Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

DCU Continuity for Terra: Part 2.3 - The Elemental: Terra in the 1990s

Terra on a Darkstars mission in space. NT #124 (August 1995)

1990s Continuity continued

-New Titans #114 (September 1994): "24 Hours"
Raven attacks Gar and with the help of Nightwing’s dark double, Deathwing, implants ten Trigon seeds in him. Gar, already half crazy before Raven got to him, rapidly descends into full insanity.

Raven attacks Gar. NT #114 (Sept. 1994)

A dark version of Dick looks on as Raven prepares to seduce Gar. NT #114 (Sept. 1994)

Raven implants a Trigon seed in Gar. NT #114 (Sept. 1994)

Gar awakes with no memory of what has happened over the past five hours between him and Raven. NT #114 (Sept. 1994)

Meanwhile, the 'real' Dick appears at the local police station after taking down some criminals.  Is this the same person as Deathwing who has been involved with Raven?  Their costumes are slightly different.  Nightwing looks unshaven, ratty and worn down - almost like - Deathwing.  And he talks a bit like Deathwing too.  Dick decides to leave for Gotham.  He goes home, sleeps, cleans up, and sets up a candlelit dinner with Kory.  She doesn't show up. If the 'dark' Dick and the 'real' one are the same person, then she has really good reasons for standing him up!

Roy leaves a recruiting message for Wally. NT #114 (Sept. 1994)

Roy signs up the Titans for a crappy government contract in order to pay off all their debts and settle all their court cases.  He holds a Titans recruiting call at the Statue of Liberty. Wally hears his message but doesn't answer.  Donna joins the team a few issues later (#118).  The Statue of Liberty was first associated with Terra 1 in the NTT series, and sure enough, Roy's team is headed for uncertain territory.  Roy has effectively signed away the team's freedom.  Nightwing shows up and criticizes his decision.  Dick says he's leaving the Titans.

Dick, who sold out the team to Hollywood, chides Roy for selling out the team to the government. NT #114 (Sept. 1994)

Gar, after being tortured and possibly raped by Raven (she certainly raped the dark version of Dick), is possessed by the Trigon seeds which begin to twist him.

Changeling, implanted with the Trigon seed, answers Roy's recruiting call at the Statue of Liberty. NT #114 (Sept. 1994)

He meets Roy at the Statue of Liberty.  True to his history with the symbol and Terra, he is the only Titan who initially joins Roy’s New Titans team; that is, at first he's the only one who accepts this twist of fate for the team that Roy is offering.  The team is later joined by Terra 2, Damage, Impulse, Mirage – then Donna Troy, Matrix Supergirl, Minion and Green Lantern.  Rose Wilson joins on the government's insistence (she doesn't know this, but they are acting on her father's wishes); the Titans act more like her custodians than her teammates. Pantha, Red Star and Baby Wildebeest leave to go travelling.

-Deathstroke, The Hunted #0 (October 1994): "The Hunted"
Deathstroke is framed for the murder of a senator.  It's later revealed in the Crimelord arc that he's framed by Gar's adoptive father, Steve Dayton.  Flashbacks reveal that he got involved in this case as a favour for Rose's prostitute mother. One of her call girls saw the senator murdered (by one of Dayton's operatives). Three days later, the senator appears on television supporting an anti-terrorism bill that's signed into law. Rose listens to everything her mother and the call girls are telling Slade from behind a door.  Knowing that the new Senator is a fake and that he has close contact with Clinton, Deathstroke targets the double in an attempt to protect the President.  He fires on the double of the Senator (a clone created by Dayton) who explodes due to an implanted bomb - even before Slade's shot connects.  Meanwhile, Adeline Kane is following all of Slade's actions and is delivering a weapons shipment to Crimelord. Crimelord (later revealed to be Steve Dayton) is smoking cigars and watching gladiatorial fights in an open arena in Zandia, surrounded by scantily-clad women.

Three weeks later, Deathstroke is hemmed in from all sides, running for his life, surrounded by explosions as armed squads try to hunt him down.  Desperate, Slade thinks: "Am I nuts?  Is that what it all comes down to?"  He is captured and wakes up, tied to a chair in his underwear.  He's informed over the intercom that he's in an FBI interrogation chamber.  The agents are arguing in an observation booth about what to do with Slade when Wintergreen and Vigilante bust him out.  Crimelord hires Ravager to start killing Slade's friends and operatives.

The new government-sponsored HQ for Roy's Titans team.  NT #0 (Oct. 1994)

Grant Emerson (Damage) introduced as a romantic rival with Gar for Terra's affections. NT #0 (Oct. 1994)

-New Titans #0 Special (October 1994): “The Changing Order”
Damage, Impulse, Terra and Mirage join Roy’s New Titans team alongside Changeling. Behind the scenes, Nightwing oversees talks with government agents to ensure that Roy’s team gets a new HQ in Liberty State Park, New Jersey. Crimelord, much later revealed to be an insane Steve Dayton, makes an appearance, as do his operatives. Roy and Damage battle Crimelord-affiliated robots in the shopping mall under the World Trade Centre.

Gar hunting down Crimelord's operatives. NT #0 (Oct. 1994)

The issue opens with Changeling stalking criminals in a warehouse near the piers in New York. Crimelord agents are threatening to burn down the warehouse run by Chinese gang members. Gar has transformed into a monster – a multi-headed spider blob. Gar’s thoughts flip back and forth between wanting to murder the criminals and terrifying himself with what he’s thinking and doing. The Crimelord agents knock him unconscious.

Terra saves Gar's life. He has no memory of how he got to the warehouse. Dulcet Tone was a character in the 1940s' Spirit comic series. NT #0 (Oct. 1994)

Mirage and Terra track Gar to this location. Terra saves Gar’s life while he is knocked out in the burning warehouse and targeted with a flamethrower. Clearly infatuated, she showers him with romantic nicknames. He recovers and harshly rebuffs her: “we’re teammates.”

Gar rebuffs Tara, but has no idea how he even got to this building. NT #0 (Oct. 1994)

Privately, he’s deeply shaken and can’t remember how he got there or what’s been happening to him. In between bouts of fearful confusion, he’s seething with psychotic, murderous thoughts.

Damage jokes around with Tara. Gar: "Kid thinks he's a comedian." NT #0 (Oct. 1994)

Tara and Damage (Grant Emerson) trade quips, and this annoys Gar, despite his rejection of her. Miri doesn’t say anything but it’s obvious to her that Tara is putting her hopes in the wrong place; Miri notices that Gar looks dark, withdrawn, scary. In later panels, his eyes glow red while he pokes around the new Titans HQ.

Gar under Raven's influence attacks the Titans at their HQ.  He completely switches roles with Tara 1 in this issue.  On cue, Wolfman brings up Statue of Liberty symbolism in his opening narration. NT #115 (Nov. 1994)

The Darkening: Gar’s big meltdown, part 2.
-New Titans #115 (November 1994): “The Final Change”
Gar finally loses it. Raven demands metas for her Trigon seed crèche. She sends Gar to collect his teammates. He lets go of any remaining inhibitions and transforms into a hideous dragon-demon. In the new Titans’ HQ, he plots world domination, and succeeds in abducting Roy’s team.

Gar takes down his romantic rival: "I'm the comedian in this group! - You have upstaged me for the last time." NT #115 (Nov. 1994)

Gar hunts down Roy, Mirage and Damage, and saves Tara for last. Miri escapes in a shuttle up to the Titans satellite.  Gar targets Damage and defeats the new Titan, who has shown an interest in Tara. Gar dislikes Grant’s self-appointed role on the team as ‘the new comedian,’ and he hates the way Damage jokes around with Tara.

Gar saves Terra for last. Note parallels with his dialogue before he killed the DP traitor, Madame Rouge. NT #115 (Nov. 1994)

Parallel scenes: Flashback to similar dialogue before Gar killed Madame Rouge. NTT #15 (Jan. 1982)

Tara wakes up in her bedroom, aware he is there: “Garfield?” Gar: “What is it Darling?” She starts screaming. He has suspended her upside down in a rubbery bath of dragon saliva. He mulls over devouring her alive: “Actually, I don’t know if I like eating little girls.” Calling her “Dearest,” and thinking aloud, he cryptically contemplates raping her (and from what she is screaming off panel, he starts doing something about it, until he hears her raising a column of earth and knocks her unconscious).

Gar seems to contemplate rape instead of cannibalism: "What I have in mind is no fairy tale either." NT #115 (Nov. 1994)

He tells her he’s going to get Raven to turn her into a demon mate for himself. In a very hideous way, this is the main sequence in this series that confirms his continued attachment and attraction to her, when he finally drops all defences and pretences. As far as Gar and Tara go, this is another moment in their Hall of Fame of Bad Ideas for Each Other. Looking back, what Gar does here to Tara is retribution for Terra 1’s treatment of him in the Judas Contract – it’s his scene of sexual revenge against her. It’s payback for her betrayal, her humiliating sexual rejection of him just before she died, and her nasty sexual affair with Slade. Looking forward, it also mirrors what Black Lantern Terra tries to do with Gar, that is, rip out his heart so he’ll be a Black Lantern too, allowing them finally to be together. This scene shows the weird psychological complex from which Logan suffers: love, death, guilt, blame, and self-doubt bordering on self-loathing – combined with his man versus beast powers. Normally Gar turns all this inward and releases tension through self-effacing humour, but Raven knows how to channel it outward into maniacal, sexual, and ultimately homicidal rage.

Gar searches for Tara: "I'll rip you apart - which is what I shoulda done to her!" NT #115 (Nov. 1994)

While roaming the HQ looking for Tara and talking to himself, Gar flips back and forth between assuming Terra 1 and 2 are the same person and thinking they are different people.  He has captured and incapacitated the entire team.  When Impulse returns and releases them at superspeed, Gar assumes Tara has done it.  He says she is always “ruining everything,” and he’s going to kill her.

Gar switches back to human form to lure the team to him. Roy: "You mind tellin' me what Raven did to you?" NT #115 (Nov. 1994)

And he captures the whole team. NT #115 (Nov. 1994)

He switches back to human form, and the Titans are horrified to realize the monster that has been savaging them really is Gar. They rush to help him, and he shapeshifts into a giant multi-headed fanged blob that suddenly grabs all of them.

Gar plans to absorb Tara's soul. NT #116 (Dec. 1994)

-New Titans #116 (December 1994): "Psimon Psays ... Die!"
The issue opens with Mirage jettisoning from the Titans satellite in an escape pod, where she has been hiding from Changeling's attack. Donna Troy, floating in space, watches the pod descend toward earth. At the Titans HQ, Gar has recaptured all of Roy’s team and encased them in his rubbery dragon spew. He’s still thinking of consuming Terra: “Hi Tara – you look especially delicious today. I can’t wait to absorb your soul!”

 Roy: "Gar, why are you doing this?" NT #116 (Dec. 1994)

Roy tries to talk to him – tells him they’re friends. But Gar says they aren’t his friends – he wants his old friends – he can’t remember anything that’s happened and is confused when he can’t find Vic or Kory in the HQ computer system.

Raven causes Gar to have memory blackouts.  Roy notes that Dick has disappeared. NT #116 (Dec. 1994)

The Titans escape him, but only when Green Lantern arrives (under Psimon's mind control) to attack the team and Changeling. Terra fights Gar by encasing herself in an armoured form made of stone.  When she attacks him, he finally retreats.

