The Teen Titans Project, Part X: 

The Big Breakdown (1986)

It’s one of the ironic contradictions of comic books -- of fiction in general, really -- that disagreeable things must happen to people we like for the story to remain interesting.  We like rooting for the underdog.  We want to see our heroes overcome overwhelming opposition.  It gets boring if the hero wins every time, and if every adventure is smooth sailing. 

Bill Murray once stated that the hardest thing about writing Ghostbusters 2 was coming up with a way for the Ghostbusters to be underdogs again.  Marv Wolfman faced a similar dilemma with the New Teen Titans.  Like the Ghostbusters, they had saved New York City and the world (New Teen Titans #1-5, 1984).  And, like the Ghostbusters, they had been feted with a citywide celebration of their accomplishments (New Teen Titans #6, 1985).  The Titans were successful, popular and happy. 

The Titans’ good fortune was visible in their personal lives as well.  Donna Troy was blissfully married to Terry Long.  Dick and Kory were a happy couple.  And Cyborg and Changeling had become the best of friends after some early antagonism.  It was almost too good to be true.  It was definitely too good too last.  Writers from Robert Kirkman to George R.R. Martin have been accused of hating their characters after putting them through the wringer in Invincible or Game of Thrones.  The truth is that most writers don’t hate their characters, but they are acutely aware of the need to throw hardships at their characters so that we can cheer them on as they surmount seemingly impossible situations. 

Marv Wolfman was apparently aware of this as well.  In 1986, he embarked on the long process of the breaking the Titans apart so that he could them build back up again in 1987.  Admittedly, some fans don’t appreciate breakdown stories.  They may view the characters as real friends and they don’t want to see them hurt or unhappy.  They might not understand the function -- and even the necessity -- of breakdown stories.  I’m on the opposite end.  Maybe I’m a masochist but I enjoy a good breakdown story.  I appreciate the unfolding of a long-form story.  I admire the characterization that goes into it and that comes out of it.  There are bad, poorly executed breakdown stories -- Avengers Disassembled springs to mind -- but there are also great ones.  Chris Claremont broke down the X-Men with Marc Silvestri and built them up again with Jim Lee in one of my favorite eras for Marvel’s mutants.  Plus, perhaps more than most, I love cheering for the underdog -- including rooting for the replacement teams that spring up when the main team falls apart.  

Wolfman started sowing the seeds of the breakdown at the end of 1985.  Starfire was summoned back to Tamaran in issue #14.  Nightwing accompanied her as her boyfriend and Jericho tagged along because he was the only Titan who had never been to space before.  Artist Eduardo Barreto hinted that this might entail more than a temporary separation with his cover to issue #15.  He used puzzle pieces to show the Titans pursuing separate stories and the puzzle pieces noticeably didn’t fit together.  Wolfman dropped a bombshell in that same issue: Starfire was getting married … and it wasn’t to Nightwing.  Kory’s parents had arranged a state marriage for her to complete a peace treaty.  The Titans’ outer space vacation had suddenly become fraught with emotional tension, not to mention physical danger.

The New Teen Titans opened 1986 with a Tamaranean Civil War.  The populace was unhappy with their king’s weakness and Starfire’s evil sister Blackfire exploited that discontent to foment a rebellion.  For two issues (three if you count the crossover in Omega Men #34), Jericho, Nightwing and Starfire fought on the royalist side.  They managed to displace Blackfire from the throne but only temporarily.  In a beautifully rendered scene in issue #16, guest artist Chuck Patton contrasted Starfire’s wedding procession with Blackfire’s military procession.  In issue #17, Kory got married, her sister invaded, her father lost his crown and her family was exiled.  The marriage that was supposed to secure a lasting peace was superfluous.  To make matters worse, Dick couldn’t accept that the love of his life married someone else.  He left for Earth confused and upset, and not even Jericho could console him.  The marriage of Starfire was a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.  Wolfman drove a wedge between the fan’s favorite couple and the Titans’ breakdown was well underway.

