All Growed Up: "Titans" Drop the Teen with Winick

Wed, January 30th, 2008 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Jeffrey Renaud, Staff Writer

"Titans" #1 on sale April 9
In April, the New Teen Titans become a new team as DC Comics launches "Titans." Series writer Judd Winick ("Green Arrow") says the new book is more about a family than a team. "Part of the premise of the title is that it isn't a standard 'team.' They won't have meetings or monitor duty," Judd Winick told CBR News. "These are friends. And because of the decision long ago to let them grow up, these teen side kicks grew up together. They are more of family than most characters in the DCU.

"That being said, they will be getting together to help one another out. As in, Nightwing's got a case that is getting out of control or Flash is into something that needs more than the fastest man alive, the rest will join them in their fight. That's family, more than a team."

Asked if the solicited cover for the extra-sized first issue – depicting Nightwing, Beast Boy, Raven, Starfire, Donna Troy, Cyborg and The Flash -- was a true tease as to the membership, Winick confirmed, "That's them. Give or take some flip flopping here and there."

Winick also confirmed that Red Arrow would also be featured in the book and that Wally West would be his Flash. "Yep, fastest man alive," said Winick.

And despite the solicited boast that "you won't want to miss this new startling chapter in Titans history that may forge a new team from the ashes of old, dead friends," Winick dismissed the notion Bart Allen or any other dead Titan would be coming back to DCU.  "Yes. Bart Allen will be back. Barry Allen, as well. Blue Beetle. Superboy. We're going to kill Jason Todd and bring him back again. It's a dead man's party," laughed Winick. "So, no, Bart Allen won't be coming back."

Like most titles in current DCU continuity, "Titans" will be affected by the plot points coming out of "Countdown to Final Crisis" and "Final Crisis" itself. "As close as we can and not get burned. How's that for vague?" remarked Winick. "But seriously, most of the DCU will have tie-ins. And this is no exception."

As for crossing over with "Teen Titans," Winick said it will happen, just not right out of the gates. "As far as 'Titans' tied with 'Teen Titans' -- not yet, but we're just getting our feet wet. The meeting between the new and the old is inevitable. And that's when we'll most likely kill Superboy again," joked Winick.

The opening arc of "Titans" will feature a familiar face, not from the roster but one of team's rogues. "We will be tackling an old villain, one from 'Teen Titans' canon that has yet to return. And with that, said villain will get an update. But the first arc is about galvanizing the gang, showing them that they need to be back together.

"And there's gratuitous nudity," Winick continued. "Both genders are represented so no one will feel left out. The second arc focuses a bit more on the Titans themselves than the bad guys. Most likely it will be called 'The Life and further Death of Superboy.'"

Winick, a longtime fan of the team, is thrilled to be writing the old school members in "Titans." "I don't really know anyone of my generation who isn't [a fan]," said the 37-year old native New Yorker. "I learned to draw by copying George Perez as well as John Byrne artwork.  And the reason we're returning to this lineup is because of the great work [Marv] Wolfman and Perez did. They created a foundation; a bedrock of characterization that could stop a truck. We owe it all to them."

Winick called the artists on the book, Ian Churchill and Norm Rapmund, "craftsmen." "The art is gorgeous and combined with the story we are telling, it's a pretty lethal combination," declared Winick. "It's not just that they put the pictures on the page. They bring a weight to it all. There's great acting, as well as action."

While any Hollywood work Winick has is on hold during the writers' strike, he is keeping busy with two other DC titles.  "The conclusion of 'Trials of Shazam' [#11 and #12] is on the way. And the ending's a killer," teased Winick. "It features merely a small army of superheroes from all over the DCU. And the freight train barreling forward that is 'Green Arrow/Black Canary' is chugging along. I'm thrilled that folks have taken to this title. We have ton of fun doing it."

The 40-page "Titans" #1 hits stores April 9.

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