Tara fights back, inverting the final scene in the Judas Contract where Gar attacked Terra 1. NT #116 (Dec. 1994)

Donna Troy and Mirage show up to help fight against Green Lantern, who is under Psimon’s control. Shimmer and Mammoth of the Fearsome Five have gone to Tibet and been reformed – they no longer have evil thoughts. Psimon attacks both in a Tibetan temple and presumes them to be dead.

-New Titans #117 (January 1995): "Psimon didn’t Psay You’d Win!"
Battle against Psimon continues. Just before Psimon is about to do a mind probe on Terra, he is distracted by Mirage. First appearance of Jarras Minion, whose family was destroyed by Psimon. Minion later joins Roy’s team.

-New Titans #118 (February 1995): "Downtime"
Raven’s grip on Gar continues. In Gar’s history as a character, this issue sees him descend to his lowest point ever while under Raven’s sway. Members from Roy’s team decide to check out New York’s nightlife. Gar, possessed and doing Raven’s bidding to find hosts for Trigon seeds, shapeshifts his human body – something he’s never been shown doing. His mullet mercifully disappears and is updated to a Kurt Cobain haircut. He bulks up, puts on leathers, and enters a nightclub in Soho where he seduces a young girl – he deliberately picks a blonde, suggesting he’s still acting out his attraction to and rage at Terra.

Gar on the prowl for a victim. NT #118 (Feb. 1995)

Gar prefers blondes. NT #118 (Feb. 1995)

Seducing a Terra lookalike. NT #118 (Feb. 1995)

Gar leaves with the girl. NT #118 (Feb. 1995)

As he enters the club, Terra 2, Grant (Damage) and Bart come around the corner. Gar emerges from the club with his victim, a Tara lookalike (and in case we need any hints, the panels depicting the two girls are placed with one directly over the other).

Gar leaves with his Tara lookalike, while Tara arrives with Grant. NT #118 (Feb. 1995)

He leaves just before Tara, Grant and Bart come up and start arguing with the bouncer, who won’t let them in because they are too young. This is the scene where Tara and Grant become closer and there are hints of a budding relationship between them. Tara makes an odd comment that could refer to her actually being Tara 1 or to her own retread of the betrayal arc (Team Titans #1): “We’ve all had such weird secret pasts filled with lies and such.” Tara also refers to the Titans’ family theme. This again confirms that the family theme grew up in comments and situations around Terra, post Judas Contract.

Raven: "Gar's been telepathically telling me all about you." NT #118 (Feb. 1995)

The group’s criss-crossing paths with Gar and his Tara look-alike around Soho are very well done. We get the sense that if they just turned another corner two seconds faster they would see Gar and save the girl. Gar takes the girl to a nearby apartment where Raven is waiting; she rejects the girl as not a suitable host for Trigon seeds – she needs metas. Raven says she and Gar have been talking telepathically – another confirmation that he has latent telepathic powers. Raven decides the girl will serve as Gar’s first victim.

Gar reaches his lowest point at Raven's bidding.  NT #118 (Feb. 1995)

She orders Gar to take the girl’s soul (this is something he told Terra he was going to do to her).   What Raven says here is possibly a euphemism for cannibalism.  Friedrich Ratzel claims that in soul-eating and cannibalism are mythologically connected.  Usually, the symbolism of cannibalism involves 'humans behaving like gods' - gods eat souls - and if a human eats another human, he is mimicking god-like behaviour:
"The notion of the gods eating souls runs all through Polynesian mythology. In Aitutaki a god was called Terongo, the man-eater. Tangaroa caught souls with a net or a noose and ate them up. Souls of people who died suddenly were devoured by the god. This conception might easily pass into that of eating the body with the soul; and therewith human sacrifices, and, in the uncertainty of the boundary between divine and human, cannibalism received a divine justification."
Gar agrees, turns into a fanged blob of protoplasm, and the issue ends as Raven pushes the screaming girl toward Gar’s mouth, which suggests that she induces Gar to eat the girl physically and psychically. Given that in #115, Gar talks about ‘eating little girls’ it’s implied that he commits cannibalism and literally consumes her body – a look-alike of Terra 1’s double – but this is not shown. This scene repeats Perez's earlier panel, in which he graphically showed Logan consuming human flesh under Raven's influence in 1984’s Terror of Trigon arc (NTT Baxter series #1-5 - see the panel in this continuity, part 1.3). But where in this earlier arc, cannibalism was just a terrible dream Raven created to goad Changeling to become evil, Gar is now her willing slave and the nightmare is a reality. If this happens off panel, it means that Gar kills here for the second time (the first time being Madame Rouge).

Gar later doesn’t seem to remember killing this girl, his scary transformations, or trying to capture and kill Roy’s team. Throughout this arc, when Gar periodically regains his sanity, he can’t recall what he’s done or why, or how he got wherever he is. It’s likely he can’t recall his actions during The Darkening after he’s released from Raven’s influence (if he ever really is fully released from her influence). Maybe Raven erases his memory – something she’s previously done with Dick and Wally. If Changeling remembered what Raven did to him, he would never date her in the stories from the 2000s. The other male Titans who have had romantic entanglements with Raven – Wally, Dick and Joseph – and recall what happened never go near her again. Only Raven witnessed what he did to this girl. Of the team who saw his descent into insanity and his uncontrolled transformations, only Raven, Donna, Roy and Bart remain alive and active.

-Guy Gardner: Warrior #29 (March 1995): "It's My Party And I'll Fight If I Want To"
The grand opening of Warriors. Terra 2 cameo. Story continues in ACTION COMICS (1938 series) #709.

Deathstroke fights Terra. Deathstroke #45 (Mar. 1995)

-Deathstroke, the Hunted #45 (March 1995): "Deathstroke, the Hunted, Part VI: The Road to Salvation..."
The issue opens with Deathstroke fighting Roy’s Titans team. He’s taken Bart down and encounters Donna – he’s silently grateful because at least he knows her and knows what to expect, although he sees that with her Darkstar powers she has changed – she’s more focussed and angrier than she used to be. He thinks, “I can smell them coming after me. They’re powerful, perhaps stronger than the old group ... but they’re not as well-trained. They’re still children and they’re clumsy. I can use that.” Then Terra goes after Deathstroke. As the earth rises up in front of him, Slade is rattled: “Damn. It’s her. We were bound to meet again ... sooner or later. Don’t try talking to her – think about the others ...”

Deathstroke fights Terra and Mirage. Deathstroke #45 (Mar. 1995)

Slade isn’t sure whether this is the original Terra or not either: “Maybe you’re not the Terra I knew, and you should thank God you’re not – but even with your powers, you’re still both kids.”

For once, Slade gets his ass handed to him. Deathstroke #45 (Mar. 1995)

Slade kicks her around, but Roy and Damage (Terra’s on-off boyfriend) go after him. Slade shoots Damage straight-on in the chest. Roy: “That was a killing shot, Slade – you can’t claim innocence now.” The Titans finally win the fight and deliver Slade to Sergeant Steel, the Checkmate official they work for.

First meeting between Tara 2 and Brion. Outsiders #17 (Apr. 1995)

Markovia and the House of Markov.
-Outsiders Vol. 2 #17 (April 1995): "Sibling Rivalry"
Brion finally tracks down Tara at Titans HQ. She says she doesn’t want to see him and when he persists, Green Lantern and Roy attack him until Donna steps in. Donna convinces Tara to talk to Brion.

Brion: You're exactly the same, but of course you're not the same. Outsiders #17 (Apr. 1995)

Tara denies that she is his sister but also says that she doesn’t know who she is. In a later story (see next entry in this continuity), she asks Brion for DNA proof that she isn't his sister.  Thus, over time, she becomes less and less sure about whether she is Terra 1 or not.

Tara is convinced she is not the original but has no proof.  Outsiders #17 (Apr. 1995)

Brion's grip on identity is tenuous as well . Outsiders #17 (Apr. 1995)

With the help of Markovian soldiers (somehow active in America) Dr. Kneidel (spelt Kneidle in this issue) kidnaps Terra and attempts to analyze her powers in order to duplicate them. GF, enraged after a battle with Markovian robots designed as a diversion for him, demands to know how they could do this to Tara without her permission. In everything she says here, Kneidel clearly believes that Tara 1 and 2 are the same person. “’Ask her?’ It was her usurpation of Markovian technology that gave her her abilities as it gave you yours!”

Terra kidnapped by Markovian scientist Dr. Kneidel, who wants to duplicate her powers. Outsiders #17 (Apr. 1995)

Terra revives and is similarly furious. She almost kills Kneidel, and GF asks her to stand down. Kneidel pleads with her: “Terra, wait! Your country needs you!”

"Your country needs you." Outsiders #17 (Apr. 1995)

Terra denies that Markovia is her country. She confirms again to GF that she’s not Terra 1. However in NT #119 we see her traumatized by this meeting and wondering if she is Terra 1, and certain that Brion thinks she is, despite his reassurances. The final panel shows Brion visiting Tara’s grave and saying he already feels closer to the new Tara than he ever felt to his true sister.

Visiting Tara's grave (again). Outsiders #17 (Apr. 1995)

Forever Evil.
-New Titans #119 (March 1995): "Forever Evil, Ch. 1: Dark Titans"
-New Titans #120 (April 1995): "Forever Evil, Ch. 2: The Road to Hell"
-New Titans #121 (May 1995) [Forever Evil, Ch. 3]: "The Road to Hell"

Gar attacks a pregnant Mirage on Raven's orders. NT #119 (Mar. 1995)

Issue #119: Damage leaves the team after conflicts with Roy.  This bothers Terra. Gar and Deathwing capture Mirage.

After meeting Brion, Terra 2's 'I'm not her' line starts to wear thin.  NT #120 (Apr. 1995)

Issue #120: Terra breaks down in front of Roy, Kyle and Donna after having met Geo-Force in Outsiders #17. She feels she’ll never convince GF that she’s not his sister.

An ancient elemental with a Postmodern identity crisis. NT #120 (Apr. 1995)

She’s traumatized because Brion – Gar, and possibly from this scene, Donna, too – all think she’s the original Terra. She doesn’t know who she is and can never find out.

Terra's certainty that she is not the original girl begins to waver. NT #120 (Apr. 1995)

She hints that she also thinks she might be the original Terra. Weeping as Donna hugs her, she tells her she’s sorry – she’s scared she actually may be Tara 1.  This is as close as she ever comes to an admission: “At least you know who you are. At least you know the skin you’re in is yours. I can’t even tell how old I am, for God’s sake. And sometimes I get so afraid. Oh, God ... I’m sorry, Donna ... I’m sorry.” She’s interrupted by an emergency signal from Mirage, which draws the Titans to Raven’s lair.