Things weren’t going much better for the Titans back on Earth.  Titans Tower, destroyed in the Trigon saga, had been rebuilt but Cyborg wasn’t sure there was still a team to inhabit it.  Kole had died in Crisis on Infinite Earths.  Raven was still missing and, unbeknownst to the rest of the Titans, a captive of Brother Blood.  Cyborg and Changeling openly discussed quitting the Titans and making a go of it as a duo since Donna Troy didn’t seem interested in helping them track down Gar’s dad.  Nightwing and Jericho returned to a team falling apart.

Issue #19 was stunning -- in both senses of the word; it was shocking but it also spectacular.  It started with an intense George Perez cover, showing Nightwing on the ground after Wonder Girl punched him.  Inside, the dissolution of the Titans was completed.  Mento quickly dispatched Cyborg and Changeling after they confronted him on their own.  Cyborg was hospitalized and Changeling heartbroken.  Dick and Donna had a confrontation of their own.  Still reeling from Starfire’s marriage, Dick blamed Donna for all of the Titans’ troubles.  Donna responded by pointing out Dick’s own pitiful selfishness.  As happens in superhero comics, the disagreement came to blows.  Dick then quit the Titans and left to find Raven on his own.  Donna’s personal life was also crumbling.  She and Terry had been quarreling over a paper she was supposed to help him research and now Terry’s job was in danger after he missed yet another deadline.  Donna was reduced to tears in a heartrending show of humanity.  As Gar remarked, “It’s nice to know everything’s not perfect about you.”  

With the team in turmoil, Donna recruited a new roster of old Titans to respond to a request for help from the FBI in issues #21 and 22.  As I mentioned earlier, I’m fond of replacement team stories and that’s doubly true when the replacement team also evokes nostalgia.  Wonder Girl’s new team consisted of Aqualad, Hawk, Speedy, the new Robin and Wally West, now the full-fledged Flash.  The team was supposed to provide security for a Cold War summit in Switzerland but the real story was in the character interaction and development.  Donna kept turning to Robin for advice, forgetting that this was Batman’s new sidekick, Jason Todd.  Hawk was unhinged, grieving for his brother -- who died during the Crisis -- and missing his calming influence.  Plus, in the biggest development of all, we discovered that the assassin Cheshire and the Titan Speedy were once lovers.  That revelation added a poignant personal dynamic to the story and set Cheshire up as one of the Titans’ greatest antagonists -- especially when an epilogue revealed that Roy and Jade had a child together.  The replacement story makes for a fun interlude, even as it demonstrates that any group is prone to the same internal dissension that has been pulling the Titans apart.

The Titans continue down their separate paths in issue #22 as Marv Wolfman sets up three future stories.  Dick is captured by the church of Brother Blood and brought face to face with their newest recruit: an apparently brainwashed Raven.  Mento possesses Cyborg’s body from afar and sets him against Changeling in a battle of best friends.  And Starfire, rejecting her father’s passivity, sets out to retake the throne from Blackfire alone.

The Starfire story is the first to bear fruit.  Starfire attacks her sister in issue #23.  She rallies disaffected royalists to her side and sparks a second civil war.  However, Starfire soon discovers that most Tamaraneans side with her sister.  They admire Blackfire’s strength and decisiveness and claim that she’s restored their pride as a people.  It’s a surprising twist -- one that represents real change for Kory’s home planet and a definite loss for Kory herself.  Rejected by her people and disappointed in her family, Kory departs for Earth -- now her only home.  A great story sparks an emotional reaction and sometimes that emotion is sadness.  We share Kory’s heartbreak and it’s a sign that Wolfman’s story is working.   

Starfire’s homecoming is surprising in a different way.  Marv Wolfman uses her return to launch a second title, Teen Titans Spotlight, and to tell a story he’d wanted to write for years.  Kory comes back, not to New York City, but to South Africa.  Wolfman uses her alien perspective to expose the absurdity of apartheid in one of his better political stories.  It’s dreadfully easy to become trite when writing a politically relevant tale but Wolfman pulls it off.  He uses Starfire’s initial confusion and growing understanding to inform his readers but he also shows the complexity of the situation by having the locals disagree with one another.  The Titans’ earlier forays into relevance didn’t always work well but this story is pretty good.

