Friday, April 20, 2018 • Morning Edition • "30 charges and no convictions."

Your Top Teams part 62

Written by Chris Mitchell on Tuesday, July 14 2009 and posted in Features

The last two before the Final 3, who made it? Who didn't? Find out here and watch people flip the frig out!!




5. New Teen Titans (197 points - 8 first place slots)

newteentitans.jpg"One of the Greatest runs in comics of all-time. The best “Marvel” comic that DC ever did."

"They were the Lennon/ McCartney of comics in their prime. Nightwing, Wonder Girl, Starfire, Cyborg, Changeling and Jericho were perhaps the greatest "family" in comics (suck it, FF fans); but sadly this can't place higher, as too many of us know that when it was great it was great...and when it stunk, oh boy - clear the room! The greatness of the Wolfman/Perez comic sadly triggered several dismal attempts to re-create the comic as a "family," often going for completely pathetic emo versions of once-great characters. They will never recapture the magic, and honestly, DC should stop trying."

"This was my first title for DC and longest continuous book I read (with and allowance money) from DC when I was younger. This book had it all, great art, great characters, epic (even if now are somewhat cliché) stories. It had it all, coming of age, betrayal, friendship, hopes and dreams, legacy and romance."

"The classic, yadda, yadda, actually beat X-Men, yadda, yadda, Starfire is really hot, yadda, yadda, Donna Troy married a weirdo, yadda, yadda."

"This may come as a surprise to you, but I am a pretty big Titans fan. And the Wolfman/Perez Titans are the definitive Titans. That is all."

"Marv Wolfman and George Perez's run on this book is legendary. Judas Contract, Terror of Trigon and Who is Donna Troy....pretty much sum up how great the team was. And it inspired the Teen Titans cartoon that I used to watch faithfully. I liked all the characters on the roster and I wish DC could get Titans right cause I think the team still works great together even though some of them are criminally underused."

"DC owes its life to what Wolfman and Perez created."

"This was the time for sidekicks to step out of the shadows of their mentors and prove that they were heroes. The threats that they took on would have been a challenge for anyone. This introduced Deathstroke and led to Robin taking on the grown-up status of Nightwing. Essential reading."

"Yeah, you knew this was coming. Until Gentleman George left this book the first time, this was, and remains, the blueprint for how to write GREAT team comics. Marv & George took a lesser concept, filled with nothing but teen sidekicks and cast-offs dumped unnecessary refuse like Roy Harper, added a few totally new characters, and crafted absolute magic. This book, at the time, probably saved DC Comics, and engaged readers so much that it outsold even the Claremont X-Men in that book's heyday. Robin/Nightwing, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Starfire, Raven, Cyborg, Changeling, Terra, and Jericho gave us laughs, tears, betrayals, farewells, death...things we hadn't seen in comics before, and things we had seen in ways we'd never seen them. Rather than going for camp, NTT went for angst alongside action, real character growth, new villains rather than tired old retreads, and in its time turned DC's whole brand of storytelling on its head while still being recognizably a DC comic. There are numerous reasons why Dick Grayson, Wally West, and Donna Troy remain 3 of my absolute favorite comic characters to this day, and this book holds most of those reasons."

I found my love for this comic by fluke, well by accident. It all started when Marvel and DC did a little crossover between The X-Men and the New Teen Titans and from there I was in love with these guys. I collected very little DC comics at the time just Detective Comics and Batman and the Outsiders, so I knew who Robin was but the others were all new to me. And I fell in love, it was great. Cyborg was my all time favorite, and to this day he is one of my favs. in the DCU and I always felt he should've been the Titan to graduate in Brad's League and not Red Arrow. Ugh. Anywho, yeah, that didn't make the Top 3 which will piss off a certain lawyer, but Top 5 is pretty fucking good. Right? Right.

Some time after the original team was disbanded, a woman named Raven appeared, attempting to gather together a new group of Titans. She convinced Robin to start recruiting, and they recruited Wonder Girl, Changeling, and the cyborg Vic Stone. Kid Flash declined, trying to be Wally West instead. Raven, an empath, needed him on the team, and so she interfered with his emotions, made him feel that he loved her, to convince him to join. On their first case they met the final member of the team, the alien princess Starfire. They elected to keep the team going, making their headquarters in New York.