This is almost an admission from Terra 2 that she is Terra 1. She tells Donna she's sorry. NT #120 (Apr. 1995)

Issue #120: Raven is now flanked by dark versions of Dick and Gar (at this point in continuity, the real Dick has disappeared from the Titans books – so the hints mount that this could actually be a him, corrupted – even though Wolfman constantly denies it (as he does with Terra 1 and 2). Deathwing is Raven’s lover, she may have raped Gar as well as Deathwing during Trigon seed implantation). She sets up a demonic crèche in a hole tunnelled under a condemned Brooklyn tenement building to prepare for the implanting of 100 Trigon seeds in her friends and their hatching into Trigon’s children. Metas already captured and implanted with Trigon seeds: someone called Crystallex, Frances Kane, Thunder and Lightning (the Vietnamese brothers), Matrix Supergirl, Deathwing (a dark double of Dick, although he claims here not to be a future Dick Grayson – his identity starts unravelling), and Changeling (who has 10 seeds in him). The presence of Frances Kane implies that Raven consciously and unconsciously covertly attacks perceived romantic rivals in her pursuit of various male Titans: she compromises Kory in a lesbian Trigon seed bond; goes after Mirage, who was also Dick’s misguided love interest; kidnaps Frances, who was initially Wally West’s lover after he left Raven. In the 2000s, there’s an oddly convenient tone about Raven’s presence during Terra 2’s death. The only female Titan rival she didn’t attack was Joseph’s love interest Kole, who died mysteriously during Crisis on Infinite Earths, and whose body was never found.

In this ugly scene, Raven is supported by various demons; one is called Trog. Roy’s Titans, including Terra 2, Kyle Rayner and Donna, enter this sick underworld and break up the party. Terra 2 fights Thunder and Lightning but doesn’t know who they are (their case was important while Terra 1 was a Titan); she also battles Supergirl.

Matrix Supergirl, controlled by Raven, attacks Terra. NT #120 (Apr. 1995)

Mirage is apparently not implanted, although when Terra tries to rescue her, she says, “T-Tara? You shouldn’t have come here. It’s too late for me.” Issue #121: Phantasm appears in the middle of the action, bearing the souls of Azarath. Phantasm teleports Supergirl away and frees her while recounting everything that’s happened to Raven up to that point. Phantasm tells Supergirl that because both Kory and Supergirl are aliens, they can expel Raven’s evil soul self and rid themselves of its influence. In her lair, Raven tries to implant Donna and fails when Green Lantern interferes. Terra returns with reinforcements – Phantasm, a freed Supergirl and Minion. Deathwing protects Mirage against Raven’s orders. Arella, a soul within Phantasm, begins to destroy Raven and both disappear in a huge explosion. With Green Lantern’s help, the Titans, including Supergirl and Minion, fly across the country to San Francisco, where Gar and the others who were possessed are put in stasis at S.T.A.R. labs. Mirage says she’s lost her baby. This is a deception to protect herself from Deathwing, who is taken prisoner – it may also reflect her fear of Raven and possibly Trigon seed implantation that we don't know about.

Steve Dayton’s influence behind the scenes is one of the quiet, yet huge, ongoing themes in Titans titles. The Crimelord arc unfolds in 1995 but has roots going back to 1985, when Steve Dayton appears to be psychologically distressed behind the scenes at Donna Troy’s wedding. His business manager, Vernon Questor, expresses concern for him. It’s implied that Dayton has been drinking alone and is unbalanced. His Mento helmet is affecting his mind. Up to this point, from 1980 to 1985, he is portrayed as Gar’s stern, albeit caring – and immensely wealthy – adoptive father. In the original DP stories, Gar and Mento had a similarly tenuous relationship, based on the fact that both loved Rita Farr and they were thrown together because she needed each of them to make up a nuclear family she could otherwise never have. Upon her death, they were left alone with one another. Over the course of 15 years’ worth of storylines, the strain of grief from her death gradually drives both characters crazy. When the Judas Contract was added to this strain, especially with its DP undercurrents and Slade’s exploitation of DP history to mess with Gar, this fragile family crumbled. Dayton has always been depicted as approving of Terra – both the first and second versions – as Gar’s girlfriend, perhaps more than Jillian. This is interesting, because he is a powerful telepath and presumably would have access to Tara’s private thoughts. Maybe he sees something of his own romance with Rita in Gar's and Tara’s tempestuous pairing. Dayton’s talents as a scientist and a businessman and his natural abilities as a telepath and telekinetic make for a lethal combination when his stressful life and emotional troubles overwhelm him. He’s increasingly seduced by power. His labs develop the fictitious element Promethium. Wolfman linked Dayton and the mythical figure Prometheus early on in the NTT series, a Titan of Myth that the writer later associated with Tara. Mento’s association with John Constantine again obliquely related Mento to Terra; it was through a Swamp Thing case that Steve observed the connection between good and evil inherent in the power of the earth. Witnessing this truth drove him insane. Dayton’s genetic experiments have produced artificial life (The Recombatants), a quasi-Doom Patrol through the generation of his villains’ team (The Hybrid), clones of world leaders, and a series of genetically engineered new hybrid human-animal creatures (Wildebeest, Pantha and Baby Wildebeest). The last human-animal hybrids were produced as Dayton attempted to find the secret of Gar’s powers and replicate them genetically.

Kole explains her parents' ties to Gar's father.  NTT #10 (July 1985)

His experiments also helped to create the crystal powers of the Titan Kole (material-human hybrid). Her parents helped develop Promethium and were involved in insect-human hybridization, which ultimately killed them.

Sinister undercurrents: A seemingly benevolent Dayton shelters the end product of his genetic technology. NT #91 (Oct. 1992)

Now, in the Crimelord arc, Dayton aims for a computer-human hybridization. This arc is basically a Matrix story, but it was published before the Matrix movies came out. Dayton’s crossing into the virtual realm is depicted here as horrific, whereas the Matrix movies suggested a more zen-like interface between Neo and the computer world. Terra’s reference to Gar as ‘Neo’ is another flag of what is happening with his adoptive father.

Strangely, the more unhinged Dayton gets, the closer he eventually grows to Gar. They develop a father-son bond in between a lot of fights and fractured suffering. Gar’s encounters with his parental figures have all involved those figures inducing him to states of massive transformation. First, his biological father, Mark Logan, and later his mother Marie, were depicted as scientists forcing him to undergo an animal-human hybridization process in order to save his life. After his parents’ death, Gar’s rebellion against Chief Tawaba, who initially took care of him, prompted him to live alone with animals in the jungle and hone his powers. His first guardian, Galtry (recently retconned as Gar’s maternal uncle), was funded by the Brotherhood of Evil and propelled him to seek help from the Doom Patrol; Galtry’s physical abuse of Gar as a young child, his stealing Gar’s parents’ money, and his villainy as The Arsenal essentially launched Gar into his career as a superhero. Retcons of the Doom Patrol storylines suggest that Niles Caulder, the Doom Patrol leader, who knew Mark Logan and is another of Gar’s father figures, caused the accidents that created the Doom Patrol. With additional retcons around Gar’s parents’ deaths, it’s possible that Caulder somehow engineered Gar getting his powers as well. Changeling’s adopted mother, Rita, is a metamorph and actor like Gar; her influence leads to him seeking a Hollywood career. Deathstroke, who also plays father figure to Logan, through his manipulation of DP history and ugly romantic rivalry through Terra, creates the kind of traumatic early experience that may establish Gar as a future heroic team leader – or push him toward becoming a future villain. Dayton, fascinated by BB’s powers, tries to mimic them through a series of scientific experiments. Dayton has neglected Gar in favour of these experiments, which violated his bond of paternal trust with his son. Still, the Crimelord storyline is less about Dayton going insane and seeking world domination, and more about Dayton going after Deathstroke. This is most evident in Dayton’s conspiracy with Deathstroke’s ex-wife Adeline. Their actions are an inversion of Deathstroke’s revenge for Grant’s death, which prompted him to take the original H.I.V.E. contract and Judas Contract against the Titans. Now, the wronged mother and wronged father vengefully go after Slade as a failed father. What Dayton has to become in order to try to crush Deathstroke is hideous – but he’s partly doing it to prevent this interloper from taking a twisted paternal role toward his son.

-Deathstroke, the Hunted #46 (April 1995): “Connections”
Deathstroke awakes in a high-tech government prison and confronts Sergeant Steel, who makes him an offer to have Slade secretly work with Checkmate in exchange for clearing his name. The second part of the issue focuses on Adeline, who is out for Slade’s blood.

Karma: Gar's father and Deathstroke's ex conspire to destroy Deathstroke for what he did to Gar, Terra and Jericho. Deathstroke #46 (Apr. 1995)

Crimelord (secretly Steve Dayton) has promised to deliver Slade to Adeline so that she can murder him. She’s totally unhinged, but Dayton assures her that he will see the deal through. He explains that Slade is being held by Checkmate in the U.S. government’s secret Arcadian complex. As a sweetener for the delay, Dayton hands over the new Vigilante to Adeline. Adeline: “The Vigilante? Slade’s lover,” and roars with vengeful insane laughter.

Karma: Gar's father and Deathstroke's ex conspire to destroy Deathstroke for what he did to Terra and Jericho. Deathstroke #46 (Apr. 1995)

This continues Wolfman’s theme of vengeance, karma and twisted parenthood, wherein two parents, Dayton and Adeline, are coming after Deathstroke for his toxic fatherhood, his vengeance for his son Grant, his commission of the Judas Contract, his attempts to act as a surrogate father figure of Gar Logan after killing his own son Joseph. Everything is coming back to haunt Slade. Meanwhile, Dayton uses voice filters and holo-images to communicate with his various criminal teams; no one knows who he is. He has one team plant a nuclear bomb in L.A.

Commandeered by Checkmate, Deathstroke works with the Titans. Deathstroke #48 (June 1995)

-Deathstroke, the Hunted #47 (May 1995): “Conversion”
-Deathstroke, the Hunted #48 (June 1995): “Third Strike”
Issue #47: Slade is pressed by Steel into working as the White Rook for Checkmate to clear his name (more karma). Dayton’s twisted genetically modified zombie team, The Hybrid, delivers the Vigilante to Adeline. Crimelord has planted nuclear bombs in major cities all over the world. Crimelord makes a worldwide broadcast threatening to set off his nuclear bombs in world capitals unless Checkmate meets his demands in the next 24 hours. Slade’s half-brother, Wade (the second Ravager) infiltrates the hospital where Deathstroke is staying with the intention of killing him.

Crimelord threatens Checkmate - and everyone else.  Deathstroke #48 (June 1995)

Issue #48: Rose confronts Slade for the first time about the fact that she is his daughter. We get a retread of Slade as toxic pater familias, with flashbacks to Grant and Joe. Slade rejects Rose (in order to protect her) and she leaves traumatized and crying. Steel says he’s a bastard – that Slade’s enemies know Rose is his “brat” and will go after her regardless of whether he acknowledges paternity or not. Wintergreen tells Deathstroke: “The truth doesn’t go away.” Eventually Slade agrees with Checkmate to place Rose in the Teen Titans, where she’ll be protected. Wintergreen is shocked by this. While Checkmate debates what to do about Crimelord, it turns out that the Syndicate are taking down Dayton’s secret crime rings all over the world. Dayton changes his strategy.

Dayton sends an operative to hunt down Baran, who like Terra, was one of Jace's former test subjects. Deathstroke #48 (June 1995)

He sends one operative to Tibet to track down Baran – note Jace worked on him, as well as Terra, GF and Shimmer - who is in bandages after an attack there from Psimon that killed his sister. This connection means that Dayton has deeper knowledge of Terra’s background, how Jace gave her her powers, and Jace’s other work than is currently apparent. Meanwhile, Crimelord sets up the Syndicate to battle Checkmate, distracting both, while he continues with his plans. Deathstroke and the New Titans are thrust in the middle of the Crimelord/Syndicate war. The Titans briefly cooperate with Slade. Flying behind the main group, Terra and Damage agree that Slade can’t be trusted.