The Mento story is the second to step into the spotlight.  Donna’s replacement Titans break up at the beginning of issue #24 but Flash and Aqualad agree to stick around.  Jericho also rejoins the Titans, having taken some time off after his adventures in space.  Cyborg and Changeling have been handed a few defeats but they’re dealing with it well enough.  There’s even a hint of romance in the air as Vic and Gar spend time with their love interests, Sarah Charles and Jillian respectively. Cyborg and Changeling return to the Tower to complete the line-up but they aren’t there long before Mento’s newest minions, The Hybrid, attack. 

Honestly, the Hybrid are pretty pathetic.  They’re a mish-mash of different mythologies and they sport some hideous costumes (the Harpi’s two-foot high shoulder straps are particularly egregious).  There’s still a strong emotional component to the story as the Titans have to go through the Hybrid to get to Steve Dayton, but I won’t pretend that they’re compelling villains.  After a fight that lasts an issue and a half, Mento escapes again with a captive Aqualad in tow.

Finally, Marv Wolfman and the Titans turn their attention to the third story.  Having lost to Mento once again, Changeling agrees that the Titans’ biggest priority is rescuing Nightwing and Raven from the church of Brother Blood.  Truthfully, it’s a curious decision.  Mento is no longer a vague threat.  He’s attacked the Titans and is holding Aqualad prisoner.  It’s a little odd that the Titans would abandon Aqualad like that.  It’s almost enough to give a guy an inferiority complex.  Wolfman has given the Titans believable motives throughout the break-up but he made a misstep here.

Then again, the rebuilding of the Titans really began with the Hybrid story.  They had a full team of six Titans for that tale.  It wasn’t the classic line-up, but Wolfman wasn’t finished either.  I appreciate how Wolfman rebuilt the team in stages, reintroducing Titans in ones or twos.  It leant a sense of progress to the title, and it was more believable than an instant reunion would have been.  The gradual rebuilding continued with the next tale.   Wonder Girl invited Jason Todd to rejoin the Titans as Aqualad’s replacement and Starfire finally returned from her adventures in Tamaran and South Africa.  A full team of seven set out to confront the Church of Blood and rescue their teammates.

Of course, it’s never that easy.  Wolfman and Barreto delayed the battle by giving us a two-part Zandia story first.  The Titans had to fight their way through Twister (#26) and the Brotherhood of Evil (#27) before they could even reach the Church of Blood.  But that’s a story for 1987.  The story of 1986 was the break-up of the New Teen Titans before their eventual and inevitable re-building.  It was an epic arc that lasted 18 months, from the end of 1985 into early 1987.  Although a few feelings might have been hurt along the way -- not to mention the occasional minor misstep -- it’s one of the stronger storytelling arcs in Titans lore.

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When 1986 began, I wasn't anywhere near a comic shop and had no access to the Baxter issues.  So while Chris was reading NTT 16-26, I was reading Tales of the Teen Titans.  Poor doomed Kole was already dead in Crisis before I read about her in Tales of the TT.

Chris covered what I read in 1986 very well in his 1985 thread.  I'll just add a few thoughts.  

The covers on Tales were new and not just xeroxes of the Baxter covers.  Chuck Patton did the covers for the issues that reprinted NTT 1-3.  Patton had done the covers and interiors of the last three non-reprint issues of New Teen Titans, #56-58.  His covers for Tales 60-62 are pretty bleh.  Patton was certainly a competent artist but just didn't have Perez's gifts.  The cover for #60 has the team running toward the reader, with an image of Trigon in the background.  Trigon doesn't look frightening at all, he looks like an old man with 2 extra eyes.  The covers for #61 and 62 are equally forgettable.

Things improve considerably with Brian Bolland doing the covers for Tales 63-65.  His first effort on #63 captures the horror theme Wolfman and Perez were going for with this story.  Take a look:

http://www.comics.org/issue/41188/cover/4/

After Bolland, we get covers from Marshall Rogers, Perez, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Tom Mandrake.  I liked the Perez cover but the others were a bit boring.  Tales # 70, reprinting NTT # 11 had a great creepy cover by Steve Bissette, who had done so many great Swamp Thing covers.  The year ends with two nice covers for # 71 and 72, the former by Stan Woch (who had done the interiors the year before) and the latter by J.L. Garcia-Lopez.

