BONUS BOOK – Teen Titans (1996)

BONUS BOOK – Teen Titans (Pre-October, 1996)
“Titans Children”
Story & Pencils – Dan Jurgens
Finished Art – George Perez
Colors – Gregory Wright
Enhancement – Digital Chameleon
Letters – Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Edits – Eddie Berganza

Waitaminute, waitaminute… You might be thinking “I know the Titans Insert Prevue, (in fact we’ve looked at it twice)… and this, is not that book!”  Well, you’d be right… because this one, my friends, is not that book.  This is actually a Prevue that I’d forgotten all about!  It wasn’t until I had my memory jogged by pal, Grant Kitchen, that this little ditty was included betwixt the pages of Superman (vol.2) #116!

This is a sneak-peek at the second volume of Teen Titans… ya know, that attempt to give the newly teen-aged Atom a place to hang out?  That Titans book where Dan Jurgens allegedly wasn’t allowed to use any Titans characters?  Yeah, that one!  We’ve already looked at a few issues of that run here… including the first issue.

You might notice the… very odd cover date here.  Not sure what in the world “Pre-Oct, 1996” means.  Does that mean it could’ve been published anytime between January and September, 1996?  Does it just mean that Superman (vol.2) was twice-monthly at this point, and for whatever reason they used “Pre” instead of “Early”?  I’m sure whatever the explanation is, it’s very boring.

Before we hop in, just wanna let everybody know that this is the final post of the Fourth Year of Chris is on Infinite Earths!  Tomorrow kicks off the fifth!  Tomorrow’s anniversary piece is going to be a lot of fun… and maybe just a little bit weird!

We open, two days ago, on Titan… the largest of Saturn’s 22 known Moons.  Nowadays, Saturn’s known to have at least 62… though, Titan is still regarded as the biggest.  Heck, it’s larger than Mercury.  Anyhoo, these Titans of the Teen variety, who we have yet to be introduced to, are… maybe being abducted and held hostage there?  A hooded figure (that is, Omen) laments their failure in stopping this from occurring.

We join them in space, where the fellas have all become just a bit more buff.  They fight a pair of Psion aliens, the blonde kid refers to as “Pinky and the Brain”, just in case we’d forgotten when this book came out.  In the skirmish, they discover the bagged body of… oh my, is that Doomsday?!  That sure looks like Doomsday’s Goggle-Sack outfit!

Well, no… for better or worse, it’s not Doomsday.  It’s actually Prism, who will be another member of our team.  She blames the Psions for taking her world… and postures threateningly.

We jump ahead, and the day is saved… apparently.  I gotta say, this is a really strange way to give an “Insert Prevue”.  This is really just bits and pieces from issues of the series that are yet to come out… so, we’re bouncing around a good bit.  So yeah, everything’s cool… and the kids have even convinced the Psion, Dorek to give them a ride home.

We wrap up back on Earth… and the Titans try on their new “Calvin Klein” duds, and pick their code names.  The recently teen-aged Atom, who was a part of this whole mess decides to stick around and help out.  It’s not like he has an ongoing series or anything… so, what the heck, right?

So… heckuva way to introduce a new team, huh?

I am, of course, being facetious… this wasn’t really all that great.  An assortment of scenes from the first few issues of the soon-to-release ongoing series… with much/all of the context removed… just doesn’t seem like anything to get all “rah-rah” about.  I know, had I been reading DC Comics back in 1996… I most certainly would not have been enticed to pick up the first issue of Teen Titans (vol.2) based solely off of this Prevue.

It just doesn’t do anything to introduce the characters… which, ya gotta figure, is sort of the selling point to a team book… no?  You want to follow a team book because you care about the characters… you have some sort of interest or investment in them.  This fails to provide any of that.  Even the “mysteries” here feel half-baked.  Who’s the hooded figure?  Who cares?  What’s the deal with the girl in the Doomsday gimp-suit?  Again, who cares?  Now that I think of it, if anything… this Prevue might’ve actually hindered me from picking up that first issue!  Couldn’t imagine how actual Titans fans felt seeing this back in the day!