Seeing Deathstroke, Terra 2 wonders if she is Terra 1. Deathstroke #48 (June 1995)

Terra continues her doubts about her identity to Damage, remarking that she may be Terra 1 and if so, she knew Deathstroke “in the Biblical sense.” Not something Damage wants to hear – but Terra 2 says Deathstroke now makes her sick. All the Titans are downed in the fight except Donna and Slade. Side note: Terra debuts a new, all-black costume, unlike her previous costumes that resembled Terra 1’s costumes. Story continues in THE NEW TITANS (DC, 1988 series) #122.

-Damage #13 (June 1995): “Picking up the Pieces”
Damage refers bitterly to the end of his fling with Terra in an argument with the Titans and Roy.

-Darkstars #31 (June 1995): "Loose Ends!"
The Titans support Donna (now a Darkstar) against Darkseid.

-New Titans #122 (June 1995): "Syndicate Rites!"
The issue opens with Crimelord monitoring his recent conflict with the Syndicate. His operatives have recovered Mammoth’s lobotomized body.  Other operatives confirm that Cyborg’s new body parts will be compatible, to which Crimelord says, “excellent.” Donna and Deathstroke battle the Syndicate. Deathstroke dies, but soon revives, declaring he’s immortal. The Sydnicate threatens to murder Terra unless Donna stops fighting. At the Titans’ Liberty State Park HQ, Sarge Steel, the Titans’ government handler, inducts Rose Wilson into the Titans. Rose protests. Steel argues with her, but he apparently only sends Minion and Green Lantern to rescue the Titans, while Rose is left behind. The Titans are captured but free themselves and are rejoined by Deathstroke. As Minion and GL show up (no sign of Rose in the battle or of her meeting up with her father), the Titans destroy the Syndicate’s forces, only to come up against Crimelord’s agents. Continued in Darkstars #32.

Terra 2 shoots down the Time Trapper's message before - he can confirm she's Terra 1 to the Titans? NT Annual #11 (1995)

-New Titans Annual #11 (1995): "After Year One"
In this annual, the Time Trapper finally explains why Terra and Mirage did not disappear from this reality when the Team Titans’ timeline was erased during Zero Hour and all their teammates from the future instantly died. Suggestion that Terra 1 and 2 are the same. Terra 2 comes from this time period, not the future. Terra cuts off the Time Trapper’s message before he can explain where she came from. Tara doesn’t want to know about the past – Miri says Tara might have family – Tara wants the past to stay buried. Donna, no stranger to these trials of identity, advises Tara. Donna: “My past is what made me today. Don’t ignore or hide from it, Tara – embrace it. Cherish even the memories that hurt.”

Donna to Tara: Embrace your past. Cherish even the memories that hurt. NT Annual #11 (1995)

Donna explains how she has suffered through her divorce. Bart runs back to Wally’s house and finds a picture of his parents: “I know what being alone means too, Donna. Mom ... Dad ... I miss you.” The Titans try to convince Tara to accept what she has, including the fact that she has Tara Markov’s past hanging over her. Tara's defensiveness could be read to mean that she is Terra 1 and she knows it (and possibly has known it all along).  If that's the case, she is coming close to having the Titans see through this - or maybe they've known all along.  Her defensiveness here is not so different from Terra 1's defensiveness when the Titans came close to uncovering her secrets.  This was not Wolfman's intention, but if so, he certainly builds that red herring into this Annual.

Terra gets defensive. NT Annual #11 (1995)

The main question around Terra is still 'Why?' NT Annual #11 (1995)

In another repeat use of this symbol in Tara-related arcs, Donna takes Minion to the Statue of Liberty and explains the statue’s symbolism. Terra 2 goes to Valhalla Cemetery, digs up Terra 1’s grave and finds the coffin is empty.

Face to face with - an empty coffin - and the question, 'Why?' NT Annual #11 (1995)

-New Titans #123 (July 1995): "Salvation"
Mirage is active again. Minion recounts his background on the world of Talyn, which was destroyed. While an alien with a very different backstory and metallic superheroic suit, in humanoid form he looks like a substitute version of the 2000s version of Gar Logan (green skin, pointed ears) and is admitted to the Titans.

Darkstars #32 (July 1995): “The Crimelord-Syndicate War--Part 3: The Night They Burned Ol' Dixie Down!”
Deathstroke, the Darkstars and the New Titans continue battling in the gang war between the Syndicate and the Crimelord. The issue opens as Donna recounts the story thus far. The government has sent the Titans and “the maniac” Deathstroke separately to check out Crimelord’s threat to detonate nuclear weapons across the planet. “Unfortunately, things blew up in our faces.” They haven’t arrived at Crimelord’s base, but at an installation run by the Syndicate. They’ve been played for fools by Crimelord, although they don’t know yet that it was he who set them up. The Titans rescue innocent bystanders, and are helped in a rare moment by Slade. The local Syndicate leader offers info to Donna on the location of six of Crimelord’s nuclear warheads: “I hate to see a competitor get the upper hand.” Just as she’s about to respond, a troop of Darkstars descend from above to shut the Syndicate down. Story continued from THE NEW TITANS (DC, 1988 series) #122 and story continues in DEATHSTROKE (1995 series) #49.

Dayton putting on his best Richard Branson routine for Steel, a Checkmate operative and the Titans' government handler. Deathstroke #49 (July 1995)

Deathstroke #49 (July 1995): "All the King's Men"
Story continued from DARKSTARS (DC, 1992 series) #32. The issue opens as Sarge Steel meets Dayton, who has outfitted Checkmate with a new world monitoring system. In other words, Dayton has just provided Checkmate with the technology to stop Crimelord. But Crimelord is Dayton! Steel complains to Dayton that the Titans were supposed to stop the Crimelord, not get tangled up in a conflict with the Syndicate (a group of aliens). Dayton seems untroubled and reassures Steel that the Titans will manage with the help of the tech he has provided to Checkmate. Steel thinks that Dayton’s turned his life around since the whole affair with the Hybrid (when Raven apparently cured him of his insanity). He wishes he knew Dayton’s secrets. Dayton excuses himself, saying he’s late for a Senate Committee meeting. The Senate is full of Dayton's clones and Syndicate agents!  The story moves to Senator Kyle Baron in Dallas, who is a Syndicate stooge. The Syndicate, knowing they are going down send an operative after Baron, who kills him while committing suicide in order to eliminate any trace of evidence of the Syndicate’s connections.

Several heroes, including the Titans and the Darkstars, combine to stop the Syndicate. Deathstroke is among them, thinking that this is a diversion from the main problem, that is, Crimelord. As they get the Titans and Deathstroke get to the Syndicate’s ship, they realize it’s set for self-destruct. They try to get the Syndicate members to tell them the location of Crimelord’s nuclear bombs. But they kill themselves and destroy their ship. Slade gets half the information (8 bomb locations, with 9 still unaccounted for) they need from one Syndicate suicide before the alien dies. At Checkmate HQ, President Clinton is shown on the monitors advising on the situation. He requests the help of major DCU heroes, including the Outsiders. The tech Checkmate gives them was provided by Dayton, so he knows everything they do. Steel tells them to find 17 nuclear bombs worldwide. Bombs are defused by the heroes beneath the World Trade Centre in NYC; another bomb is dismantled in a slot machine in Las Vegas. The Titans defuse one in Boston Harbour. Watching all this from his main research lab in NYC, Dayton realizes that they are finding the bombs too quickly and he has to move up his schedule to fully interface with the internet – which was his intention all along.

Password: Jillian. Deathstroke #49 (July 1995)

His computer advisor, Zarina, warns him the system is not ready yet. The radiation danger is still to great. Dayton: “I know.” As he enters this facility, the password is the name of Gar’s first girlfriend, ‘Jillian.’ He enters the secret room where Zarina is housed, and it appears that she is a giant radioactive sentient organic mass, merged with computer cables.

Zarina revealed. Deathstroke #49 (July 1995)

Cut to Deathstroke and Wintergreen quarrelling about Rose as they fly above San Francisco on their way to Dayton’s genetic research facility, the Technodome, south of the city, where one bomb is planted. They land there and Slade infiltrates the facility. Back in NYC, Dayton merges with the computer cables and Zarina and begins telepathically controlling all the phone and computer lines.

Dayton merges telepathically, telekinetically and physically with Zarina, a living organic computer construct. Deathstroke #49 (July 1995)

Crimelord - Conclusion.
Deathstroke #50 (July 1995): "Revelations"
Deathstroke Annual #4 (1995): “The Web of Eternal Vows”
Deathstroke infiltrates the Technodome with info provided by Steel – who is getting real time instructions from Dayton.

Dayton planning to destroy Slade. Deathstroke #50 (July 1995)

Dayton is in NYC but luring Slade deeper into a nuclear trap in SF. With his telepathic powers, Dayton intends to merge completely with the global internet, using it essentially like a giant Mento helmet – he has already implanted the Mento chip directly in his own hypothalamus – now he will become the internet, so to speak. But first he intends to detonate the A-bomb and kill Deathstroke: “I must see this flyspeck dead before I evolve beyond my limited human flesh.”

Slade and Wintergreen discover Dayton's little genetic shop of horrors. Deathstroke #50 (July 1995)

Wintergreen joins Deathstroke in the Technodome, and they discover Dayton’s horrible genetic experiments – malformed insect monsters and banks of clones of world leaders. Wintergreen realizes Dayton made the duplicate of Senator Williams, for whose death Dayton framed Slade in Deathstroke #0.

Dayton reveals his other motivations to Deathstroke. He was trying to duplicate Gar's powers, technology which was used by others to create human-animal hybrids - Pantha and Baby Wildebeest. Deathstroke #50 (July 1995)

Slade and Wintergreen realize Dayton is Crimelord. Meanwhile, Oracle reports to Steel that Crimelord’s broadcast came from Dayton’s offices in NYC. Steel invades Dayton's offices, where Dayton is interfacing with Zarina.  Across the country, Wintergreen and Deathstroke fight their way out of the Technodome.

Before Dayton disappears, he lets Deathstroke's vengeful family know Slade's location. Deathstroke #50 (July 1995)

Dayton is almost immaterial and his clones are set to step into the spots occupied by world leaders. Dayton contacts Ravager (Slade’s homicidal half-brother) and Adeline. In SF, Wilson and Wintergreen disarm the nuclear bomb at the last second, and Steel and his team make their way to the heart of the Dayton's NY complex and find nothing but organic and computer waste.

Slade claims the moral high ground against Dayton as he fights his way out of Dayton's genetic research complex. Deathstroke #50 (July 1995)

Dayton has entered the internet – but Checkmate disconnects the system from the internet and he is trapped inside an isolated computer system. It’s never explained how he escapes, regains his body and gets off the hook with the authorities in the 2000s.

