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 3.2 - A Remade Reboot of the Original: Terra in the 2000s

Black Adam kills Terra 2. 52: World War III #3 (June 2007)

2000s Continuity continued

Graduation Day.
In the 2003 Titans/Young Justice Graduation Day arc, DC killed off Donna Troy. In fact, they had just sent her on an inter-dimensional exploration of her identity. While reassuring fans that Donna was alive in other dimensions, the impact on the Titans was huge. DC used the opportunity to do a complete overhaul of the Titans franchise, reflecting deep crises in leadership. DC mashed up one half of the NTT with Young Justice and the other half of the NTT with the Outsiders.

DC inserted Young Justice – third and fourth rank JLA legacy characters – into the Teen Titans team. This team overlapped with other teams led by Gar, including the tail-end of Titans LA (2003-2006), a revived Doom Patrol (2006), and Gar’s 52 crossover Titans teams (2006-2007). Graduation Day ended the attempt to maintain a revived classic Titans’ team based on the founding five members (1999-2003). Dick was shown as torn with grief and disillusioned, but Roy convinced him to found a new team that would have no personal connections. Their work would just be about the job, not about the team as ‘family.’ This was their Outsiders team which dealt with much grittier stories (2003-2007).

-Teen Titans Outsiders Secret Files and Origins (December 2003)
-Teen Titans Vol. 3 #1 (July 2003): “Teen Titans”
-Teen Titans Outsiders Secret Files and Origins (October 2005) [Flashback]
2003: In the aftermath of Donna’s apparent death, the Titans and Young Justice are in deep mourning. Vic, Starfire and Gar establish a new Teen Titans team in San Francisco. They are soon joined by Raven, back from the dead in a younger body. They recruit members of Young Justice – Robin (Tim Drake), Superboy (Conner Kent), Wonder Girl (Cassandra Sandsmark) and Impulse/Kid Flash (Bart Allen) – to mentor them. Founded to prevent young heroes’ deaths, this team ironically later becomes noted for being awash in torture and death, thanks to DC's creative teams.

Betrayal themes dominate 2003-2007 arcs. Teen Titans Outsiders Secret Files and Origins (Oct. 2005)

In these books from 2003 to 2007, Terra 2 does not enjoy any prominence. The main impact of Terra’s character is evident through the revival of Terra 1’s influence on the lives of Slade, Jericho, Dick, Brion and Gar in separate storylines, which have some overlaps. The first character to be haunted by her is Deathstroke, starting with arcs from 1999-2000 that see his early 1990s anti-heroic character setting demolished. One theme that reappears out of the Judas Contract is betrayal, which dogs Jericho and Dick. Slade shows an unhealthy taste for mentoring and drugging young protégés. Brion begins to descend into madness for unknown reasons, as his sister did. And Gar struggles to establish himself as a leader along the model established by Grayson; this model requires the leader have at least one close female supporter. Without Terra as she ideally should have been, Gar cannot clinch his leadership bids. He becomes embroiled with a revived Raven and rapidly loses all credibility.

Deathstroke: Twisted Families and Protégés, 1999-2007.
Slade does not have an easy decade as far as family and mentorship is concerned. Much of what happens comes to haunt him as a result of his original commission of the Judas Contract, indicated by frequent references to Terra 1. He loses his ex-wife Adeline. Raven revives his son Joseph from post Titans Hunt limbo, and Joe declines even more horrifically and catastrophically as team traitor, mirroring the original Terra’s mental decline and death. In a growing pattern, Slade also begins manipulating and drugging a series of young metas and heroes, including Rose Wilson (his own daughter, Ravager), Batgirl, Terra’s brother Brion, and the new Robin.

Immortal Coil.
-Titans #10 (December 1999): "The Immortal Coil, Part One"
-Titans #11 (January 2000): "The Immortal Coil, Part Two"
-Titans #12 (February 2000): "The Immortal Coil, Part Three"
Issue #10: a run-down of Slade’s background and interactions conveniently skips over the Judas Contract and Terra, as often happens when Slade recalls his past. Yet many of Terra 1’s themes are here. Slade asks the Titans for help against Vandal Savage. He casually mentions to Roy that he once slept with Cheshire. Gar: “Get over it, Arsenal. I didn’t stay on his case about Terra.” Damage (Terra 2’s ex): “Uh ... Terra? You mean this old guy was with –” Donna shuts the newer members up. Dick: “Okay, everybody! Let’s not start rehashing every sordid bit of Titans history.” Gar is depicted as very juvenile and still attached to Slade, but Nightwing is still under Slade’s sway as well. These pseudo-father-son roles, wherein Dick and Gar acted as Deathstroke’s replacements for his own sons (Grant and Joe) dissolve in this arc.

