29 May 2010


Most readers of Big Two superhero comics, particularly those who count themselves among the 'DC Nation',  should already be aware of the controversy surrounding DC Comics' Titans: Villains For Hire Special, a one-shot that both ties in to DC's running Brightest Day event and sets the stage for Titans' new direction.  But for the less initiated and unfamiliar, a bit of perspective on Titans history is in order.

Titans is itself a spin-off of DC's  superhero sidekick team book Teen Titans, which has been published in one form or another since its core members Robin, Aqualad, and Kid Flash  first banded together in issue #54 of The Brave and The Bold (1964).  In issue #60, the  teen trio was  joined by Wonder Girl and Speedy. DC's  "junior Justice League" was born. 

The "Juniors" also grew up, in time, first becoming the iconic New Teen Titans in 1980  and later, after passing along their "Teen" prefix to the younger heroes of Generation Y, becoming simply Titans. But both the flagship Teen Titans and its offshoot Titans have been in creative turmoil for nearly two years now. Unstable characters, rehashed story lines, and less than sufficient creative teams have had both comics literally bleeding fans, and DC has yet to find a way that stops the flow.

The newest solution to avoid a Titans cancellation was to give the book's premise an abrupt detour, complete with on-the-rise creators and a new but familiar cast of  (less-than-heroic) characters lead by the villain Deathstroke, one of DC's strongest supporting players.  The switched-up plot, clearly meant to appeal to the popularity that darker overtones have with readers, was also intended to be the series' much-needed tourniquet. But as we've said, the story itself, for a varied many reasons, has drawn fire from critics, readers,  fans, and even other DC creators. (For a complete dossier on Deathstroke The Terminator, be sure to read our Villains For Hire primer here)

We'll return to the specifics of the Titans controversy later. Besides, we don't want to spoil your fun, so to speak -- or tell you what the issue is really about.  For now, abbracadabbling's The Issue Is... presents Part One of Titans: Villains For Hire Special, Issue #1: The Best Laid Plans. (Remember: Comic pages can be enlarged by right-clicking.)

TOMORROW:  Part Two!

Story and all characters are TM and copyright DC Comics 2010. Full solicitations for DC Comics' Titans:Villains For Hire Special #1 can be found on their website [here].

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