Dayton becomes an isolated computer construct. Deathstroke #50 (July 1995)

All the other bombs are defused by the heroes. Deathstroke and Steel meet and argue over where Dayton is and who gets to hunt him down first. As Deathstroke and Wintergreen leave, Ravager hops down from the building and shoots Wintergreen – Dayton set this up. In the last panel, Ravager reveals his identity as Slade’s half-brother, who even killed his own mother (one of Slade’s operatives, and prior to that, presumably one of Slade’s father’s operatives) to get to Slade. The battle continues in the Deathstroke Annual #4, where Adeline, disguised as Vigilante and also sent by Dayton, hunts Deathstroke down as well. Deathstroke knocks her out, but is tortured by flashbacks of loving and marrying Adeline as he realizes that she has been killing his friends and wants to murder him. It’s revealed in flashbacks that Deathstroke’s half-brother, Wade (Ravager) was originally involved with Adeline. Now the two of them hunt Deathstroke down together. Adeline has hired Ravager without knowing he’s her ex. He reveals his identity after stabbing Deathstroke and they have an extended argument with flashbacks, revealing he hired the Jackal to kidnap Joseph. Deathstroke's brother has held a candle for his former girlfriend, now ex-sister-in-law, all these years.  He did not intend the kidnapping to harm his nephew (who later became the Titan Jericho).  The stunt was intended to 'out' Slade as a mercenary to his wife and destroy the marriage.

Deathstroke's brother explains how he commissioned Joseph's kidnapping to win Adeline back. Deathstroke Annual #4 (1995)

Adeline turns on Wade, as does Deathstroke – but in the fight she gets shot in the head. Police enter and shoot Deathstroke. Both will later come back from the dead. But Deathstroke’s brother walks away in police custody, declaring he’s had his vengeance. In fact, Dayton has the last laugh; his vengeance against Deathstroke has been accomplished. He uses Slade’s family against Slade, just as Slade used the Doom Patrol’s family history against Gar and destroyed Gar’s love for, and with, Terra.

Checkmate sends its charges on a space mission. NT #124 (Aug.1995)

The Siege of the Zi Charam.
-New Titans #124 (August 1995) [The Siege of the Zi Charam, Part 1]: "Prometheus Gathering"
A comet colliding with Jupiter has caused a gravity well, a bit like a small black hole, in space near Jupiter’s moon Io. The gravity well has swallowed a NASA satellite. If it grows, the solar system will be destabilized and the earth possibly destroyed. The Titans get a briefing on this at their HQ. Sarge Steel orders them to go deal with the gravity well. Rose is pictured elsewhere in the HQ with two metas, Thomas and Benjamin. Once in Jupiter’s orbit, the Titans’ spaceship breaks apart when it approaches the gravity well. The Titans move through space with Darkstar survival units on. They are about to be sucked into the gravity well.

Terra uses her powers to collapse the gravity well. NT #124 (Aug.1995)

Terra manifests gravity powers, like Geo-Force. She uses them to seal the gravity well. Everyone’s amazed at the extent of her power. She succeeds in sealing the well, saving the solar system, but the Titans get sucked through it as she’s doing it. Unknown observers state: “Impressive. That is the first time anyone has sealed the aperture. But now they have no means of return.” On the other side of the gravity well, they find themselves flying through space within range of a spaceship that begins firing at them. Matrix Supergirl bursts through the hull and the Titans enter the ship. A fight starts with the creatures inside. Continued in Green Lantern #65; Darkstars #34; Damage #16; and NT #125.

The Siege of the Zi Charam.
Green Lantern #65 (August 1995) [The Siege of the Zi Charam, Part 2]: “Rescue”
The issue opens with Donna recording a Darkstar log in their somehow-reconstituted ship, the Puddle Jumper, explaining what has happened so far. Sarge Steel has sent the Titans to investigate a gravity well near Jupiter, “getting something back on the government’s investment in us. He didn’t much care that these Titans are still raw. None of them really have space experience except Green Lantern. So of course we immediately get sucked through the gravity well and deposited on the other side of the universe. And of course, half of us get captured by aliens as soon as we come out the other side.” Arsenal, Damage, Terra and Mirage are inside an alien ship. In Roy’s absence, Donna leads the team. On her orders, Green Lantern and Supergirl are outside the ship in space attempting to mount a rescue operation. Meanwhile the alien ships are attacking a planet below them. Minion, who has stayed behind as a reserve force with Donna, demands that they stop the hostilities. Donna agrees but says they have to wait, figure out the situation and get the team back. Minion rebels, defying Donna’s direct order. He saw his planet destroyed and refuses to wait. Meanwhile, on the alien ship, Supergirl and Green Lantern can’t find the Titans because the ship is too big. Matrix Supergirl reveals that she is not a true Kryptonian to Green Lantern. She makes him swear secrecy and protoplasmically metamorphoses to mimic the aliens on the ship. Green Lantern and Matrix Supergirl thereby conduct a ruse and free their teammates. When Terra asks how they found them, GL says it’s a secret.

"It's a secret." GL #65 (Aug. 1995)

They also help free some other prisoners, who explain that their captors, the Progenitors, are a genocidal rampaging race who eat their enemies as they maraud through one universe after another.

Terra argues for the Titans' involvement. GL #65 (Aug. 1995)

Back on the Puddle Jumper, Terra suggests that if the Progenitors are not stopped, they will eventually get to Earth and attack it. Just as they’re about to decide to go after the Progenitors, Minion reenters the Puddle Jumper, announcing they are all after him.

Side note: at the site, Supergirl Maid of Might, there is an interesting explanation about Matrix Supergirl as a duplicate version of Supergirl who was ‘not-the-original-character.’ This treatment was similar to DC’s stubborn denial of any connection between Terra 1 and 2. It also resembled Wolfman’s and Perez’s original condemnation of Terra 1 in order to build up male characters around her. Although the Judas Contract occurred before Crisis on Infinite Earths, in terms of the employment of a female character, we could almost take the JC to be a prologue for the COIE. Fans of Terra will see some editorial and writers’ parallels in the following summary of Matrix Supergirl’s career:

In 1985 DC killed off Supergirl in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7. They had decided to return Superman’s status as the sole survivor of Krypton. So important was this to them that it was decreed, at the conclusion of Crisis on Infinite Earths and later in the Superman reboot (Superman: Man of Steel 1-6 by John Byrne), that not only was Supergirl dead, but she had never existed in the new timeline. An insult to a great hero? You bet. And more than a little misogynistic. The Post-Crisis revamping of the DC universe was a period of great backlash against female superheroes, and many were killed off, depowered, or had their origins radically altered to distance them from DC’s male superheroes. DC would slowly reintroduce familiar elements of the Superman story in new forms, including a Superboy who was a clone of Superman and played a major role in the 1992-1993 Death and Return of Superman. But they showed extreme reluctance to reintroduce Supergirl in any form that might challenge Superman’s supremacy.

In 1988, scarely three years after Kara-El’s death and wiping from existence, DC published a story called the Supergirl Saga which introduced a character who looked like and was called Supergirl, but was in fact a clone of another dimension’s Lana Lang, given very different superpowers and completely unrelated to Kal-El or Krypton. This character became known as Matrix for her protoplasmic origins. Readers eagerly took Matrix to be the new Supergirl. DC resisted. In the Adventures of Superman #457 letter column, editor Mike Carlin insisted in response to two readers’ letters that, in fact, Matrix was not the new Supergirl, and they did not even wish to call her Supergirl. Whaa? During the “Superman in Exile” storyarc, the shapeshifting Matrix took on the role of Clark Kent to protect the Kents, and was written out at the conclusion of that storyline.

DC’s approach to the character evidently changed, because three years later Matrix would return in “Panic in the Sky” and take on the mantle of Supergirl for good. Unfortunately this promising turn of events was followed by an unpleasant Supergirl-Lex Luthor storyline in which Supergirl became a member of “Team Luthor” and essentially became Luthor’s kept woman, constantly referred to as “Lexcorp’s Supergirl” in her few, brief appearances during an otherwise interesting storyline (the Death and Return of Superman). The scenes with Luthor were exploitive and Supergirl’s behavior awkwardly out of character in a heavy-handed attempt to portray her as a foolish victim of a manipulative relationship. The end to this distasteful storyline came in the 1994 SUPERGIRL miniseries; following it Supergirl became a member of the New Titans until 1995. Her appearances in that series are unremarkable. A new level of depth for Supergirl emerged in SHOWCASE ’96 #8 (Sept 1996), written by Peter David as a prelude to the fourth series which debuted that same month.

Matrix Supergirl was a fairly one-dimensional character who only became a character in her own right when she was merged with the human Linda Danvers, gaining a secret identity and becoming a lot more like the Supergirl one would expect: humanized, heroic, and with powers portrayed simply as super, not different or inferior to Superman’s. Prior to Peter David’s series, writers tended to define her in relation to male characters, primarily Superman and Lex Luthor. The potential for a real, living super woman was always there; it was just not recognized by male writers who were content to quickly sketch in the outline of a (purportedly heroic) woman before getting back to their real business of telling male heroes’ stories.”

Matrix Supergirl was also presented as being inherently deceptive with regard to her identity and appearance, morally wayward, powerful yet too easily swayed to the Dark Side, until she found a third incarnation (a combination of Linda Danvers and Matrix – just as Terra 3 is a combination of the original Tara Markov’s DNA and Atlee (an alien hybrid)). Yet that third incarnation of Supergirl, established in 1996, was retired in 2003 as soon as the character achieved any substance. During Infinite Crisis the Matrix Supergirl/Linda Danvers version of Supergirl (that is, Supergirl 3) was wiped from existence. Moreover, under DC mandates her writer retained a core uncertainty about her identity, and she became a confusing amalgam of different source identities. After all this, Supergirl 4 returned the character back to her original form – to Kara.

In some respects, SG's history strongly resembles Terra’s trajectory as a character. This seems to be DC’s tried-and-not-so-true four-season formula when it comes to dealing with troublesome (read: powerful and complex) female characters. Terra 1’s eternal corruption and condemnation were a set up in order to build up five male characters; this was followed by Terra 2, a duplicate whose actions were divorced from the original character in order to further weaken the ultimate power and identity of the character. This treatment, compounded by the creation of Terra 3 (an even more naive, young and superficial character) alongside the renewed damning of Terra 1 during Blackest Night, shows a close match between Terra’s development and the core development of Supergirl. Although there are of course superficial variations, this apparently standardized, larger pattern in the treatment of female characters is a troubling indictment for DC.

The Siege of the Zi Charam.
Darkstars #34 (September 1995) [The Siege of the Zi Charam, Part 3]: “Strangers in a Strange Land”
The Titans try attacking the Progenitors’ ships without success. The alien prisoners they helped free advise them to get as far from the Progenitors as possible. The Titans and Darkstar (Donna Troy) descend to the surface of Zi Charam’s lead planet, and offer their services to the Council of the besieged galaxy of Zi Charam against the Progenitors. The Council asks the Titans to obtain ingredients for a weapon against the Progenitors, to which Roy agrees. He splits the team into twos to get each of the bio-weapon components. Donna and Terra go to the planet Pyrva. On Pyrva, a local points out an indigenous beast (an Etraka) they have to capture. Terra tries and fails. Donna realizes Terra has not yet learned to stop being overconfident. Then Donna tries and fails. They cooperate and succeed. Story continued from GREEN LANTERN (DC, 1990 series) #65 and story continues in DAMAGE (DC, 1994 series) #16.

The Siege of the Zi Charam.
Damage #16 (September 1995) [The Siege of the Zi Charam, Part 4]: “The Elements of Power”
Damage and GL have been sent to the planet Mandara-Kai to get the ingredients of a weapon against the Progenitors. Damage finds new freedom fighting battles in space, while back on earth a bounty is placed on his head. With the help of a local alien whom Damage befriends, Grant and Green Lantern fulfil their mission. Terra 2 appears only in a cameo at the end of the issue, where the team regroups on the lead planet of Zi Charam with all components of the bio-weapon.