Issue #11: Gorilla Grodd slashes Adeline’s throat, just as Joey’s throat was cut, to force Deathstroke to give in. Grodd: “You know what I like about humans, Vandal? You can always count on them to make the same mistakes over and over again.” Issue #12: Another Judas Contract theme reappears – the H.I.V.E. are the Titans’ enemies again. The Titans battle a reconstituted H.I.V.E., then briefly cross sides and cooperate with them against Savage, then cross sides again and battle the H.I.V.E. Slade discovers that Adeline has become queen of the H.I.V.E. Dying, she begs to be put out of her misery, while Slade wants to save her (she is already quasi-immortal). She dies at Starfire’s hands. He vows vengeance for this. Slade to Kory: “You psycho alien butcher!” This arc ends Deathstroke’s 1990s’ anti-heroic period of rapprochement with the Titans and sees him return to a ‘puppet master’ role. The H.I.V.E. retaliate against the Titans for destroying Adeline, their leader. Dick criticizes Kory for killing Adeline – and she lashes out at him, showing that their ‘golden couple’ period as a pillar of the team is over. Dick’s leadership is seriously weakened as a result. In a ‘Catwoman ship’ parallel between Gar-Terra and Roy-Cheshire, Roy abandons the team during the fight (including Donna with whom he was recently involved) to help Cheshire – he later comes back, but he is torn by his love for Jade in a way that resembles how Gar was and is torn by his love for Tara. Deathstroke is left mourning with the remains of Adeline’s body.

Gar, Deathstroke and Terra. TT #3 (Nov. 2003)

Jericho Inside Deathstroke.
-Teen Titans vol. 3 #1/2 (September 2003): "The Ravager"
-Teen Titans vol. 3 #2 (October 2003): "Child's Play"
-Teen Titans vol. 3 #3 (November 2003): "A Kid's Game"
-Teen Titans vol. 3 #4 (December 2003): "Breaking the Rules"
-Teen Titans vol. 3 #5 (January 2004): "Clash of the Teen Titans!"
Issue #1: Rose Wilson is attacked by her uncle, Wade Wilson; the Titans come to her rescue. Wade escapes with Rose his captive. Superboy (another candidate for 'team traitor') gets the ‘red flag’ line that lets readers know that this storyline with Rose parallels with Terra 1’s, Raven’s and Jericho’s previous roles: he compares Rose to other Titans with questionable psychological profiles – Jericho, Raven, Terra and Duela Dent. Meanwhile, Rose awakes in a warehouse where Slade is standing over her. Wade is there, bound and gagged. Deathstroke repeats his intentions of taking on a protégé. It’s a safe bet that he fed the same line to Tara Markov: “I need someone, Rose. I need someone I can trust to be by my side. I need someone – to care for.” Rose as she prepares to murder her uncle with Slade’s sword: “I just want love.” Deathstroke: “Good girl.” Back at the Tower, the Titans meanwhile realize that Deathstroke secretly hired Wade to assassinate Rose’s foster family in order to bring Rose close to him. These evil scenes potentially show what Tara Markov’s involvement with Deathstroke was like.

Issue #2: Jericho, after being physically killed by Slade at the end of Titans Hunt, became incorporeal and hid inside his father’s body; he could not leave because he had no physical body to return to. Deathstroke, possessed by Joseph, kills his mentor Wintergreen and mounts his head on the wall of his chateau, along with the heads of several animals killed on hunting trips. This monstrous act is Jericho’s insane way of torturing his father. Jericho then compels his father to attack the newest incarnation of the Teen Titans, in order to prevent the team from endangering any more young metas. Deathstroke shoots out Bart’s kneecap. Issue #3: Starfire shows Cassie and Conner to the Titans’ Memorial Hall, with statues of fallen Titans, including Terra 1. Raven is raised from the dead in Blood’s church in Arizona. In a battle with Deathstroke, Gar again berates Slade for corrupting Terra 1 while they are fighting. Jericho reveals himself. Thus, two dead Titans who are deeply connected – Raven and Jericho – and who in many ways mirrored Terra’s role on the team, appear back from the dead in the same issue. Issue #4: Jericho makes his survival known to Vic and Gar with trademark reference to the classic Wilsons’ symbol: “They say eyes are a doorway to the soul. No one knows just how true that is. No one but me – and my father. Deathstroke the Terminator.” Back in Arizona, Raven escapes Blood’s minions. Issue #5: Jericho fights the whole team. In the midst of the conflict, Raven (Jericho’s ex) appears in corporeal form for the first time since the Darkening storyline, which ended in 1996. He immediately enters Raven, begging her for help; he becomes trapped inside her and she disappears, sucked back to Blood’s church by Brother Blood’s powers.