I started this post off by saying I hadn't yet read a Baxter issue as 1986 began.  I bought my first one in the summer of that year when I took a trip to the big city, #24.  All I remember of the Hybrid was how mundane I found them to be.  But I still continued on with the Baxter issues for a few years after that.

Thanks, John.

And thanks for mentioning the different covers for the reprint title.  There are definitely a few stinkers but there also a few memorable alternate covers.  Unlike you, I like the cover for #61 with the evil four-eyed Raven striding toward the reader- but not #63.  The Raven cover is evocative of Perez's covers for the Tales of the New Teen Titans mini-series and definitely grabbed my attention.  The Perez cover for #67 is pretty awesome.  I also like the Windsor-Smith cover for #68.  I wonder if our opinions of Kole would have changed if she had been introduced to the world through that BWS cover rather than as a throwaway minion for Thia.  I also find it interesting that DC reprinted the Titans/Dr. Light team-up from the 1986 Annual in issue #81. 

While I can see the point in breaking things down in order to build them back up, in this case, it really came off as way too heavy handed--with a solo hero title, it's perfectly plausible that, once the dust has settled from said hero's latest great victory, that other aspects of his life might have fallen apart while he was off being heroic, but when you have a cast the size of the Titans, and all of them have their lives turn to slightly different flavors of crap at the same time, it seems like overkill. In the case of the Titans, it certainly didn't help that, besides the problems that were dumped on them on purpose, the after-effects of the Crisis would soon be dumping more damage on many of these characters: Donna Troy would be damaged even more by losing her connection to Wonder Woman than she was when her husband devolved into a selfish whiny shlub, Dick Grayson would be pretty much emasculated when Jason Todd's post-Crisis origin was rolled out, and his whole evolution into Nightwing would be transformed from the story of a young man growing up and leaving the nest into a train wreck in which Batman fired him as Robin because the job was clearly too dangerous for a 19 year old, so he'd replace him with a 12 year old who was stupid enough to try and boost the hub caps from the Batmobile! As for the stuff that was done on purpose, first off, for all the triumph & such after what should have been the very final battle with Trigon, the one character who should have experienced the most from this victory, Raven, was shuttled off panel, and only returns when Brother Blood uses her in almost exactly the same way that Trigon did in his scheme to take over the world. Seriously, after all those issues of Raven whimpering about having to repress her emotions, and worrying about her father's Evil, there was finally a chance to give her a clean start, and explore more facets of her character, but all we got was a few random panels. Heck, since at least some of Raven's powers came from Trigon, we didn't even really know what she could or couldn't do once he'd been expunged from her. On the flip-side, since she'd clearly been holding back for fear of releasing her Trigoness by using too much of her power, maybe she would be even stronger than before? Wouldn't have been fun to see Raven finally develop as a full character with the ability to have friends outside the team, and an actual life of some kind besides brooding and hiding? And while Nightwing & Starfire clearly had to break up, since on the one hand, a super-powered alien princess would never really fit in as a member by marriage of the Batman Family (even if Junior Tracy made a good run with the concept elsewhere), and Starfire really needed to grow into more than just Dick's super-powered girlfriend, forever Black Canary to his Green Arrow. Unfortunately, once they split up, Dick continued to be a perfectly viable character (bouts of bad plotting and continuity reboots not withstanding), Kori wound up continually being cast as simply "Dick's Big Regret", whether in the Titans, the Outsiders, or even the JLA. The only break she got from that was once she started palling around with Adam Strange & Animal Man, so that she could be the space bimbo that A-Man's wife was jealous of--it wasn't until the New 52 recast her as someone who couldn't quite remember which of the earth guys she'd slept with was Dick Grayson (since they all looked alike to her) that she really escaped this cycle, and not necessarily for the better.

