Countdown Breakdown #43
By John Hays
The Teen Titans. It seems like every time I encounter the Titans, they’re having a funeral! I don’t know about you, but if I were a superhero with a teen sidekick, well one, I’d be wondering why I really need a teen sidekick, but two, I’d tell them that rule number one is to stay AWAY from the Teen Titans.
The history of the Titans is long enough for its own book, and there are books on this subject, but let me do a basic rundown. The very first lineup featured Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad, teaming up to fight a weather villain named Mr. Twister. The first new member was Wonder Girl (who named the group after her own Titans of Myth), soon followed by Speedy, Cyborg, Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, and others.
Deathstroke the Terminator was introduced as a villain contracted to kill the Titans after his son had failed. This led to a famous story involving yet another member, Terra, betraying the Titans to Deathstroke. This also featured Robin changing his superhero identity to Nightwing, and the introduction of Deathstroke’s own son, Jericho, as a member. In this time period, the pre-Crisis Monitor was often featured as well.
In 1992, there was a Team Titans title, featuring a futuristic Titans team who fought against a dictator, Lord Chaos, the son of Donna Troy and Terry Long. They were sent into the past to kill Donna Troy to prevent the birth of Lord Chaos. Zero Hour erased most of them from existence. There was then a short run of Teen Titans that featured all new characters led by a de-aged Atom, and featuring Captain Marvel Jr.
In 1999, a new mix of original and former members created The Titans. At the same time, the new generation of sidekicks formed their own team, Young Justice. These teams eventually reformed, and some of the Titans became the new Outsiders, and most of Young Justice became Teen Titans. One Year Later, following the death of Superboy, Robin rejoined the Teen Titans after having been around the world with Batman, only to find even more new members, notably Deathstroke’s daughter, Ravager, and Kid Devil. Robin and Wonder Girl briefly shared a kiss when she found out that he was trying to clone Superboy to get his friend back. Recently, the Teen Titans fought a Titans East team comprised of young villains, and led by Deathstroke.
Harley Quinn. Dr. Harleen Quinzel originated in the Batman animated series, and then was transitioned into comics. In the animated series, Harley’s origin involved Harleen being an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist who fell in love with the Joker and became his accomplice and girlfriend. Harley’s first comic appearance was actually in the Elseworlds tale Thrillkiller in 1997. Following that, she appeared in regular DC continuity in 2001, lasting in her own series until 2003 when she turned herself in to Arkham Asylum. She later escaped in the Villains United special, but was once again an inmate One Year Later. She was eventually allowed parole by Bruce Wayne after helping to stop the new Ventriloquist. Her most recent appearance was in Birds of Prey as the latest member of Secret Six.
Multiplex. Multiplex is classically a Firestorm villain, created in 1982. He actually gained his powers in the same nuclear explosion that provided Firestorm with his abilities. Where Firestorm gained a fusion power, Danton Black gained a fission power. This enabled him to create copies of himself, with each copy being slightly smaller than the last. He originally worked as an operative of the 2000 Committee and at one point kidnapped Lorraine Reilly (Firehawk). He was apparently killed by the Parasite in 1987, but recently appeared again battling the current Firestorm. He was threatened with death from Black Adam if he didn’t join the Secret Society of Super Villains, which he did instantly. Felix Faust, in the recent Justice League of America #1, said that Multiplex was dead, but obviously that’s not the case, and Dan DiDio has announced that Multiplex would be a member of the upcoming relaunch of Suicide Squad.
Deadshot. Floyd Lawton is the greatest marksman in the DCU. I have fond memories of him from the old Suicide Squad series, as well as his recent appearances with the Secret Six. He apparently began as a supposed crime fighter who wanted to replace Batman, but upon failure went on to try to become king of Gotham’s underworld. That plan failed, and he went to prison. He later hired himself out as an assassin, gaining the now familiar red outfit and face plate.
Deadshot became a member of the Suicide Squad, working quite well with them due to his coldhearted nature. At one point an airport employee stole his outfit and committed several murders, leading to Lawton shooting the man in the head. The fact that he essentially shot his own image haunted Lawton, and he kept the bullet hole in the outfit for a while. Lawton later found out that he had a daughter living in Star City, so he warred with the local gangs and cleaned the city up greatly, leaving it in Green Arrow’s care when he realized that he could not live a normal life with a family.
During the Infinite Crisis, Lawton joined the Secret Six in order to take down the Society. He remains a member.
This issue took some interesting turns, and featured several new characters, which made the breakdown more interesting than recent weeks! I hope this trend continues!
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