Deathstroke muses about Raven and Jericho. TT #7 (Mar. 2004)

Deathstroke and Ravager. Judas Contract and Titans Hunt Themes Combine.
-Teen Titans vol. 3 #7 (March 2004): “Wednesday”
-Teen Titans vol. 3 #8 (April 2004): “Family Lost”
-Teen Titans vol. 3 #9 (May 2004): “First Blood”
-Teen Titans vol. 3 #10 (June 2004): "Raven Rising"
-Teen Titans vol. 3 #11 (July 2004): "Raven Rising"
-Teen Titans vol. 3 #12 (August 2004): "Raven Rising" [Rose’s eye stabbing scene]
-Teen Titans vol. 3 #72 (August 2009): " "Child's Play Part 1: Ring around the Rosie" [Flashback to Rose’s eye stabbing scene]
Deathstroke means to hunt down and kill Raven for corrupting his son in the first place. To this end, he recruits his own daughter, Rose, and drugs her to become his new apprentice. She is Terra’s first replacement in this role; and the drugging theme later dovetails with a retcon that Deathstroke drugged Terra as well. Rose takes on the codename Ravager, succeeding her brother Grant and uncle Wade. But that’s also Terra-related: Grant’s death, his H.I.V.E. contract against the Titans, and Deathstroke’s associated vengeance all were pre-conditions for the Judas Contract. They were the reasons Deathstroke, according to Wintergreen, sought Terra 1 out and hired her.

Beautiful, strong, real.  The only panels where Deathstroke's true private thoughts about Terra 1 have ever been revealed.  TT #7 (March 2004)

Issue #7: Deathstroke mourns at Wintergreen’s grave. In a repeat from the scene that saw him take up Grant’s H.I.V.E. contract against the Titans, which in turn led to him commissioning the Judas Contract, he blames the Titans for all that has happened. He feels that Grant died trying to destroy them and Jericho died trying to be one of them – which included Joe’s disastrous romantic entanglement with Raven. He knows his son is inside Raven, incorporeal. He intends to kill his son a second time and kill Raven in the bargain, partly in vengeance against her, partly to destroy Jericho for forcing him (Slade) to betray his own mentor Wintergreen and murder him, partly to prevent Jericho from running amok anymore. Tellingly, the next panel switches to Gar. This is another sign that the writer, Johns, is dealing with Judas Contract memes. Logan and Vic are searching for Raven and Joe.

Thus, all the tropes that were in effect around Terra 1 are in effect again. Typically in these scenes, a character then mentions or thinks of Terra 1 as a ‘red flag’ to let readers know that this arc relates to her story. The red flag: in a moment of rare candour thinking to himself, Deathstroke reveals his true feelings about Terra 1. Normally, he tells others that she was purely evil and psychotic. Now, he remembers Terra 1 with creepy pride and affection – possibly love? – in a way that shows how deeply Tara penetrated Slade’s gigantic ego. It also shows that her comments at the end of the Judas Contract before she died “thought he loved me” have some credibility. He is preparing to mentor his daughter Rose, who will be Terra 1’s replacement. He confides silently to Wintergreen: “She reminds me so much of her. Beautiful, strong. And willing to do anything to prove herself. I know you never truly approved of that relationship, of Terra. But I assure you Wintergreen – this is for real. As real as that ever was.” Deathstroke drugs Rose, knowing it will make her psychotic – which it does. Under the influence of the drugs, she stabs out her own eye so she can be ‘just like him’ and commits several murders (TT vol. 3 #12, 72).