Dave Elyea said:

While I can see the point in breaking things down in order to build them back up, in this case, it really came off as way too heavy handed--with a solo hero title, it's perfectly plausible that, once the dust has settled from said hero's latest great victory, that other aspects of his life might have fallen apart while he was off being heroic, but when you have a cast the size of the Titans, and all of them have their lives turn to slightly different flavors of crap at the same time, it seems like overkill.

Amen to that.

Dave Elyea said:

Dick Grayson would be pretty much emasculated when Jason Todd's post-Crisis origin was rolled out, and his whole evolution into Nightwing would be transformed from the story of a young man growing up and leaving the nest into a train wreck in which Batman fired him as Robin because the job was clearly too dangerous for a 19 year old, so he'd replace him with a 12 year old who was stupid enough to try and boost the hub caps from the Batmobile!

This was the "gift" of the post-Crisis Jason Todd. The original origin for Jason Todd was nearly identical to Dick Grayson's -- he was the son of a family of circus aerialists whose parents were murdered when the circus owner didn't pay protection money. If they felt the need to change that origin, they should have come up with something better.

Dave Elyea said:

As for the stuff that was done on purpose, first off, for all the triumph & such after what should have been the very final battle with Trigon, the one character who should have experienced the most from this victory, Raven, was shuttled off panel, and only returns when Brother Blood uses her in almost exactly the same way that Trigon did in his scheme to take over the world. Seriously, after all those issues of Raven whimpering about having to repress her emotions, and worrying about her father's Evil, there was finally a chance to give her a clean start, and explore more facets of her character, but all we got was a few random panels. Heck, since at least some of Raven's powers came from Trigon, we didn't even really know what she could or couldn't do once he'd been expunged from her. On the flip-side, since she'd clearly been holding back for fear of releasing her Trigoness by using too much of her power, maybe she would be even stronger than before? Wouldn't have been fun to see Raven finally develop as a full character with the ability to have friends outside the team, and an actual life of some kind besides brooding and hiding?

Raven's whining and brooding, justified or not, got tiresome. To defeat Trigon and then get another dose of it was more so. It would have been great to develop her character so that she wasn't solely defined as "Trigon's daughter."

Dave Elyea said:

And while Nightwing & Starfire clearly had to break up, since on the one hand, a super-powered alien princess would never really fit in as a member by marriage of the Batman Family (even if Junior Tracy made a good run with the concept elsewhere), and Starfire really needed to grow into more than just Dick's super-powered girlfriend, forever Black Canary to his Green Arrow. Unfortunately, once they split up, Dick continued to be a perfectly viable character (bouts of bad plotting and continuity reboots not withstanding), Kori wound up continually being cast as simply "Dick's Big Regret", whether in the Titans, the Outsiders, or even the JLA. The only break she got from that was once she started palling around with Adam Strange & Animal Man, so that she could be the space bimbo that A-Man's wife was jealous of--it wasn't until the New 52 recast her as someone who couldn't quite remember which of the earth guys she'd slept with was Dick Grayson (since they all looked alike to her) that she really escaped this cycle, and not necessarily for the better.

Amen to that, too.

Jason Todd's original origin included one attribute that made him unique among all the other Robins: His parents had been killed while helping Batman & Robin investigate Killer Croc--that gave them a sense of responsibility toward him that none of the others had.  Personally, if they had really wanted to shake things up with Dick Grayson, they would have followed thru on his suggestion that he be the one to adopt Jason, instead of Bruce--that way, there would have been an excuse for the much desired "solo Batman", yet the ever-popular "Batman & Robin" could appear whenever Jason went to visit Uncle Bruce, and, for our purposes here, as an instant father-figure, Dick/Nightwing would more clearly be established as having grown up (did it bother anyone else that, during the early Nightwing years when Bruce & Dick were apparently no longer speaking to each other, we were never told what Dick did for money?  Did he still get an allowance?  Was he working as a stripper, private eye, mystery novelist, or what?  Even with such a crappy apartment that Donna could throw him thru most of the walls without ever encountering anything solid enough to even knock the wind out of him, he had to be getting the rent money from somewhere!).  There are all kinds of interesting new problems that the Titans could have been saddled with instead of the repetitive soap opera bathos they got stuck with.