Terra and Damage. NT #125 (Sept. 1995)

The Siege of the Zi Charam.
-New Titans #125 (September 1995) [The Siege of the Zi Charam, Part 5]: "Xenocide"
The Titans get caught up in a battle between a marauding race of aliens, the Progenitors and the people of Zi Charam – their intended victims. The Titans discover that their missions involve obtaining ingredients for a weapon that will allow the Progenitors’ victims, the peoples of Zi Charam, not just to repel their genocidal enemies, but to inflict a counter-genocide on their attackers. The people of Zi Charam want to infect the Progenitors with a virus which will render them sterile and destroy them. Donna and Roy protest against this ‘xenocide.’ Tara, Damage and Mirage argue that if they don’t stop the maurauders, these same aggressors will soon attack Earth. While arguing, the Progenitors attack and the Titans battle them.

Terra and Damage. NT #125 (Sept. 1995)

Terra displays vastly increased null gravity powers. After a lot of snarky banter with Damage over the past several issues, their romance is briefly on again. She’s knocked out in a space battle, but Damage protects her in the upper orbit of the lead planet of Zi Charam and takes out her targets – the viral missiles that would have obliterated the Progenitor race. When she wakes in Damage’s arms, he tells her she did it. Donna hits on a solution: the virus is harmless to all races except the Progenitors. She infects the attendees at an interstellar meeting with the virus – and they will in turn return home and infect their worlds. If the Progenitors attack any infected world (including Earth, since the Titans are infected), they will catch the virus and die. The Progenitors retreat and the peoples of Zi Charam are safe. Someone who has been mysteriously watching the Titans has the gravity well reappear in the sky above their heads, and the Titans go back home to their own universe. This was only a test. The issue features a schematic of the Titans’ satellite HQ, formerly sent into space by Zandia and commandeered by Checkmate. There’s also a schematic of their Liberty State Park HQ.

Training session. NT #126 (Oct. 1995)

-New Titans #126 (October 1995): "Going Home"
Back on Earth, the Titans engage in war games on the lawn of their HQ. There’s lots of sexual tension between characters. Tara and Rose take on Green Lantern. Mirage displays extended powers and hovers around Roy.

Percolating hormones. NT #126 (Oct. 1995)

Bart hits on Rose and fails. Tara hints at her interest in Damage to Minion. Rose rebuffs Donna’s attempts to mother her. Roy worries about parenting them all. The issue ends at S.T.A.R. labs, where Changeling, still evil and possessed by a Trigon seed, wakes up to cause more trouble.

Changeling revives. NT #126 (Oct. 1995)

Gar wants the Titans but doesn't recognize the current team. NT #127 (Nov. 1995)

-New Titans #127 (November 1995): "A Desperate Search"
In the Vegan system, Kory and her sister almost die in a space battle, but Vic emerges from Technis, saves them and brings them to the Technis ship; he scans Kory and finds there is another entity in her – it’s the last good part of Raven’s soul self. Coming full circle with the end of the series and paralleling the closing arcs before the end of the Judas Contract, Donna and Mirage plan a surprise birthday party for Tara. Roy and Damage get into a fight.

Terra and Damage. NT #127 (Nov. 1995)

Tara kisses Damage to calm him down, but he’s so angry he resigns from the team. Minion also resigns. Mirage collapses and the Titans head to the SF S.T.A.R. labs with her. At the SF branch of S.T.A.R. labs, Changeling runs amok and demands to see the Titans so he can kill them. Gar is knocked unconscious and Roy worries about whether they can cure him of Raven’s evil influence.

Roy worries about Gar. NT #127 (Nov. 1995)

Kory and Vic, now Cyberion, warp through space back to earth to the Titans HQ because the Gordanians, who are attacking Tamaran, are also about to attack earth to find Gar Logan (unknown to the Titans, this is because Raven has forged a pact with the Gordanians and the Psions). Kory and Vic want to recruit the Titans to fight alongside them and they are looking for Gar. Cyberion teleports across the country, appears in SF at the scene, and scoops Gar up. Kory and Blackfire also appear, and Kory tries to cure Gar. But she can’t. Cyberion reveals he was once Cyborg. He declares they have to take Gar to Tamaran to cure him.

House of Markov.
-Outsiders vol. 2 #24 (November 1995): "One Wedding And A Funeral"
Royal wedding: Brion marries Denise Howard. End of Outsiders vol. 2.

S.T.A.R. Labs: Kory channels the good part of Raven to try to help Gar. NT #128 (Dec. 1995)

Kory, possessed by a good part of Raven, tries to heal Gar of Dark Raven's possession, while Tara looks on. NT #128 (Dec. 1995)

-New Titans #128 (December 1995): "Worlds Apart"
The revelations continue. Donna introduces the New Titans on Roy’s team to Cyberion and Kory. They head back to S.T.A.R. labs with Changeling, where Terra is with Miri. Kory channels Raven’s good soul self to try to cure Gar, but again fails, while he rants about killing them all. Kory thinks the Warlords of Okarra will help him. Everyone decides to go back to the Vegan system. Terra stays behind with Miri. Mirage reveals she’s been pregnant all along and concealed it. En route to Vega, Vic recounts how he merged with Technis. New Citadel War: Raven talks to the Psions and promises them the means to ultimate power. At Raven’s instigation, the Psions use the Gordanians to attack and destroy Tamaran. Kory’s and Blackfire’s parents, the king and queen, refuse to evacuate from the planet and are killed when it explodes.

-New Titans #129 (January 1996): "Desperate Measures"
More than three thousand ships bear the only remaining Tamaraneans – half a million of them. Kory and Blackfire mourn on the Technis ship. Kory embraces Tamaran’s lead general, Phy’zzon. They regroup with the Titans and attack the Gordanians. On the Technis ship, Cyberion stays behind and wonders what the Gordanians want with Gar Logan, who is being kept perpetually unconscious. Raven appears in the middle of the battle and disappears with Kory. As a result, Blackfire is captured by the Gordanians. Raven takes Kory to a Psions’ ship, and they say that for their plan to succeed, they also need Gar. She says she knows, and thinks that the Psions need her as much as she needs them. Raven destroys the Technis ship and makes off with Gar. Vic follows. Raven reveals herself. Phy’zzon reveals that he and Kory have been married for three months.

-New Titans #130 (February 1996): "Where Nightmares End!"
Raven terrorizes Kory and hovers over Gar’s unconscious body, plotting to destroy the universe by using them to channel Trigon. She recounts her background - how she got to that point. It’s revealed that the Trigon seed in Kory was the last bit of good in Raven, planted in Kory for safe-keeping; as an alien, she could not be possessed by the Trigon seed. The Titans attack and Raven reclaims the evil bits of her soul from Gar to fight back. Gar is restored and is overjoyed to see Cyberion. Kory and Raven have a huge battle of souls; Kory draws Trigon out of Raven, and the Titans attack him. Raven is freed and reappears in a gold spirit form. Kory rejoins the Tamaraneans to build New Tamaran and Donna and Raven stay to help. Raven says Kory is pregnant with her first child. Gar and Vic leave to travel in space. Back on earth, Terra 2 is shown at S.T.A.R. labs standing next to Mirage: Miri has given birth to a daughter, who may have been fathered by Dick Grayson or Deathwing. The series ends in Gotham, with Dick looking out at the stars and contemplating all the lost and scattered Titans. Wolfman’s run on the Titans ends and the New Titans series ends (1980-1996).

Terra and Mirage with what may be Dick Grayson's baby. NT #130 (Feb. 1996)

-Guy Gardner: Warrior #39 (February 1996): "Merriment, Mistletoe, and Mayhem!"
Warriors, the superhero roadhouse and bar, hosts a Christmas party, and all the heroes are invited. Terra has a cameo.

-Teen Titans #5 1997 (Atom’s 1996 series)
-Teen Titans #13 (Atom’s 1996 series)
-Teen Titans #14 (Atom’s 1996 series)
Terra: Cameo flashbacks.

-Adventures of Superman #557 (May 1998): [17] "The End of the World As We Know It!"
Superboy, JLA, the Titans, the Challengers, Supergirl, Superman Red and Blue team up against the Millennium Giants. Terra has a cameo.

Technis Imperative: Vic’s big meltdown.
-JLA/Titans crossover (1998-1999)
Titans reboot. Gar, fearing Vic’s alien mind and transformation, returns from space. Vic, while no longer self-aware as a human being, begins feeling lonely and also returns from space. As a sentient tech construct, he now attempts to do two things – devour the moon to turn it into his own technis planet – and locate and kidnap every Titan who has ever served and hold them prisoner on the technis planet, so they will keep him company. To keep the captured Titans docile, he feeds them their personal fantasies downloaded from their memories into his memory banks. This activity encapsulates the history of the team in the 1990s, when every character was caught up in dangerous, violent illusions related to family roles and personal histories. Vic doesn’t know who he is, what he’s doing, or why. His consumption of the moon destabilizes the planetary gravitational fields and creates disasters across the earth. The JLA don’t recognize him as a living entity or as Vic. – Only Gar figures out what is going on and helps marshal everyone to resolve the situation.

"Smile and nod." JLA/Titans #3 (Feb. 1999)

-JLA/Titans #1 (December 1998): "One of Ours"
-JLA/Titans #2 (January 1999): "The Generation Gap"
-JLA/Titans #3 (February 1999): "All In the Family"
Issue #1: Vic as Technis kidnaps everyone who has ever served as a Titan, including Terra 2 from Markovia.  Issue #3: In Brazil, Terra has trouble with a falling chunk of Technis construct. She can’t control it with her earth powers and is saved by Wonder Woman, who catches it. Terra thanks her and apologizes for scuffling with her along with the other Titans earlier. Diana: “You honor Gaea herself with your powers. Continue to protect the Earth, and we should have no cause for further argument.” Afterwards everyone goes to Guy Gardner’s watering hole, Warriors. Terra 2 approaches Gar and a recovered Vic at the end of the mini and acknowledges that she’s Terra 1 (having denied this through the whole mini). More precisely, she acknowledges that they think she is Terra 1, “Hey, Guys! Don’t worry, Garfield, I won’t hurt you or anything. ... I hope we can be friends.” Vic has never seen Terra 2. Gar: “Smile and nod. I’ll explain later.” What he says to Vic about his view on Terra 2’s origins is never revealed.  This is the end of a decade of stories, leaving Terra 2 surrounded by questions.

Whatever her origins, the bottom line was that Terra 2 was Terra 1’s good doppelgänger. But was she really a doppelgänger? One year before Terra 2 debuted, the hugely popular cult TV series Twin Peaks opened with striking images of a murdered blonde girl, Laura Palmer.

Mädchen Amick as Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks (1990-1991)

Similar to the themes of the Titans in these years, the show followed the lingering grief of the townspeople who had loved her, hated her, admired her, and tried to help her. Like Terra 1, the show gradually revealed that this beautiful homecoming queen had led a frightening secret double life.