Rose murdering men at her father's command. TT #8 (Apr. 2004)

Issue #8: Starfire debriefs the YJ novices on Raven. Bart comments that “There’s actually not much written down about Raven. Hardly anything at all.” That means that the Titans don’t keep written records on Raven’s meltdowns. There’s no record on what she does, nor on the terrible things that have happened to the Titans at Raven’s instigation, nor on the scary, horrible things the Titans have all done when Raven turns evil. This resembles the Titans’ attempt to keep Tara’s betrayal a secret after the Judas Contract (the general public still thinks Tara 1 died a hero). This fact once again confirms that the older Titans team has secrets. It’s also possible that Raven selectively wipes their memories during and after her evil episodes. In the Darkening, Gar suffered constantly from memory blackouts. Kory gives the YJ group an impossibly abbreviated, highly sanitized version of what happened during the Darkening. She barely touches on Raven ruining her relationship with Grayson, and does not mention Raven helping to destroy her (Kory’s) planet, Tamaran; nor does she comment on Raven helping kill her (Kory’s) parents. Strangely, Bart was on the Titans team when part of the Darkening occurred (he joined Roy’s squad as Dick’s team crumbled after Raven’s first onslaught, post Titans Hunt), but he doesn’t seem to recall those events. Meanwhile, Deathstroke and Rose muscle their way through Blood’s people, with Rose killing people right and left to try to find Raven. Rose takes on the identity of Ravager. This arc shows how the Jericho-Raven arc is a karmic mirror of the Deathstroke-Terra arc. That symmetry replays for a third time, with Deathstroke playing opposite Rose in Terra’s role. These scenes may be a window on the hidden history of Tara’s early apprenticeship with Slade.

Batman on Raven: "You can't trust her." TT #8 (Apr. 2004)

Issue #9: Deathstroke and Ravager close in on Raven and plan to kill her in order to put Joe out of his misery, since he is inside her. In Blood’s church, Blood bites off and swallows Raven’s chakra (the red gem on her forehead), the ‘third eye’ symbol that lets her focus her powers. As a result, she can only send weird signals – birds flocking at Titans Tower; psychics in San Francisco in the hospital. At the hospital, Gar is possessed by part of Raven’s soul self; as of 2010, we’ve never seen it leave him on panel.

Tim Drake on Raven: "She's betrayed the Titans more times than they like to admit." TT #10 (June 2004)

Issue #10: Raven, trapped in Blood’s church, sends out apocalyptic distress signals so the Titans can find her. She revives her father’s skeleton. The ocean turns red like blood, migrating birds fly to her location (this is the first sign of her expanded control over elemental powers such as water, weather, trees, animals; a second sign is her growing influence over Gar). Gar, possessed by her soul self, continually utters “Raven belongs to Brother Blood.” She begins to twist the YJ team’s emotions, which they don't like very much. Starfire and Cyborg work out that Raven sent Trigon’s skeleton. Kory thinks Raven wouldn’t attack them, because Trigon is dead. Cyborg: “Reborn, purified, Raven still has a dark side. Everyone does.” The Titans piece together that Brother Blood has been murdered and replaced by a successor. Gar leads the team to Blood’s church. As they rush to find her, Tim collects the YJ group behind the old NTT members; he warns them against trusting Raven. He says Raven has betrayed her teammates more times than they will admit, and he and his team need to be ready to take her down. They think he's being overly pessimistic and negative and influenced by Batman.  The Titans burst into the church just as the new Brother Blood, aged 13, is about to marry Raven, who has a brand new body and has been creepily de-aged from about 24 to 16.

Issue #11: Garfield encounters Raven in Blood’s church and they embrace for the first time. Thus, even as Raven’s old history of team betrayal and revival from the dead – both themes seemingly associated with Terra – swirl around her, she latches onto Gar. Past, present and future themes place her opposite and in Terra’s old roles at the same time. The Titans fight their way through Blood’s church. Deathstroke and Rose and the Titans discover that the Church of Blood worships Raven’s father, Trigon. Raven is viewed as Brother Blood’s sister and wife, and their union will pave the way for devastation of the Earth. Raven to Gar: “Sebastian has taught me my fate. I’m going to help end this world.” Raven gathers everyone up inside her soul self, where they encounter Joseph.

Slade: "I wanted someone to be there." TT #12 (Aug. 2004)

Issue #12: Inside Raven’s soul self, Joe, the other Wilsons and the Titans battle each other. Some Judas Contract themes are hinted at: Bart (playing Gar’s old role) tries to get through to Rose (playing Tara’s old role), thinking she must be planning to turn on Slade. Raven expels them all on the grounds outside Blood’s church, and Cyborg traps Jericho with his cybernetic eye as he tries to enter him. He later stores Jericho’s soul in digital format, on a computer disk (210 MB). (Curiously, Jericho’s soul entering a computer dimension resembles what happened to Gar’s father Mento at the end of the Crimelord arc.) Raven regains her chakra with BB’s help; Blood’s people are dispelled; Blood flees; the Titans return to the Tower. Raven: “The world will not end. At least – not today.” Gar sets up a room for Raven and they embrace a second time; their connection soon resembles her earlier attachment to Wally, and his earlier attachment to Tara. It’s probably safe to say that their individual intentions going into this ship relate to these earlier experiences.