John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

The year ends with two nice covers for # 71 and 72, the former by Stan Woch (who had done the interiors the year before) and the latter by J.L. Garcia-Lopez.

The image of Nightwing perched on the tombstone on #71 was likely inspired by an image of Bucky in Captain America #107. (Language warning for comments at link.)

I almost don’t know how to respond to your rant, Dave.  Why would something that happens to Starfire 25 years later in a different title matter at all regarding her characterization in this title at this point in time?  You complained that she doesn’t have any personality or story potential beyond her relationship with Nightwing but I just wrote an article about a year during which they were separated and she had several storylines.  She led a civil war, fighting her own sister for the throne.  She accepted exile from both her family and her planet, adopting earth as her new home.  She also witnessed apartheid as an alien observer, becoming embroiled in a tense racial situation.  Finally, she rejoined the Titans at a time when Dick was not an active member.  Clearly, Starfire is more than just Nightwing’s arm candy within the pages of New Teen Titans.  Your complaints about Raven are similarly off base.  She has an extended storyline that isn’t about her father Trigon in which she does many of the things you say you wish she’d do.  I haven’t discussed that storyline yet since it takes place in 1987 and ’88.  (I also don’t expect my rebuttal will change your mind since I remember bringing this up before.)  I sometimes wonder if we’re even talking about the same title because your comments don’t ring true to the book I actually read and reviewed.   

Dave Elyea said:

While I can see the point in breaking things down in order to build them back up, in this case, it really came off as way too heavy handed--with a solo hero title, it's perfectly plausible that, once the dust has settled from said hero's latest great victory, that other aspects of his life might have fallen apart while he was off being heroic, but when you have a cast the size of the Titans, and all of them have their lives turn to slightly different flavors of crap at the same time, it seems like overkill. In the case of the Titans, it certainly didn't help that, besides the problems that were dumped on them on purpose, the after-effects of the Crisis would soon be dumping more damage on many of these characters: Donna Troy would be damaged even more by losing her connection to Wonder Woman than she was when her husband devolved into a selfish whiny shlub, Dick Grayson would be pretty much emasculated when Jason Todd's post-Crisis origin was rolled out, and his whole evolution into Nightwing would be transformed from the story of a young man growing up and leaving the nest into a train wreck in which Batman fired him as Robin because the job was clearly too dangerous for a 19 year old, so he'd replace him with a 12 year old who was stupid enough to try and boost the hub caps from the Batmobile!

The blame for revising Jason Todd's origin post-Crisis needs to go where it belongs:  Max Allan Collins, who wrote a short but dreadful run on Batman in 1987 (402, 403, 408-412).  He came up with the awful idea of Bruce firing Dick.  I recall reading an interview Collins did with CBG at the time where he dissed the Titans title.  I'm going by memory, but I believe he said he wasn't familiar with Nightwing, and that to him Dick Grayson was Robin, always was and always should be, and that he didn't read NTT and neither should any self-respecting person over the age of 19.

No argument that Donna Troy was damaged post-Crisis.

As for the stuff that was done on purpose, first off, for all the triumph & such after what should have been the very final battle with Trigon, the one character who should have experienced the most from this victory, Raven, was shuttled off panel, and only returns when Brother Blood uses her in almost exactly the same way that Trigon did in his scheme to take over the world. Seriously, after all those issues of Raven whimpering about having to repress her emotions, and worrying about her father's Evil, there was finally a chance to give her a clean start, and explore more facets of her character, but all we got was a few random panels. Heck, since at least some of Raven's powers came from Trigon, we didn't even really know what she could or couldn't do once he'd been expunged from her. On the flip-side, since she'd clearly been holding back for fear of releasing her Trigoness by using too much of her power, maybe she would be even stronger than before? Wouldn't have been fun to see Raven finally develop as a full character with the ability to have friends outside the team, and an actual life of some kind besides brooding and hiding?

Isn't that what happened once they got Raven away from Brother Blood?  Sure, it didn't last, but we got that Raven for a few years, imo.