After Laura's death, Mädchen Amick returned as Laura's cousin in Twin Peaks (1990-1991)

A dead Laura then reappeared as her living cousin Maddy (played by the same actress, now with dark hair) and came to stay with Laura’s parents and hang out with Laura’s friends. The show also featured doppelgängers of dead people in its final 1991 season. In the NT series, this happened to Gar when the Technis created an imposter of his dead adopted mother, Rita Farr. When Rita appeared next to Tara 1 alongside with his dead parents, Gar started to lose his grasp on reality. The deceased Titan Kole also reappeared in the Team Titans series. So far, so similar.

The only problem is a doppelgänger is normally an eerie, deathly double of a living person – not a living double of a dead person. (Everyone agrees that Terra 1 was not resurrected somewhere and has been held, alive, all this time to harvest her DNA. – Right?) There were doubles or dark versions of all the original 1980s NTT scattered throughout this 1990s Titans series – but they were all duplicates of living people, that is, the actual living team members. All, that is, except for the imposters around Gar Logan, who (true to his Doom Patrol legacy), was surrounded by death and dead people (except for Dayton, who became Crimelord, although he possibly died in that arc). What would a doppelgänger of a dead person be, exactly? As in Twin Peaks, the scenes in the New Titans got weirder and weirder. Twin Peaks finally revealed that the horrible events that brought about Laura’s death, followed by the extreme grief that enveloped Laura’s town, actually thrust the community temporarily into a surreal, dreamlike world. This was really a mass psychosis brought on by collective mourning, where strange things could happen (like the dead walking the earth) and everyone would accept it for a time as completely normal. Was Terra 2 just Terra 1’s ghost, who rejoined the team for awhile? Was the whole period in which Terra 2 was a member of the Titans’ teams (1991-2007) one big Titans’ ghost story? At one point Terra 2 wondered aloud to Brion if she was really just a ‘figment of someone’s imagination.’

Terra 2’s origin stories and retcons don’t indicate that she was an illusion or a ghost. But at the time clones, body-snatchers, doubles, imposters, and ghosts were very popular, as was evident in 90s TV shows like Aeon Flux, The X-Files and films like The Blair Witch Project or Alien: Resurrection. In narrative terms, a clone or duplicate is a ‘get out of jail free’ card, not just for the writer - but for the characters around the double!  The original Aeon Flux pilot from 1991 (the same year Terra 2 first appeared) and first season on MTV from 1992 featured this chaotic heroine dying repeatedly. She is revived through cloning.

Aeon's clone kisses her original self in "A Last Time for Everything" MTV's Aeon Flux (1995)

In the Aeon Flux story, “A Last Time for Everything,” Aeon’s double serves as an “extraneous” and “expendable” place-filler. But her very existence permits all the characters (especially her love interest, Trevor Goodchild) to do things they would never normally allow themselves to do.  They can break down and cross all the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. This happened with the Titans as well. In the Titans’ case, Terra 2 was a case of ‘having your cake and eating it.’ She allowed the Titans to work with her as a teammate, while keeping the Judas Contract intact as a story. There were enough question marks hanging over her to allow the audience to absorb the possibility that Tara Markov may have had a good side, while simultaneously saying that it was unlikely or impossible.

Patricia Arquette plays a woman and her double in Lost Highway (1997)

Perhaps Terra 2 was really Terra I resurrected and suffering a further mental decline in a psychogenic fugue, just like the protagonist in another Lynch production, the 1997 film Lost Highway.

Mulholland Drive - shades of Terra and Raven (2001) 

Lost Highway – and yet another Lynch film from 2001, Mulholland Driveshowed a blonde woman’s identity radically overlap with that of a girl with black hair, in mind-bending transformations similar to how Terra 2 was later jointly replaced by Terra 3 and Raven.

Pop culture echoes of Gar Logan's love life: Mulholland Drive (2001).

Mulholland Drive also showed the blonde woman being driven to suicide. Yet another Lynch film from 2006, Inland Empire, showed a blonde actress confronting a shadow double life, a hidden mirror world, a movie within a movie, that haunted her up to the moment of her death, acted out with terrifying veracity on a film set. This film appeared the year before Terra 2 was killed off. Both Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire also concerned surreal deceptions, death and strange transformations in Hollywood. In Hollywood, artistic and creative efforts make reality and unreality dangerously identical. This was the main theme of the Beast Boy miniseries (2000) and it is a central theme around Gar generally.

Lynch has an uncanny grasp of the latest version of broken femininity that seems to come all at once from the collective unconscious. The similarity between Terra’s trajectory as a character and Lynch’s successive changing versions of his classic ‘woman in trouble’ likely stems from the fact that in every Titans series, Terra has embodied each decade’s incarnation of the fractured, violated or inverted heroine. Whether Wolfman and later writers picked up on Lynch’s symbolism is debatable, but the Terminus story arc (NT #107) has a telling line: “Tell me if I’m wrong – but doesn’t this sound like some kind of David Lynch movie?”

If Terra was the only duplicated character in the series, any of these explanations might make sense. But all the Titans were doubled in this series, not just Terra. Thus, her doubling does not necessarily originate in problems with her. The usual debates around Tara deal with her morality, her death, regeneration, mind, soul, powers and Deathstroke’s influence. However, because all the other Titans were doubled in the Baxter series, Tara’s duplication may not have to do with her character at all. It’s possible that Terra’s duplication was only part of a larger, unresolved problem with the Titan who is somehow her nemesis – Raven. The year that Terra 1 died – 1984 – was also the year that Raven turned evil and gave in to Trigon. The two events occurred within continuity almost back-to-back. Raven’s fall began in the Terror of Trigon arc in 1984’s new NTT Baxter series. The Terror of Trigon story took place immediately after Gar’s famous meeting with Slade in the diner where they discussed Terra (TotTT #55).

The 1990s came full circle with Raven's dark doubles - this is the original nightmare. NTT #4 (Jan. 1985)

The Baxter series opened in 1984 when Raven made all the Titans face dark doubles of themselves. During Titans Hunt (1990-1992) and the Darkening (1993-1996), Raven returned from the dead and regained her evil form.  As she did so, the dark doubles of the Titans became more and more tangible and real. At first the Titans had conflicts with their doubles; then they literally became their dark doubles. They actually turned into the very nightmares Raven originally planted in their minds way back in 1984, right after Terra’s death. It’s strange that evil characters like Terra and Deathstroke turned good by contrast – but maybe Raven’s mirror reverses the moral attitude of its reflection. Raven’s good powers before she fell to Trigon centred on heart, comfort, healing and regeneration. After she fell, Raven’s evil powers have involved emotional manipulation and enslavement, memory deprivation, deception, illusion, reflection, and transformation. Around Terra and Gar, there are similar ‘flora and fauna’ elemental characterizations that contrast life and death, good and evil, sanity and insanity, creation and destruction, love and sex, and transformation and deception.  The key to the internal struggles of all these characters is their attitude toward freedom.

When Raven turns evil, she forces Donna to battle a dark duplicate at the Statue of Liberty. The Statue is primarily associated with Terra and her ambiguities as a unfree character who can flip others' destinies, changing or freeing up their fates.  NTT #4 (Jan. 1985)

Raven’s extreme breakdown throughout the entire Baxter series (New Teen Titans #1-49; New Titans #50-130) increasingly twisted the team’s perceptions, intermingling fantasy with reality. It’s never clear, however, the degree to which the story arcs of the 1990s were an illusion. The doubles seemed to become more and more real – but were they in fact delusions and mere facets of the characters as each suffered mental breakdowns? This was what the NT Annual #10 implied. Thus, under Raven's sway, did the real Dick Grayson actually have sex with Mirage, then Raven, then rape Mirage, then help Raven seduce and possibly rape Gar, then propose to Kory, then allow Raven to violate Kory on their wedding day? Did the original 1984-85 nightmare that Raven planted in Gar’s mind about cannibalizing people he loved - later lead to him literally commiting cannibalism and eating a Terra look-alike on Raven’s orders? Did Raven’s influence see Dick destroyed as a team leader (after his confrontation with Roy in NT #101, he has never quite returned to the same level of confidence within Titans ranks) – just as her ship with Gar later discredited him as a team leader in the eyes of new, younger Titans? These were aspects of both Dick's and Gar's 1984-85 Terror of Trigon nightmares.  And in both cases, because of Raven's later interactions with Dick and Gar, the nightmares came true.

The Statue of Liberty is surrounded by scaffolding for refurbishments.  But Lady Liberty is literally 'caged.' Raven deprives others of free will by controlling their emotions. This contrasts with Terra's relation to the symbol. NTT #4 (Jan. 1985)

Did Donna inadvertently end up being responsible of the death of Terry and her son in her quest for goddess-like power? That was the essence of her 1984-85 nightmare that Raven created. That scenario seemed to be repeated as she became a goddess bent on killing Chaos – her son. Then her family died while she was away in space. The theme repeated in Blackest Night, when she crushed her baby’s skull. Roy, in his despair at Lian’s funeral, claimed Donna was to blame for her family’s deaths because of her related fixations on power and Kyle Rayner. The dark version of Kory in the original nightmare accused Starfire of killing her parents.  In this case, Raven took on that role (rather than a later twisted version of Starfire) and destroyed Tamaran, helping to kill Kory's mother and father when she allied with the Psions and the Citadel.  There is a strong subtext that Raven held and holds (consciously or unconsciously) the keys to all of these horrors, which began with the good-evil doubling of each NTT Titan. That good-evil split is of course the centre of Raven’s own personality. She projected her own internal tortures on her closest friends, reshaped them in her own image, and forced the devastation in her own mind, soul and life to repeat in their lives.

It’s also not clear how much of a ‘break’ there was between Raven’s arcs for the Titans psychologically. If there was no break between Raven’s arcs, was the whole run from 1984 to 1996 some terrible nightmare? That’s what the final NT title (#130) in Wolfman’s run indicated. With the end of this series, it looks like Wolfman brought the Raven story full circle. The Technis Imperative performed a reboot, showing the team seduced by fake realities generated by Victor (whose own Terror of Trigon nightmare came true as well, when he lost all his humanity), but all the Titans emerged from these illusory worlds and were reset to their classic selves – except for Terra and Raven. If the entire Baxter series had an ongoing 'dream story' created by Raven all the way through, then was Terra 2 simply an illusion Raven created to control Gar?  That was how Terra initially appeared in the Terror of Trigon story. 

It seems unlikely that Raven was the 'prime mover' of the whole Baxter series to such an extreme degree.  If she wasn't the 'prime mover,' but merely a strong influence, does Terra symbolize some contrasting power opposite Raven in the team's history and its psychological dynamic?  Wolfman's repeated use of the Statue of Liberty symbol may provide an answer.  Raven's descent into evil always involves the deprivation of freedom of others.  But Terra's descent involves enabling others to find freedom from their previously fixed destinies - sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes it isn't.  And sometimes with Terra, what appears to be a disaster is actually an even bigger disaster averted - as when the Titans' deaths were prevented by Tara's suicide.  In short, Raven shuts down options by controlling others to the point of possession - which merely passes on Trigon's possession of her.  By contrast, Terra is a 'wild card' character, who opens others' options up to the point of total chaos, insanity and even death.  Raven is about total control - of herself (when good) or of others (when bad).  Terra is about excessive liberty, about lack of control.  (Deathstroke, who is obsessed with controlling himself and others, feared Terra because, "she can't be controlled.")  Like Gar, both display good and evil versions of their character.  And both lack balance between good and evil, while Gar tends to be more stable.  Finally, both female characters fail morally, so their impact on others' freedom still leaves them primarily unfree as individuals.  Terra may have changed Gar's destiny as a Doom Patrol character.  But she did not free herself from her own insanity - or did she?

