The teenage superheroes of Teen Titans under the pen of Adam Glass have been harboring some pretty massive secrets. But over the next few months, those mysteries will be blown wide open while the team also has to deal with Deathstroke during the “Terminus Agenda” crossover.
Featuring Robin, Red Arrow, and Kid Flash with newcomers Crush, Djinn, and Roundhouse, the this new line-up began with Glass and artist Bernard Chang in June 2018. Since then, the backgrounds of the new characters have been slowly revealed while the team has been building relationships and facing challenges together.
This week’s Teen Titans #27 will specifically reveal the dark background that Djinn has been hiding from the team - something Glass promises will turn into a major story in the future of the book. Then in March, the book will begin a three-month crossover with the Deathstroke title by Christopher Priest.
Newsarama talked to Glass to find out more about the secrets he’s revealing in Teen Titans and what readers can expect when these new members come up against Deathstroke.
Newsarama: Adam, when you introduced the new characters to the Teen Titans team, several of them had mysterious backgrounds. Was that part of your plan when you started on the title, to reveal their histories over time?
Adam Glass: When I sat down and discussed Teen Titans, one of the things I said off the bat was, you know, the most successful run on the title, although I love Geoff Johns’ run, was the Marv Wolfman-George Pérez run. I think what they did so well, because I read that book because I was the perfect age when it came out, was that it introduced three new characters.
So I already knew who Robin and Wonder Girl and Kid Flash were, but it obviously gave us Starfire and Cyborg and Changeling. I remember wanting to know so much about them. So I wanted to use that same foundation for a new generation, the foundation of, you know, we have Robin, we have Red Arrow, and we have Kid Flash, but we’re introducing these three new character of Djinn, Crush, and Roundhouse.
I wanted to find out about them through our characters and through our stories. So it was always part of the plan.
What you never know, but you hope, is whether people will dig the new characters. But it was always the plan and idea to roll these characters out by giving just a little taste of them as characters, then reveal their backstories.
It’s been a lot of fun.
In issue #27, you’re going to learn a big part of Djinn’s backstory — her shame, her secret, and why she’s been acting the way she’s been acting.
Nrama: Yeah, let’s talk about that. Djinn seems like she’s not sure about being part of this team, but something has pulled her closer to these characters, particularly Robin. Is that what’s keeping her around the team?
Glass: I think it will become clear in her story that this is really the first connection she’s had in thousands of years with people. And even though she’s thousands of years old, because of her situation, she’s kind of stuck at 14 or 15. So she’s relating for the first time in a long time with people. So it feels like a family to her.
That’s what’s great about the Teen Titans. It always feels like a family. There’s the family you’re born into and there’s the family you make. They definitely fall underneath that.
She is, I think, around for many reasons, but yes, her relationships is one of them, and you’ll continue to learn more about why she’s there.
Nrama: The cover for this week’s Teen Titans #27 highlights how these characters all have secrets. Even Robin has a secret down in his prison, which has just been discovered. It feels like we’re starting to see the revelations about all these secrets soon.
Glass: Yeah, some cards get turned over, but other breadcrumbs get put out. We’re also working on some of the personal stuff. Kid Flash goes over to Roundhouse’s mom’s house for dinner and sits down with his mom. And you know, moms can be embarrassing and stay stuff, which is a fun character moment, but readers will also learn things that way.
So we also will be getting more of a taste of Roundhouse’s story in this issue.
But Djinn’s story gets pretty much revealed, at least on the surface. I mean, it’s the story she shares. Is that the full, true story? You know? We’re getting her side of the story.
Nrama: The little bit you revealed about Crush seemed very reminiscent of Superman’s story - like, what if his ship crashed somewhere else?
Glass: Just so you know, that’s exactly the way I pitched that. I was like, what if Superman was found by a couple who were at Burning Man? They thought was hysterical and were very supporting of that idea.
Nrama: Djinn feels like she’s got a much darker secret though.
Glass: I agree. I think Djinn’s telling a part of the truth in #27. But there’s more to it.
And down the line, it will play itself out in a very major way and will give us a big storyline to go down.
She’s being honest about things, but she’s not being 100% honest about them. Half-truths and half-lies. Don’t we all create our own story? I’m sure if you told me your story, it’s mostly true, but there will be parts that are your perception of the truth. And if I asked your mom or your sister or your ex-boyfriend, they’d have their version of it.
So I think Djinn’s doing something that’s very age appropriate. She’s telling the story about herself from her viewpoint, and then, down the line, when we realize there’s more to it, we’ll realize, did she do it to protect herself? Did she do it because she truly believed her story was the real story? It’ll play in a lot of different ways, which I think is great and interesting.
Nrama: There’s also a crossover coming up, and it harkens back to the Wolfman-Perez run as well because the team is going to be interacting with Deathstroke - a few of these characters for the first time. What were you wanting to explore for these characters in that story, and is there anything you can tell us about what’s coming up in "The Terminus Agenda"?
Glass: Yeah, you know, Damian and Kid Flash have such a rich history with him. I think, for both of them, this is really personal. But for the others, it’s not as personal. It’s just another day in the park, until they come up against him and realize, oh my God!
Here’s what I guarantee you. This changes everything for them. The team will never be the same at the end of this. They will be broken in a way that I don’t know if they can fix. They don’t know if they can fix. And it will reveal even more secrets, and it will really take the team to the breaking point.
And something might break.
Nrama: You’re working with Bernard Chang on this. What does his artwork bring to the book?
Glass: I’ve worked with some great artists. I loved working with Patrick Oliffe on Rough Riders, which was a book I did with Aftershock.
And I had such a great relationship with him. But I have a really great relationship with Bernard. He draws it better than I think it. He’s the ultimate professional. We’re sympatico. And through this experience, we’ve become brothers. He’s someone who will be a friend for life. I so admire and always have admired his work.
I just think he takes this book to a whole other level.
Nrama: Then is there anything else you want to tell fans about Teen Titans?
Glass: If you’ve been following the book and you’ve been waiting for some answers, you’re going to start getting them. The conflict is going to grow and even more secrets are going to be revealed. Lines will be drawn. And the team will never be the same again. So if you like the book up to this point, get ready, because it’s about to kick into another gear.