Over the years, DC’s Teen Titans group has been one of those perennial books that’s always around. At one time, The New Teen Titans, as written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by George Perez, was one of it not the hottest comic around, rivaling The Uncanny X-Men for popularity. The classic line-up that included Nightwing, Raven, Starfire, Cyborg, Changeling, Wonder Girl, and some others was all the rage. Other Titans came and went, such as Kid Flash, Speedy, Aqualad, Red Star, Pantha, and Wildebeest, but the core group was what the fan remembered.
Then, after the Zero Hour storyline, a new line-up appeared. Gone were most of the classic Titans, possibly due to no longer technically being “teens”. In its place was a line-up that at least looked interesting. There was former Speedy Roy Harper, now going by Arsenal. Donna Troy went by her real name and was, at the time, a member of the spacefaring police force, the Darkstars. Former Team Titans from a collapsed future timeline Mirage and Terra were there. So was the at-the-time only Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner, as were two teen heroes from the period, Impulse and Damage.
The Legacy Hero is a longstanding DC tradition. The idea is to take an old character name and concept and rework the character into a new character who may or may not be related to the older one. There’s a bit less of that with the “new 52” today, but when someone opted to rework the Flash from Golden Age Jay Garrick to Silver Age Barry Allen, everything went from there. Furthermore, when Barry met Jay, a character most of Barry’s readers would have never heard of given their age and the collectability of old comics back then, the idea of connecting these old heroes took root and hasn’t really gone anywhere since.
One of the more prolific superhero names for DC has been Starman. Originally, Starman was Ted Knight, an astrophysicist who discovered a way to channel starlight into a small wand he called a cosmic rod (stop giggling, Watson) that allowed him to fly and do stuff with stellar energy (mostly fire energy blasts). Starman was, like many of his contemporaries, a member of the Justice Society and disappeared when the Golden Age of comics ended. Unlike many of his contemporaries, the various attempts to create other Starman characters wasn’t as cut-and-dried as, say, Flash or Green Lantern. There were many Starmen, all with different abilities and few with any relationship whatsoever to Ted Knight.
Post Zero Hour, DC produced another new Starman, this one the son of Ted Knight. Jack Knight had no desire to be a superhero. He was into collectables and ran a small knick-knack shop out of his home town of Opal City. Circumstances pushed him into superheroing, and he probably became the single most memorable Starman of them all.
I’m sure Tom Kelly could speak to this much better than I can, and probably will in his podcast reaction column, but there seems to be some misunderstanding around the DC Multiverse and what the end of Convergence sets in motion.
Ryan is right that the original Crisis destroyed the multiverse. However, it hasn’t remained that way for 29 years.
Do you like Kingdom Come? The pre-Zero Hour DC universe? Epic crossovers designed to take all your money and probably not maybe leave you satisfied? Then cart yer arse on in here and read more about Convergence Week Two!
Be sure to catch up on all the Convergence happenings with coverage of:
Welcome to Convergence Week 2. If you read my coverage of week 1 of Convergence you saw that my Pre-Flashpoint DCU knowledge was nothing impressive. Thanks to Tom Kelly for filling in some knowledge gaps and for an extensive comment on the Extremists of Angor.
Hopefully this week is a little more in my wheel house as the main combantants are Metroplis from the pre-Zero Hour universe and the world of Kingdom Come. It’s been awhile but I have read Kingdom Come, and pre-Zero Hour would be right around the time I was actually collecting some DC books with the Death of Superman and Knightfall. One of the side universes in the spotlight this week is the San Diego of Jim Lee’s Wildstorm universe, from which I read a handful of books back in it’s Image Comics days. So things are looking up, time will tell.
Be sure to catch up on all the Convergence happenings with coverage of Week One: Part 1, Part 2
Read on for spoilers after break for Convergence #2, Batman Shadow Of The Bat #1, Supergirl Matrix #1, Green Lantern/Parallax #1, and Superboy #1.
Superhero supporting casts can oftentimes change from creator to creator. Its not that uncommon. Yes, some aren’t going anywhere. Superman will always have Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Perry White. Batman will always have Alfred and Commissioner Gordon. Spider-Man is going to be weighed down by Aunt May and J. Jonah Jameson for all eternity. But lesser supporting cast members can come and go, sometimes without warning. When writer William Messner-Loebs was working on The Flash, Wally West had a huge supporting cast of friends that succeeding writer Mark Waid decided were only sporadically useful at best and largely ignored aside from the Pied Piper. Loebs had Wally and Linda Park say hello to each other at a mutual friend’s wedding on his last page, and aside from her and Piper, Waid built a new supporting cast made up more of various other speedsters. More egregious would be how Judd Winick gave Kyle Rayner a gay friend, Terry, during his Green Lantern run. At the end of one issue, Kyle appeared to die and Terry got his power ring…only for returning writer Ron Marz to come in the very next issue to see Kyle alive, well, and with the ring on the very first page, and some dialogue how sometime between issues Terry had simply returned the ring and that was that. Terry was never seen again.
Then there was the Alpha Centurion. No one really knows what happened to that guy.
This ongoing series of mine has focused largely on forgotten or little-used heroes. Today’s entry is nothing like that, since the Spectre has been a DC staple since his creation in 1940.
He’s just been a markedly different sort of character any time he appears anywhere. At least with someone like Superman, you know what the guy is and where he stands. With the Spectre, he’s more or less what the story needs. He really is a deus ex machina, sometimes rather literally.
Want to cause a dispute among comics fans? Ask them about big blockbuster crossovers. Most fans claim to hate the dang things, and yet they still shell out good money to read them. Many come out like clockwork, and storylines inbetween seem to be more the calm between storms. Publishers promise big changes. “Nothing will be the same!” they say. Rarely is this ever the case, and many changes are so minor the fans barely notice. Even if resurrection were not a distinct possibility in any case that doesn’t involve removing a tragic backstory, most fans know better than to assume many characters will actually stay dead. Usually its more like, “This character will remain dead until we figure out how to bring them back in at least a somewhat plausible manner.”
In the end, most crossovers don’t do much. DC has Convergence coming this summer, just in time for the 30th anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths, probably the only crossover to actually make massive changes that really stuck for the longest time. Marvel is doing a new Secret Wars that is doing…something. Neither publisher is saying anything, and that just stokes the Jimmy Impossibles of the world to a frenzy until someone is left cleaning up an awful mess of drool and disappointment.
Gabbing Geek, like any online publication worth its salt, has editorial discussions. Watson was wondering how a story on longest-dead characters would go, specifically ones that stayed dead or had actual emotional impacts on the reader, especially if they died during an “event”.
Shortest death: probably Hal Jordan as Paralax in Zero Hour…back the very next month in the pages of Green Lantern. Longest may be Captain Mar-Vel, still dead and staying that way.