As for Raven, the nightmares that first appeared in the Terror of Trigon story ominously haven’t stopped. 2000s' stories indicate that Raven's world of illusions that she initiated in 1984-85 still underwrites the team's reality, for current and former members. An unresolved post-Trigon ‘collective team unconsciousness’ runs from the Terror of Trigon right to the present, and the inverted dreams Raven created in the mid-1980s and 1990s have continued right up to 2009. This would explain the undertow in the Titans books. A dark tone, a nightmarish string of deaths, team degeneration and violent gore have dominated the title, especially in frightening 2000s’ miniseries like Terror Titans and Blackest Night. The following decade’s worth of stories in the 2000s – the appearance of Raven’s brothers, the death of Lilith (the only Titan with powers to counter Raven’s in mystical terms), Raven’s troubled ship with Gar, the death of Terra 2, the reappearance of a ‘raven-haired’ Terra, Raven’s strange absence from Blackest Night – only make sense after reading the entire Baxter series from 1984 to 1996 – and watching Raven throughout that series. How that deep, huge, hidden problem with Raven relates to Terra (in all her versions) and what that means for Gar hasn’t yet been shown.




All DC Comics stories, characters and the distinctive likenesses thereof are Trademarks & Copyright © DC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Aeon Flux © MTV.


  1. I've been enjoying this tremendously but thought I'd comment on a couple of things: first, I think Dayton's merging with the Internet owes something to the 1992 film "The Lawnmower Man" in which Pierce Brosnan conducts a "Flowers for Algernon" experiment on a mentally retarded man (Jeff Fahey) using "virtual reality" and it goes completely awry to the point where Fahey's character tries to make himself completely digital so he can control the world and Brosnan tries to stop him by both fighting him in VR and isolating him via a computer virus and blowing up the building he's in.

    Also, I believe Wolfman's said that most of the post-Zero Hour stuff, including Terra's grave being empty and the "she's Terra I" speculation was an editorial mandate and he hated it so much that he quit the title and says he'll never mention that editor's name (I believe it's Pat Garrahy, but I'm not sure) ever again.

  2. Hi Tom, thank you for the comments. I saw Lawnmower Man, but hadn't made the connection to Dayton. I think there were several virtual reality horror movies around that time; the internet was very new.

    As for Wolfman's Fourth Wall pronouncements about Miss Markov versions I and II, yes, I know. I have utmost admiration for his work and his creation and his wonderful work with George Perez. I wouldn't be writing about their work thirty years later if I didn't! But when it comes to Terra, I believe he doth protest too much. I wanted to see if there was anything in Terra's story that was bigger than Wolfman's attempt to seal it off and close the character down. If you accept Wolfman's comments as the final say on the character, and many do, then there is nothing more to say!

    While acknowledging all his perspectives on the matter, I think he and Perez created a character that was much bigger than the Judas Contract. The fact that some writers and editors apparently think this as well shows that I'm not alone in holding that opinion. That said, I would *never* say that the JC should be ham-fistedly retconned or Terra should be restored and/or her story revisited without the character having many, many mountains to climb. I don't think any character, after doing terrible things, having doppelgangers, and otherwise chequered histories, should reappear with an, "I'm baaaack!" I disagree strongly with the way Raven was resurrected after the Darkening, as though nothing had happened. No character should be let off the hook after what she did - murder? Helping destroy Kory's planet? (Hence my avatar name - for me, the destruction of Tamaran and the death of Kory's parents was the moral event horizon for Raven. Raven's a character I always admired, but she was let off lightly by Johns and his successors, and I don't like it. A character should not be allowed to participate in genocide and then come back and be a hero and have a high profile ship - much less a high profile ship with Gar. Consider that Terra's been condemned forever and ever amen for much less, and for much stuff that is not confirmed, such as Tawaba's killing). Same goes for Hawk, Green Lantern, etc. The point is, characters may fall and fail, but DC is not as good at showing them crawl out of the muck. I would be interested in seeing any villain, not just Terra, struggle through a story like that.

  3. Hey ToB. Wow. "Extensive" doesn't even begin to describe your Terra history. I'm impressed. I always found the "I have to betray them...and I don't want to drag you down with 'em!" exchange between Brion and Tara in BATO pretty interesting, considering that's the exact opposite of what she'd actually be thinking (unless she really was being drugged?)

    Also one small correction (which is why I'm posting on this page instead of the last): Sheryl Lee played Laura Palmer on "Twin Peaks," Madchen Amick played Shelly Johnson.

    And if you search for "Terra miniseries brown costume" on Google Images, you'll find a couple of .jpegs featuring the original color scheme for Terra III (two shades of brown, not black and white). I think that's the only bit of Terra trivia you didn't touch upon (unless I missed it...)

  4. Hey kingofawkward, thanks for the correction - of course Laura Palmer was played by Sheryl Lee. It's been quite awhile and for some reason I got the actresses mixed up. I always thought Lee's portrayal of a shattered identity, replicating in Laura's reality was a fascinating exploration of how trauma can make the surreal real. Laura Palmer wasn't even a literal-minded portrait of mental trauma and mental illness so much as the idea that a terrible event can tear apart the fabric of an entire town. The idea that after Laura died, her doppelganger cousin stepped into her place was probably a very accurate depiction about how these nightmares play out.

    All the more reason, then, to see the parallels between Laura's visiting cousin and Terra II - or between Tara and Reya in Solaris. Whatever Marv Wolfman thought he was doing when he fought equating Terra II with Terra I, the story played out in spite of him.

    I wrote this continuity because I was interested in the independent dynamic of the narrative in the Judas Contract. I think Wolfman stumbled on a genuine problem in story-telling and it is a compliment to him to say that he is absolutely wrong when he asserts that the story is all sewn up and that Terra was a dead end, self-explanatory character. The story compels the writers/characters to repeat the scenario until it is somehow resolved.

    Titans continuity bears this out. The writers can't resist the storyline, and it's not just bad story-telling or laziness. I think the Judas Contract part 2 is the greatest Titans story never told. This is why they keep going back to it, without fully getting why: one character has to play Tara's role in the Titans because her story is unfinished.

    The story has repeated ever since, whether with Rose Wilson, or Joe, or Raven, or Cassandra Cain, or Damian Wayne, or Indigo. All of them have elements of Tara's story. Again, the story is unfinished and demands resolution. I believe that no matter what DC does, reboots or no reboots, until they resolve that storyline for Tara Markov, the Titans franchise will be stuck always coming back to the Judas Contract, sooner or later, with Tara or her proxies replaying the story.

    Probably, the writer who came closest to planting seeds for resolving this great story was Mike W. Barr. The answer lies with the Markovs! Also, the themes from the Millennium miniseries are a huge potential platform for Tara Markov's character.

    As for Terra III, unless DC has some big reveal with where they are going with the 'red' and the 'green' in the DCnU, it will be a waste of time and a character who did nothing to resolve Tara Markov's story. I wonder how many decades DC will take blundering around before some great writer finally tells the story about Tara that has to be told: I really thought Krul would do it with Blackest Night Titans. So much promise in that mini, and he failed, whether by lack of vision or due to accepting editorial dictates on the character.

  5. I agree that BN: Titans was a potential way to finally bring closure to Terra's story. The nods to the past ("Don't stand there drooling...") were pretty genius, as was Lilith's commentary ("...even if it's all in Gar's head") was pretty spot-on, too. Strange that the Black Lantern's weren't somehow the real characters - if they were it would make more sense when somebody like J'onn J'onzz laments to himself, "I'm stronger than Superman. Why does everybody forget that?"

    The opening pages of the Blackest Night Outsiders issues were pretty exciting. It was a chance to explore Tara's real background once and for all, but it was just set up for stupid generic action pieces, with horrible horrible art in the second half of the second issue.

    I think Last Will & Testament is the best Terra story and the most amount of closure we're going to get on the topic, even if I believe Deathstroke was bluffing about drugging Tara merely to accentuate Brion's agony. I thought the "So much suffering and pain" narrative box placed over top of (what I presume to be) Terra's final moments of apoplectic rage was quite lovely and poetic.

  6. Although I accepted the outcome of the Judas Contract, several things made me question it: first, above all, the misogynistic story that absolutely everything that went wrong could be hung on one woman's shoulders. I really find that a very suspect resolution for a powerful story. Especially troubling is the fact that Wolfman labeled Tara 'crazy' and then made her a teen suicide as though teen suicide in a teen book was a satisfactory answer to one of the biggest stories he ever wrote. This, after all that stuff about drugs and runaways? NTT was supposedly a socially conscious book. So I don't accept the 'she was just crazy and therefore evil' line. Some people have tried to equate her to the Joker, but too much ambivalence surrounds the character for that to fly.

    Second, Deathstroke is a huge Mary Sue and Terra and her supposed complete evil were just tools toward that end. Terra deserves better than again, being used as a female character to simply prop up a bunch of male characters. Even if you take her as completely evil, she deserves better.

    To me the hidden story was always what happened in the Markovian court, and how Tara left her father's house, and whether she actually went to Africa or not. In all these decades, no writer or artist has ever bothered even depicting Brion's and Gregor's mother, and the depiction of Tara's mother in BN was negligible. It's a huge untold story. For example, is Tara's mother still alive?

    So the Markovs - while LWaT was a great book, I felt that the drugging storyline was tiresome because while it reinserted some ambiguity around Tara (which I obviously feel was needed even if others don't), it also reinserted Deathstroke as the prime mover again. Also, his possible connection with Dr. Jace is a huge untold story. I felt that LWaT was a great comic on its own, but it didn't tell Tara's back story. It didn't give her a voice. In the end, it just toed the line and served Didio's purposes to tell a story about the Markovs and Deathstroke that went nowhere.

    Nor did Blackest Night - and both titles just set Brion up to go crazy like his sister. You must have seen how horribly Didio handled that in Outsiders. It was so hackneyed, boring, obvious. I just want a story that shows her back story, connections to Africa, Deathstroke's connections in Africa to Gar's parents, to Jace; I would even see vague links to the DP, considering that the Chief knew Gar's father. All of this stuff could come full circle in a huge way and make a great, great story. You can tell there is a market for it, since BN: Titans sales were great. Instead we have to go through another reboot.

    On that note, Terra was alive again in Flashpoint. Whether that will bear through in the DCnU remains to be seen. It would be one way around the fact that the editors can't get their mind around this character.

  7. I was already aware of Maid of Might's hostile review of the Matrix Supergirl. I'm dismayed to see it repeated here. I don't agree with it.

    The first thing to observe about MoM's summary is that it (obviously) is nothing like the detailed, in-depth analysis you brought to all 3 Terras and the people affected by them. It is instead, a brief, dismissive, negative opinion. It gets the basic facts right, but always laced with a negative spin on them.

    What I'd like to do is provide you with a more in-depth summary of the Matrix Supergirl. Because I think there are good parallels that could be made here between her and Terra besides one site's negative opinion of the former. Such a summary would be long and take several days to write, so I won't do it unless you're interested.

  8. Hey Anon, I haven't followed Supergirl carefully over the years, so I was really surprised to see her parallels with Terra when I was researching this blog series. I would love to see your other take on Matrix SG and the character in general.