The villains' motivations were often complex, following trends that were coming to a head at that time towards greater depth in comics, particularly in the case of Deathstroke the Terminator, a mercenary who takes a contract to kill the Titans in order to fulfill a job his son had been unable to complete. This led to perhaps the most notable Titans storyline of the era (1984's "The Judas Contract," in Tales of the Teen Titans #42-44 and Teen Titans Annual #3) in which a psychopathic girl named Terra, with the destructive power to manipulate earth and all-earth related materials, infiltrates the Titans in order to destroy them. "The Judas Contract" won the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for "Favorite Comic Book Story" of 1984, and was later reprinted as a standalone trade paperback in 1988 and 1991. This story also featured Dick Grayson adopting the identity of Nightwing, Wally West giving up on his Kid Flash persona and quitting the Titans (which eventually led to him becoming the third Flash), and the introduction of a new member in Jericho, the other son of Deathstroke.

Other notable New Teen Titans stories included "The Terror of Trigon", featuring Raven's demon father attempting to take over Earth, and Raven's own struggle to remain good despite Trigon's evil demonic blood inside her; "A Day in the Life..." presenting a day in the team members’ personal lives; "Who is Donna Troy?" depicted Robin investigating Wonder Girl's origins, and "We are Gathered Here Today..."[ telling the story of Wonder Girl's wedding, a rare superhero wedding in that a fight does not break out. Tales of the New Teen Titans, a four-part limited series by Wolfman and Perez, was published in 1982, detailing the back-stories of Cyborg, Raven, Changeling, and Starfire.

The New Teen Titans series experienced some title and numbering confusion in 1984 when the title was relaunched with a new #1 issue as part of a new initiative at DC informally referred to as "hardcover/softcover." The New Teen Titans, along with Legion of Super-Heroes and Batman and the Outsiders, were the first and only titles included in this program, where the same stories would be published twice, first in a more expensive edition with higher-quality printing and paper distributed exclusively to comic book specialty stores, then republished a year later in the original low-budget format and distributed to newsstands. The New Teen Titans (vol. 1) title was renamed Tales of the Teen Titans (not to be confused with the earlier limited series), while a new concurrently published series named The New Teen Titans (vol. 2) launched with a new #1. After both titles ran new stories for one year, the former book began reprinting the latter's stories for the newsstand, continuing until the "hardcover/softcover" idea was abandoned after Tales of the Teen Titans #91.

Issue #1 of New Teen Titans created controversy when Dick Grayson and Starfire were depicted in bed together, although it had been established for some time that they were a couple. Pérez left the series after New Teen Titans #5. José Luis Garcia Lopez followed Pérez as the title's artist, and Eduardo Barreto contributed a lengthy run after Garcia Lopez. Paul Levitz scripted and wrote several issues when Wolfman briefly took a break from the book. Pérez temporarily returned as co-plotter/penciller with issue #50, with the series name being amended to The New Titans (without the "Teen" prefix), as the characters were no longer teenagers.

Issue #50 told a new origin story for Wonder Girl, her link to Wonder Woman having been severed due to retcons created in the aftermath of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Pérez remained as penciller with the book through to issue #55, 57 and 60, while only providing layouts for issues #58-59, and 61, with artist Tom Grummett finishing pencils and Bob McLeod as inker. Perez remained as inker for the cover art to issues #62-67. He would return for the series final issue with #130 providing cover art.


4. JLA's Big 7 (213 points - 16 first place slots)

jla-big7.jpg"This was the first JLA I read, and it’s still my "main" JLA team. I always go back to these characters as the JLA."

"To me the JLA is at its best whenever the big 7 are there. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, the Flash, the Martian Manhunter. That's just awesome. To me the JLA are the opposite of the Avengers in many ways. They are the All Star Team. They are the biggest of the big guns. I love lots of the line ups that have more small characters and focus on people like The Atom or Booster Gold or whatever, but when I hear JLA I think of the big 7 coming together to take on the things that Superman can't handle by himself. "

"Grant Morrison in is best form (super-hero, non Animal Man, wise). Rock of Ages was Final Crisis's premise (the day that evil won) done a few years before (and by the same guy?!) and it was great, dark, edgy, desperate, fantastic."

