When the DCU was rebooted in 2011, the heroes of the Teen Titans were some of the most altered superheroes who first showed up.
Kid Flash had a different origin, Robin was a wing-wearing Red Robin, and — later joining the team — Superboy was a clone who existed to attack other teen heroes.
Over the last two-and-a-half years since Teen Titans launched with a new #1, writer Scott Lobdell has been taking these new versions of teen heroes on an ever-changing journey through a variety of challenges — reintroducing old characters and bringing aboard new ones along the way.
That journey ends in April, when Teen Titans #30 is the final issue of the title for DC, in a month that also sees the release of Annual for the series. The two issues in April will not only be a finale for the series, but will end Lobdell's run on the book, as DC and the writer announced last week.
Lobdell, who also launched Red Hood and the Outlaws and Superboy in 2011, has since been involved in a variety of comics for DC, the most high profile of which is the ongoing Superman title. But he's stuck with the Teen Titans along the way, most recently taking the characters into the future during the Forever Evil event — controversially stranding Superboy and replacing him with an evil Superboy from the future, while concurrently rewriting the origin of Kid Flash.
Newsarama talked to Lobdell to find out more about this "ending" for the Teen Titans title, and found out it's not necessarily an ongoing end of the overall Teen Titans concept.
Newsarama: So, DC confirmed the Teen Titans series is ending, but are you writing the end of the team itself? In other words, are the Teen Titans (the team) ending too?
Scott Lobdell: I am working on the Annual this weekend so I will be able to tell you better next week! But... after everything that has happened in the past few months, there is not much of a team left to even disband.
Nrama: It would seem pretty strange to just up and leave so many characters in limbo, and now with Nightwing apparently needing a new ID, Wally coming into the New 52, it seems there are some opportunities there. Any thoughts on where DC takes the franchise next?
Lobdell: Not a one! But I had dinner with Dan DiDio just last night and he is very excited and upbeat about DC's plans for the Teen Titans.... and that's good enough for me!
Nrama: It's at least good to hear there are plans for the franchise. But does this mean the characters of the Teen Titans will be in disarray when you're done?
Lobdell: I think you phrased that question just for the message boards! But yes, the state of the Teen Titans at the conclusion of this story does not have a lot of resemblance to those fresh faced kids of Teen Titans #1.
Nrama: That doesn't sound good. And since you said you talked to Dan DiDio last night about this… Kid Flash (Bar Tor) is conspicuously absent from that Teen Titans #30 cover. Are we getting Wally only to lose Bart?
Lobdell: No one sends me the covers. It is so frustrating.
Nrama: Solstice is missing too. Anything you can tell fans about that?
Lobdell: Really? But she's so adorable! Why would anyone leave her off the cover?!
Nrama: Fair enough. Then let's talk about what's coming up for the Teen Titans over the next few issues. What can you reveal about the story's premise as we head toward April?
Lobdell: They are going to be working towards a definitive victory of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and Harvest — the impetus for them coming together as a team in the first place. People who have been reading the book from the beginning will be pleased!
Nrama: Now that you know the ending of your story, what are you most proud of accomplishing during your time on Teen Titans?
Lobdell: I would be lying if i didn't say I'm going to miss Bunker most of all. I just love the guy and how upbeat and even how grounded he is. I love that he's always talking to and about God — and I'm glad that it appears God loves him right back.
I'm also proud that Teen Titans launched with a lot of diversity and new characters. I looked around at a lot of the other relaunches in recent years and most of the companies relaunch their biggest teams with the "classics" — the founding fathers of the books.
But Bobbie Chase and Katie Stewart were very supportive of us developing Bunker and Skitter and using the relatively new Solstice (go JT and Nicola!) on the team. When I think of young people of color or young gay and lesbian readers looking to new comic books and seeing themselves not reflected in team memberships, it always makes me sad. So I'm happy that these three really got their chance in the spotlight.
Nrama: It's true that your Titans lineup has been one of the more fluid ones over the last few decades. You added some brand-new characters, and used some altered classic ones — aside from the general rule that the "Robin has to lead" the group, what makes this team concept one that works so well with so many different characters?
Lobdell: I think it's right there in the name — all that's really required for membership is to be a teen and to be a titan. It's sort of like a great beef stew — any number of ingredients will change the flavor and texture, but at the end of the day, it's still tasty, it's still stew!
I'm not sure how "fluid" my Titans were. In fact, Marv and George also started with a mix of hardcore Titans and newbies (Starfire, Cyborg and Raven going on to have their faces etched on the Teen Titans Mt. Rushmore!) — in that way Brett and I were just following in the grand tradition of mixing in some classics and some future classics!
Nrama: What are your hopes for the Teen Titans going forward?
Lobdell: As I have been a huge Teen Titan fan for as long as I can remember reading comics, I'm excited to see the take the next creative team has for the concept and the characters in the book. While I've noticed that everyone has their favorite iteration of the team, from the sidekick club of the early years, to Marv and George's trying-to-step-out-of-the-shadows of their mentors, to Peter David's youth in revolt of Young Justice, Geoff's mentor program and Judd's "hail, hail the gangs all here" run, to mine and Brett's "All New All Different Teen Titans" (not to mention the multitude of animated variations on the theme, including the laugh riot that is currently on the air) and up to and including Tiny Titans... the truth is the Teen Titans lends itself to many different variations! How can one not be excited about what's coming up for this team?
Nrama: Let's talk about you for a second. Do you have anything else lined up at DC to "replace" this in your docket?
Lobdell: Do I ever?!
Nrama: Then to finish up, is there anything else you want to tell fans about Teen Titans?
Lobdell: I know it was a bit of heavy lifting for some of the longtime fans of the core characters on the book — and Newsarama fans haven't been shy about voicing their complaints — but I can't find it in my heart to apologize.
I was hired to write a series that started the team "on page one"... no history, no preexisting relationships, for readers that were not familiar with the concept of Teen Titans. The new continuity being what it was, Bart could not have been Bart Allen from the future, Superboy could not have been a clone who spent the last few months living on the Kent Farm as Ma and Pa had died some 10 years ago, and on and on...
... so while I wouldn't expect anyone to agree with every choice I made or was handed, I will say I remain very proud of the book I've worked on for the last 30-odd issues. And I'm very grateful to DC that they entrusted me with a book that is still standing with its head held high as we shuffle off the stage and let someone else take the spotlight! I, for one, can't wait!