Rose's eye gouging scene shows the frenzy with which Slade's apprentices follow him. TT #12 (Aug. 2004)

Back at Deathstroke’s villa, he harshly criticizes Rose for not killing Gar when Jericho was inside Logan. His unremitting disappointment at her not executing her brother is as disturbing as the sense that she’s not living up to Tara’s silent example. Slade: “I thought I could change you. I wanted ... I wanted someone to be there.” We can guess who that ‘someone’ is. In response, Rose cuts out her own eye – to prove that she is just like her father (just as Grant and Terra tried to be just like her father). This repeats the Wilsons’ eye symbolism. But Rose slashes out her left eye – which means she is Deathstroke’s opposite mirror image. This violent scene is later revisited in a flashback in Teen Titans #72, but the scene continues to show Deathstroke injecting his own daughter with a serum that was used on him. This proof that Deathstroke drugs and manipulates his protégés may mean that Tara was just as profoundly controlled and affected by him, and possibly drugged as well.

Flashback to Rose's eye-gouging scene.  Deathstroke has been drugging her.  TT #72 (Aug. 2009)

Titans Hunt Revisted.
-Teen Titans Outsiders Secret Files and Origins (October 2005)
The revival of this arc is an indication of just how deeply convoluted and strange the echoes of the Judas Contract have become. Nightwing makes a poignant comment at the beginning of the issue that reinforces the link between Titans Hunt and the Judas Contract. Titans Hunt was about Slade’s karma for what happened to Terra 1.

In this story, a Titans Hunt-era Wildebeest reappears, reminding readers of its connections to H.I.V.E., Raven, and Jericho. Weirdly Raven has no opinion as Dick and Gar discuss Titans Hunt, even though Titans Hunt ended up being about her and that story was the catalyst for her decline in the 1990s. There’s also a covert link to Blood’s church here, evident when Raven tries (the one and only time she’s ever done this) to apologize for her past affair with and related transgressions toward Dick. Raven: “Blood’s corruption is torturous, but these Titans have saved me yet again.” Dick: “I remember what it’s like to have your body and soul given over to that thing.” Raven: “Perhaps you never accepted my apologies for that, Rich—” But he cuts her off.  This is Raven's only attempt ever to openly acknowledge and apologize for things she's done in the past, which are normally swept under the rug by the Titans.

At first they are sure that Joseph is to blame, but evidence points against it. Joseph has recently been imprisoned on a computer disc by Vic and he and Gar “check it every day.” Dick: “Joey was obsessed with cloning. In building living bodies that could host the souls of the Azarathians here on Earth.” (In fact, the genetic research was Gar’s father’s obsession. Raven or the Azarathians or Trigon – or a combination – co-opted Joseph to use Mento’s tech toward their own purposes.) Gar: “There’s no way to know how many could still be lying dormant.” In this case, the first part of Titans Hunt replays, with Titans being kidnapped and Vic (instead of Joe) temporarily controlled by the Wildebeest programming. Roy and Dick privately speculate on what might happen if Vic is a traitor. The Titans capture the Wildebeest and deliver it to S.T.A.R. labs. It’s supposed to go to Sarah Charles, but instead someone named Mr. Orr takes the beest, and doesn’t inform Sarah: “Tell Dr. Charles nothing. Assign this to project M.” The Wildebeest is housed with another monster: “And forget you ever saw either one of them.” Project M is later revealed in the 2008 Cyborg mini to be a cybernetic super-soldier program based on schematics of Vic Stone’s body. In the end, the story serves as a reminder of Jericho’s past and what a threat he might also be, which he soon becomes.

