The New Teen Titans Volume 2
Written by Marv Wolfman & George Perez
Art by George Perez & Romeo Tanghal
The Titans begin to form stronger bonds in this second collection of Wolfman and Perez’s legendary run. There are two core story arcs presented here: Donna Troy’s temptation at the hands of the Titans of Myth & Changeling’s quest to avenge the fallen Doom Patrol. Both stories set in stone a lot of future Titans mythos, particularly the Doom Patrol storyline. This volume also serves to further connect the Titans with the DC Universe, and it’s very complicated history.
Garfield Logan aka Changeling would be the top name on the marquee here. In the first volume, we get Changeling established as the joking, Spider-Man-like member of the team. Wolfman wanted to add complexity to the character and take advantage of Changeling’s connection to the long-defunct Doom Patrol. The Doom Patrol was a team of misfits led by a brilliant older man in a wheelchair. Sound familiar? This was one of those strange comic book coincidences. It made sense to incorporate these characters as Wolfman and Perez were definitely aiming to make Teen Titans a book on par with Marvel’s insanely successful Uncanny X-Men.
What is also very refreshing about this way of storytelling at the time is that it emphasized character over spectacle. If you look at a Justice League of America issue from the same time period the impetus of the story is that some random villain does something entirely disconnected from the characters and they find out, jump into action, and stop the baddie. Here Wolfman gave a personal reason why the Titans were fighting Madame Rouge and General Zahl. He connected Changeling’s adopted father, Steve “Mento” Dayton, the history of the Doom Patrol, and even forced the Titans to team with the new Brotherhood of Evil.The end result of these stories is that characters grew at the end of them. Changeling is responsible for death at the end of the arc, and this is something that leaves him with a heavy heart, questioning himself.
Wolfman’s treatment of the Doom Patrol is incredibly respectful and would lead to the return of the team by John Byrne, Grant Morrison, and now Gerard Way. The writer likely introduced a lot of young readers to this obscure piece of DC Comics’ side history through the arc. The Hunt for Killers of the Doom Patrol storyline is magnificent. Enough backstory is delivered in a method that never takes away from the momentum of the action. The pieces are slowly laid as subplots in the issues leading up to the arc, another technique Wolfman likely saw and liked in Claremont’s X-Men.
The lesser story arc in this collection is the seduction of Donna Troy. Donna is excellent in the story, but the antagonists of the Titans of Myth are just incredibly bland. The whole plotline does result in some significant character development for Wonder Girl though. We see her further coming into her own, apart from just being the sidekick of Wonder Woman. This is the same journey that Dick Grayson took on his way to become Nightwing, but as we continue reading, we’ll see that Donna’s was a lot rockier due to some twisted continuity. The focus of this story also shifts slowly away from the Teen Titans and delves more into the soap operatic conflict between the Gods of Olympus and the Titans of Myth. The upside is that this exploration of Greek mythology is what probably led to George Perez’s interest in the post-Crisis Wonder Woman reboot. But here it becomes a slog to get through at points, especially with the Doom Patrol story looming in the background and already being a more intriguing mystery.
This is not quite as groundbreaking as those first few issues were, but it is setting the pace for the decades of Titans stories to come. Lots of iconic characters are introduced or reintroduced that would reverberate through comics and media to the present day. The collection caps off with a solo spotlight on Starfire that does an excellent job of establishing that character’s drive and contrast with other members of the team. It also does fantastic work setting up the next volume of stories.