more than just some goofy Silver Age fun; every page crackles with what a good idea teaming up the sidekicks is. You can practically hear editor Murray Boltinoff and writer Bob Haney exclaiming “Why didn’t we think of this sooner?”

5. Marvel and DC Present: The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans: “Apokolips…Now,” by Chris Claremont, Walt Simonson and Terry Austin (1982). Claremont and Simonson do Wolfman and Perez proud here in this inter-company crossover that pits the X-Men and the Titans against Darkseid and Dark Phoenix. The Titans look every bit the equal of their crosstown counterparts from Marvel.

4. The New Teen Titans #38: “Who Is Donna Troy?,” by Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Romeo Tanghal (1983). Wolfman and Perez attempt to untangle all the contradictions and confusion about Wonder Girl’s origins and background, and manage to do so in a touching tale about Donna finally finding her first adoptive mother.

3. Tales of the Teen Titans #42-#44, Annual #3: “The Judas Contract,” by Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Dick Giordano and Mike DeCarlo (1984). One of the best examples of Wolfman playing the long game, he made us love Terra, the newest member of the team, then revealed she was a spy, working with the Titans’ most dangerous foe Deathstroke. And then they killed her off. Heartbreaking, even with the creepy relationship between Terra and Slade.

2. The New Teen Titans #1: “The New Teen Titans,” by Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Romeo Tanghal (1980). This was such a surprise when it hit shelves. Suddenly, DC had a vital, exciting book that could rival the X-Men. Wolfman and Perez’s new creations Cyborg, Starfire and Raven fit in like they had always been there, a remarkable feat.

1. Tales of the Teen Titans #50: “We Are Gathered Here Today…,” by Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Mike DeCarlo and Dick Giordano (1984). The wedding of Donna Troy and Terry Long is my favorite Titans moment, bar none. Yes, Terry turned out to be something of a mansplaining creep, and yes, looking back, he’s way too old to be marrying Donna, but I still have so much fondness for this beautiful single-issue special, one of the few comic-book weddings that doesn’t result in a slugfest, and one that’s gorgeously illustrated by George Perez at the height of his powers. This issue more than any other conveyed that the Titans weren’t a team, they were a family.


— The Complete TEEN TITANS WEEK Index of Features and Columns. Click here.

— The TOP 13 TEEN TITANS Covers — RANKED. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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    • Love the New Teen Titans. I agree, N.T.T. # 13 was the issue for me when I became a full on fan.
      Up till then I was buying sporadic issues( 1,3,9, 10 & 12) it just keep getting better and better. What a great ride Wolfman and Perez took us on.

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  1. One period not represented here is the entire original run (after the B&B intro and before the late-1970s relaunch). The “Mr. Jupiter Era” is often maligned these days, but those first few issues from 1970 (#25-29) feature absolutely gorgeous artwork by Nick Cardy, the introduction of Lilith and Mal, the return of Hawk & Dove, and a real “the sixties are over, man” vibe as the Titans accidentally kill the DCU’s version of Albert Schweitzer and temporarily give up their costumed identities. There is a great interlocking storyline with the Skeates/Aparo/Giordano Aquaman run of the time as well. Fantastic, overlooked stuff!

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    • I was also thinking that Teen Titans #25 would be a good inclusion on this lift (the story that leads the Titans to Mr Jupiter’s institute after they fail to save a renowned doctor – it’s the beginning of a redemption arc that is, sadly, not followed through on well enough). Another possibility is Teen Titans #19, where they are supposed to work with Russian teen superhero Starfire. That issue sees the Titans storylines climb out from under a lot of silly villains. Both stories are in a ‘coming of age’ vein.

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  2. Oh, I love these! I remember reading the Brave & Bold origin in one of those 80/100 page giants I got as (I think!) a Christmas present! (No kidding! I was about 14 and I hit my folks up for it—they still stuffed a stocking for me!) And I loved the Batman team up “Brave and the Bold.” One of my favorite comic series ever! The TV cartoon was loads of fun!

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  3. Waid’s Finest
    14 July 2023

    I don’t want to call them “Waid’s Finest” even though they just about are. For one thing, I want Mark to rest now and then so he doesn’t burn out too soon and get sick of delighting us with his wondrous gifts. Toward that effect, I also want to see what Paul Levitz and Geoff Johns can do with this Retro-Silver Redux.

    And even if Mark Waid doesn’t want to share, or similarly gifted writers choose not to play here, I’m still going to soak up every book he puts out on this team. This is great stuff, and maybe the most FUN in too many drab years of gratuitous inclusion. Sure, it may not precisely be “Legs” [*1] or “Princess Ponytail” [*2], but it’s still a lot closer than I dared hope. I don’t necessarily disapprove of Robin’s covered legs, but decades of conditioning make them seem… not right. And as for Wonder Girl’s SECOND costume and hairstyle, they don’t bother me (much) either, but again, the ponytail look was just etched so deeply that the reboot seems a little false without it. These are, one, super trivial complaints and, two, probably not even in Waid’s purview as the writer. So be it.

    This is good stuff! These Teen Titans have distinctive personalities that are true to decades of traditions. Waid spins a few of them in fresh directions while remaining true to core values. These are fresh-faced heroes, most of whom are trying to make their way out of the shadows of their mentors, and who are (mainly) devoid of angst. And Emanuela Lupacchino‘s artwork just glistens! She portrays their innocence AND strength with a great measure of Nick Cardy goodness and just a touch of Darwyn Cooke grace, all while channeling Curt Swan level micro-expression mastery. It’s a joy to see the Silver-Age originals, and (Bronze-Aged) Bumblebee’s inclusion is most welcome, too. With a central cast of these six, we can hold off for any appearances of later Titans. Hawk? Dove? Lilith? Mal? You bet! Later! (Red) Starfire? He may be problematic, as there’s no USSR on this new Earth in the 21st Century. However, Russia does remain very much a pariah nation in popular culture, so an updated (White) Starfire could be korosho!

    I wouldn’t want to give away too much, but I will say that certain heartbreaking sequences in the storyline clarify (maybe too painfully) why a certain character just might be tempted to embrace the needle in some as yet undefined future. And YES, let’s see how that other “situationship” develops.

    More please. Thar’s gold in them thar thrills! Meanwhile, I am perfectly content with calling this particular plenum of the Disparate Continua “Earth Waid” (though I remain open to “Earth W”.)

    [*1]: “Legs” was Barbara Gordon’s pet name for Robin (Batman Family 16, March 1978.)
    [*2]: “Princess Ponytail” is MY pet name for “Wonder Chick” [*3] (my fevered brow, 2007).
    [*3]: “Wonder Chick” is Speedy’s pet name for Wonder Girl (if you don’t know by now you’re not fanboy enough to have read this far).

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  4. I’m with you on Titans West, would have liked to have seen more.

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