"The Big 7. It means SOMETHING. And it was thanks to this book. Morrison brought the biggest 7 heroes back into the JLA, and painted them as Greek Gods. As symbols rather than people. And rather than Nerf the big guns, Morrison went the other way and just made the threats bigger, and bigger, and bigger, till we hit World War III. The ultimate moment of this book? The point where Protex yells "He's just a man!" No he's not. He's the goddamn Batman."

"Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter. ’Nuff said."

"The Big 7 showed why they were the greatest heroes ever. Every threat got bigger and harder to overcome. This was what got me to read DC again at a time I was strictly Marvel. Each character had a distinct personality and view. It wasn't some cookie cutter Super was a League of its own."

"Hit me at just the right time, a great mix of outlandish and imaginative that comics had forgotten at the time - and arguably still haven't remembered fully. The current version is a pale shadow of a shadow of a shadow of this run."

"I recently picked up his first JLA book; JLA: New World Order just through nostalgia and a curiosity as to whether my younger obsession had blinded me to the books or whether they were as good as I recalled.

But I shouldn’t have been worried. As simple superhero writing, it’s quite brilliant. The characters are spot on & the dialogue & situations are crisp & clear. The best & most obvious thing Morrison did with the JLA was to make it iconic again. Because they’d kind of lost their way at this point and it took Morrison to bring back the big heroes and make the JLA a massively important and powerful team once more. Morrison seemed to instinctively understand how to make it all work and it’s obvious in every nuance; Batman is hunched, feral, and dangerous, Superman is practically royalty in the way he behaves and moves, whilst the comedy that has always made good team books so readable is provided ably by Flash and Green Lantern. It was also obvious that Morrison had done his homework. This entire first story arc is a classic JLA story; rival super team takes over world, JLA splits up to deal with threat. Perfection in superhero form comes along rarely but this is right up there with Claremont and Bryne’s X-Men or Jack & Stan’s FF."

Ok, that last quote is from a blog I found while researching, but still, I thought it was intriguing and had to post it. But back to the list, wow. Wow. Wow. I really really really thought this would be Top 3, but alas here we are just missing out (by 23 points mind you). Again this era of the League was going on when I was on a little hiatus, I have heard so much mixed reviews on this, much like anything Morrison touches. I have read the "Best Story" of the bunch, and that is the Rock of Ages, but I didn't find anything special in that. It had its cool moments with Batman and The Atom, but overall it was just another story. I think it was over hyped to me by the folks at the Old Rama, but hey, to each their own. Either way, most people feel that the Big 7 is the way to go when it comes to the League. Will Robinson and Bagley bring forth the idea of the Big 7 again? Well, who knows what’s going to happen with the DCU after Blackest Night. Will Bat-Grayson join the League until Bruce comes back? Will Superman still be on new Krypton? Will Martian still be a rotting corpse? Stay tuned, you know I will.

The low sales of the various Justice League spin-off books prompted DC to revamp the League as a single team (all the various branch teams were disbanded) on a single title. A Justice League of America formed in the September 1996 limited series Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare by Mark Waid and Fabian Nicieza. In 1997, DC Comics launched a new Justice League series titled JLA, written by Grant Morrison with art by Howard Porter and inker John Dell.

This series, in an attempt at a "back-to-basics" approach, used as its core the team's original and most famous seven members (or their successors): Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash (Wally West), Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), and the Martian Manhunter. Additionally, the team received a new headquarters, the "Watchtower", based on the Moon. Morrison introduced the idea of the JLA allegorically representing a pantheon of gods, with their different powers and personalities.

Since this new league included most of DC's most powerful heroes, the focus of the stories changed. The League now dealt only with Earth-shattering, highest-priority threats which could challenge their tremendous combined power. Enemies faced by this new JLA included an invading army of aliens, a malfunctioning war machine from the future, a horde of renegade angels, a newly reformed coalition of villains as a counter-league, mercenaries armed with individualized take-down strategies for each superhero, various cosmic threats, and the enraged spirit of the Earth itself. In addition, because almost all of the members had their own comics, the stories were almost always self-contained, with all chapters occurring within JLA itself and very rarely affecting events outside of that series. Developments from a hero's own title (such as the new costume temporarily adopted by Superman) were reflected in the League's comic book.


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