And while Nightwing & Starfire clearly had to break up, since on the one hand, a super-powered alien princess would never really fit in as a member by marriage of the Batman Family (even if Junior Tracy made a good run with the concept elsewhere), and Starfire really needed to grow into more than just Dick's super-powered girlfriend, forever Black Canary to his Green Arrow. Unfortunately, once they split up, Dick continued to be a perfectly viable character (bouts of bad plotting and continuity reboots not withstanding), Kori wound up continually being cast as simply "Dick's Big Regret", whether in the Titans, the Outsiders, or even the JLA. The only break she got from that was once she started palling around with Adam Strange & Animal Man, so that she could be the space bimbo that A-Man's wife was jealous of--it wasn't until the New 52 recast her as someone who couldn't quite remember which of the earth guys she'd slept with was Dick Grayson (since they all looked alike to her) that she really escaped this cycle, and not necessarily for the better.

The New 52 stuff was wisely retconned away by a different writer in Red Hood and the Outlaws 20.  Starfire was lying, and did remember all of her romantic encounters, as her race processes emotions very deeply.  She just chose to repress them.  Even in an earlier issue, it was shown she had kept things that reminded her of Dick Grayson, who she supposedly didn't remember.  Maybe not the best fix, but a necessary one imo.

Sorry that I'm coming off so ranty--I'm glad you guys enjoyed this run more than I did--most people did, considering the sales the title enjoyed back then. Obviously, I don't blame the Titans' creative team for the unfortunate things other creators did in other titles that undercut their characters, I was just pointing out the bad timing that when the time came for Wolfman to break the team down, events beyond his control were about to throw a wrench in the works. Likewise, when I mention events that would occur decades later, it's not the fault of anyone who worked on the title in the 80s, but my attempt to illustrate the way that the creators who went on to handle the characters seemed to have no idea that there was ever more to them than "Space Bimbo/Dick's Big Regret" & "Whiny Demon-pawn"--I know there's still good stuff to come for them (from the 1986 perspective), but I also know that Chris will do a much better job of covering that material than I could, while shoehorning it into one of my rants.

Just wanted to say that I have never understood how the Titans retained their popularity at all as I really believe they were never really a quality title again after the debut of the baxter series.

I am really enjoying Chris's take on the period where I started activly disliking the title as I have always felt I was somehow missing what others were seeing.

But I'm all for debate too, 'ranty' or not.
 
Dave Elyea said:

Sorry that I'm coming off so ranty--I'm glad you guys enjoyed this run more than I did--most people did,

This was about the point my enthusiasm for the book started dropping -- I'm not sure if it was the mood of the stories or the separation of the characters that got to me. Or, frankly, just the lack of George Perez. (Nowadays, of course, Eduardo Baretto's art thrills me -- part of the reason I pick up an issue of The Shadow Strikes whenever I see one in a dollar bin. Back then it just looked plain to my eye.) 

I'd stick with the series for another five years, and of those remaining five, this is still one of the high points (I loved the issues where Donna leads the replacement team, for example). But Titans was becoming merely a good book in my eyes... the magic of those first 50 issues or so was gone.

Thanks for the explanation, Dave.  I hope I didn't offend you with my rant comment. 

Dave Elyea said:

Sorry that I'm coming off so ranty--I'm glad you guys enjoyed this run more than I did--most people did, considering the sales the title enjoyed back then. Obviously, I don't blame the Titans' creative team for the unfortunate things other creators did in other titles that undercut their characters, I was just pointing out the bad timing that when the time came for Wolfman to break the team down, events beyond his control were about to throw a wrench in the works. Likewise, when I mention events that would occur decades later, it's not the fault of anyone who worked on the title in the 80s, but my attempt to illustrate the way that the creators who went on to handle the characters seemed to have no idea that there was ever more to them than "Space Bimbo/Dick's Big Regret" & "Whiny Demon-pawn"--I know there's still good stuff to come for them (from the 1986 perspective), but I also know that Chris will do a much better job of covering that material than I could, while shoehorning it into one of my rants.

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