The Original New TEEN TITANS: A New 52 Future ... or Not?
CREDIT: DC Comics
With New York Comic Con coming up, there's one question that fans should be ready to hear at almost every DC panel they attend:
When are we going to see Wally West and the other New Teen Titans?
The question gets asked not only because so many comic book fans are nostalgic for decades of Teen Titans issues — although that's a big part of it; there's a high level of respect among the comics community for the original team of sidekicks who founded the Teen Titans — sidekicks who are either non-existent or significantly changed in the DCnU. (Some fans have even cried foul that the publisher is adding insult to injury by featuring the earlier, eliminated team on their website under the entry for "Teen Titans.")
But the heated debate about Teen Titans history has gotten even more fuel from the fact that DC appears to have noticeably — and publicly — reversed their stance on the original team's existence in the DCnU. And two years later, there's still no sign of the original gang in DC's revamped history, or indication that they might exist in upcoming stories.
So the question still remains: Could the missing Teen Titans show up one day? Will they be part of DC's past — or their future? Where might they be right now?
And could the adamant insistence by DC that there never was a Teen Titans team actually give us hope for the eventual appearance of Wally West and friends?
The Old Switcheroo
First, let's examine how we've gotten to this point, because the DCnU actually addressed this question when it was still young. In the first couple months of the New 52 relaunch, Teen Titans and Batwoman both referred to former Teen Titans teams. Tim Drake talked about the current team being the "shortest incarnation of the Teen Titans ever" — implying the existence of past teams. And Batwoman character Bette Kane referred to herself as a "former" Teen Titan.
The first month's clues were a clear signal that there was at least one former Teen Titans team in the DCnU's revamped timeline.
But when the collections of Batwoman and Teen Titans came out nine-to-12 months later, those references to the old Teen Titans teams had been edited out of the books. No longer was there an old Teen Titans team.
There remained a little bit of hope when discussions between characters in Red Hood and the Outlaws further reinforced that the 20-something heroes were part of some heroic group in the past. During the series' issue #6, we were shown Nightwing, Starfire and Arsenal, implying that they worked together during the five-year time period between the first appearance of superheroes (as depicted in Justice League at the time), and the "current day" of the DCnU.
The scene in Red Hood and the Outlaws was written by Scott Lobdell, who also wrote the Titans-teasing dialogue in Teen Titans #1. And early language from Lobdell during interviews and convention panels indicated he was under the impression that there had been other Titans teams in the past. Back in 2011, before DC's reboot, Lobdell told convention-goers, "There are groups in the mythology that were called Teen Titans before."
Yet DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio was saying, around the same time, that the Wolfman/Pérez era would be "eventually gone."
Now that the DCnU is two years old, there's been a change in the way even Lobdell is answering questions regarding the past of the characters associated with the Teen Titans. The way it's being approached now is that the 20-something heroes of the DCU "hung out," but never formally put together a Teen Titans team.
DC seems very adamant that this is the first and only incarnation of the Teen Titans.
Can't Happen Like That
Of course, that doesn't mean DC cannot change that stance. There are five years of continuity still missing from the lives of DCnU superheroes. Even though there's no "former Teen Titans" being mentioned now, the company could suddenly launched an Untold Tales of the Titans in its next batch of new series.
Could that work? If there's still a chance for a Wally West and Donna Troy appearance, it's becoming obvious that it won't resemble past Teen Titans stories much. Cyborg, who used to hang with the Titans, is now one of the early members of the Justice League instead. Terra is part of the Ravagers, so her "Judas Contract" affiliation is no more. Beast Boy, Raven… the old Titans have new roles in the DCnU that would be tough to retcon away.
DC could also introduce Wally and Donna separately. But if they aren't united with a teenaged Dick Grayson, Roy Harper and other Teen Titans characters, will Wally and Donna still have the same kind of magic?
There is Hope
As most internet comics fans know, DiDio gave a Christmas gift to Wally West fans on Dec. 25, 2012, when he posted on his Facebook page:
Merry Christmas to everyone! Even you Wally. Maybe I'll see you in the New Year.
He could have been messing with fans, but there's also a chance that he meant it. Could DC be planning a return of the character?
There's another reason to believe the characters are coming back: The only reason to stick so steadfastly with the "no-past-Teen-Titans" edict is if DC has plans to re-introduce Wally West and Donna Troy as blank slates elsewhere.
And there are lots of "elsewheres" to choose from. DC has multiple Earths on which they could appear, thanks to Earth 2 and the upcoming Grant Morrison mini-series Multiversity. With the traveling between Earths that's going on in the DCU lately, it would open the door for Wally to exist on any Earth that a writer wants him to visit in the future.
There's also a lot of guesses on the internet asking if the "prisoner" that showed up in the Trinity War finale might be Wally West — that the Crime Syndicate of America somehow captured him and brought him to the DCnU. Is that the reason for the mysterious hood? And wouldn't it be appropriate for Forever Evil writer Geoff Johns, who wrote Wally for years, to bring him back?
There's also a chance that the creative switch on The Flash — with writer/artists Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato leaving after November — is part of DC's plans to shake up the world of The Flash with some new speed force characters. (It's not like that title hasn't given powers to a few other people.) Plus, the series already has Wally's aunt Iris West in the cast.
If DiDio was serious about the "new year" seeing Wally's return, he's only got a few months left. So what do you think, Newsarama readers? Could the edict from DC about no former Titans teams actually indicate they have plans to introduce the characters elsewhere? Do you think the prisoner might be Wally? Or do you have another theory?