Worth noting (maybe just to ninnies like myself), if you scan any of the DC Wikis and whatnot looking for first appearances, these new Teen Titans we’re introduced to are listed as first appearing in Teen Titans (vol.2) #1… and not here.  According to Mike’s Amazing World, this issue of Superman (vol.2) hit shelves on July 31, 1996… whereas, Teen Titans (vol.2) #1 came out almost a full-month later on August 28.  So, these Titans don’t quite get the New Teen Titans treatment of having their first appearance listed as the “Insert Prevue”.  Probably a weird sticking point for me… but, these are the sort of things that keep me up at night!

Overall… nah, didn’t dig this.  Felt too disjointed, and didn’t build much of a defined mystery to derive curiosity from someone who was just reading Superman… but, that’s just one dude’s opinion.  Maybe you feel differently… and this Prevue got you hyped to jump into TTv2 with both feet?

Anyhoo, that’ll do it for today… please come back tomorrow for my FOUR-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of putting out DAILY Discussions and Reviews of DC-and-DC-Adjacent-Comics!  It’ll be a good time… I promise!

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0 thoughts on “BONUS BOOK – Teen Titans (1996)

  • Grant Kitchen

    I knew about the New Teen Titans series before this came out and was planning to buy the series anyway because I was/am an indiscriminate Titans fan and collected anything even remotely connected to them. I have more discerning taste now but still buy any Titans related comics even though the current one sucks. Also, I didn't even know about this preview until a almost a year into the actual series. I bought this Superman issue at a convention just to see the preview but it was the newsstand edition which didn't include the preview. Even the cover of the newsstand edition was slightly different. So I had to go look for a direct edition to get the preview. I didn't know Dan wasn't allowed to use any of the established Titans. I do remember I started getting into the New Titans in 7th grade which was right before Zero Hour and in my English class that year we learned about Greek mythology including the Titans of Myth so I was sort of able to follow along when it came up in the comics. All that to say I remember being disappointed when after Zero Hour so many of my favorite Titans were gone (Pantha [I still think she was a riot.], Red Star, Baby Wildebeest, etc.) And I did not like Arsenal's new costume. I did like Terra (the Team Titans one not the evil one) and I loved anything Titans related so I learned to love that incarnation anyway and was disappointed when it was cancelled. Then I got excited to learn there was going to be a new Teen Titans series then was disappointed to learn it would be all new characters but grew to love it anyway. I wasn't all that disappointed when it was cancelled though mostly because it was being replaced by The Titans which was to feature the classic line-up more or less. Well, to make a long story even longer I have more discerning taste now but I still think this Dan Jurgens series was pretty good and was highly underrated. However, after recently rereading the New Titans I can honestly say the post Zero Hour era sucked. I also didn't care for the series post issue 100 but that was largely due to Bill Jaaska's artwork. I heard Marv Wolfman didn't have any say in what characters he could/couldn't use post Zero Hour so it wasn't all his fault. But he really got Impulse's character all wrong in my opinion. Phew.

    • I'm sure had I been checking out the DC side of the table back in the mid-90's, I'd have been very excited about this as well! I was still X-Men only back then… and not the Titans-completionist I am now. I haven't read the current volume for a few months… but I remember enjoying Adam Glass's take. I really disliked the Ben Percy run (and the less said about the New-52 version the better!).

      I can't say with 100% certainty that Dan wasn't allowed to use any of the Titans, but it's a rumor I've heard with such frequency, I feel like there's got to be something to it. I know, at the time, the editorial "fiefdoms" at DC were *very* possessive of "their" characters… hence, why Nightwing was kept locked away in the Bat-Books until the Technis Imperative brought him (and the rest of the classics) back to the Titans.

      The Titans Hunt/Total Chaos era wasn't half bad… I enjoyed a lot of those maligned "90's characters"… Pantha and the Gang. I know I've read that Marv was clashing pretty hard with his editor post #100 (the scary Jaaska days), and the run was totally neutered!

      In recent years I read the Jurgens run for the first time all the way through, and I came away from it with mostly-positive feelings. Nothing Earth-shattering, but worth the read!


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