The TOP 13 TEEN TITANS Stories — RANKED

TEEN TITANS WEEK: Going out on a big limb on the 40th anniversary of The New Teen Titans #1…

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.

Meanwhile, dig THE TOP 13 TEEN TITANS STORIES — RANKED:

By SCOTT TIPTON

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.

MORE

— 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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