Shipping: a big part of Nightwing's Titans leadership. Titans vol. 1 #12 (Feb. 2000)

Nightwing’s Outsiders and Mentored Teen Titans, 2003-2007.
-Outsiders vol. 3 #12 (July 2004): “Out With the New, In With the Old”
-Outsiders vol. 3 #14 (September 2004): “Five By Five, Part Two: Strength in Numbers”
-Outsiders vol. 3 #16 (November 2004): “A Change of Plans”

Grumbling in the ranks: problems with Nightwing's leadership of the Outsiders. Outsiders #12 (Jul. 2004)

After Donna’s ‘death,’ Dick works with Roy Harper to start a new version of Batman’s special ops team, the Outsiders. They agree to run this team contrary to the nakama model, and it doesn’t work well. Dick becomes even more detached, driven and erratic, even though Kory leaves the TT and joins the Outsiders to support him. Dick’s team leadership declines noticeably throughout this period while his relationship with Kory disintegrates, proving that shipping is the core factor in Titans-styled leadership.

Outsiders leadership conflicts between Dick and Roy. Outsiders #16 (Nov. 2004)

Dick loses leadership of the Outsiders to Jade. Outsiders #16 (Nov. 2004)

Titans Leadership and Team Traitors.
-Teen Titans Outsiders Secret Files and Origins (October 2005)
Dick’s alienation from Donna’s ‘death’ in 2003 up to her revival in 2005 leads him to react coldly with his former teammates when they cooperate with the Outsiders to take down a Wildebeest. Yet Dick has allowed Indigo, an android who had a role in Donna’s death, onto his team.

Gar questions Dick about his decision to admit Indigo as an Outsider. Teen Titans Outsiders Secret Files and Origins (Oct. 2005)

Gar questions Nightwing’s slow response to a situation in which Kory and Tim Drake (two people Gar figures Grayson should be closest to) are in danger. He also challenges Dick for taking Indigo onto his new team of Outsiders. In response, Dick nastily refers to Terra as proof that Gar is a poor judge of loyalty.  Beneath that, there's the tension because Dick has abandoned the Titans team in a tough period after Donna's death to take over the Outsiders; this is how Gar has stepped closer to becoming a Titans leader (he's now mentoring the younger Titans), but he disagrees with Dick's attitude and the decisions he's making.  The two almost come to blows. Nightwing: “I don’t need Terra’s best friend lecturing me about loyalty.” Gar: “C’mon, let’s go right –” In fact, Gar is right: Indigo will betray the Outsiders in yet another retread of the Judas Contract. Gar is also right to criticize Dick’s icy attitude. The subtext: Gar knows that when Dick slips into cold, distant Batman mode – as he has now – he starts to make mistakes. During the Judas Contract, Dick became similarly withdrawn and harsh; and he approved Terra’s admission to the team without bothering to check her out. Because of this, Dick later suffered a crisis of self-doubt about his leadership during the Judas Contract; and he will undergo that crisis again for having admitted another mole into his new team.  The pattern: on Titans teams, when the leader's ship falters, the leader falters, and traitors infiltrate and undermine the team.  But these betrayal crises also reveal how the Titans' legacy is different from other DCU legacies.

Raven, never far from Terra’s legacy herself, breaks up Dick’s and Gar’s argument. She later remarks: “Richard seems distant, Roy. I sense no love for us. Only something else ... longing perhaps?” As the team proceeds on a rescue mission, Dick curtly orders Gar to get intel at the Wildebeest lair. Gar: “Pool entrance is on the next floor. And you’re welcome. Dick.” Obviously the emphasis is on Dick being a ‘dick.’ After they capture the Wildebeest, Dick leaves without saying good-bye. Kory flies after him and chastises him for his rudeness. Dick: “They’re not my teammates anymore.” Kory: “They noticed.”

Slade contemplates killing Roy and taking Lian on as an apprentice. Outsiders #22 (May 2005)

Deathstroke and the Team Traitor: The Outsiders and the Teen Titans.
Deathstroke impersonates Batman and dupes Roy into setting up the new Outsiders team. Roy gets pantsed.

Slade gloating over Roy. Outsiders #22 (May 2005)

-Outsiders vol. 3 #20 (March 2005): “Back to Normal”
-Outsiders vol. 3 #21 (April 2005): “Silent Partner”
-Outsiders vol. 3 #22 (May 2005): “Deep Throat”
-Outsiders vol. 3 #23 (June 2005): “Lockdown”
A huge rehash of Terra-related themes in the Outsiders and Teen Titans indicate the degree to which the former NTT and their teams are still subject to Deathstroke’s deception and Terra’s legacy of betrayal. Issue #20: Optitron, the funders of the Outsiders turn out to be a subsidiary of Wayne Industries. Dick believes Batman is secretly controlling his team. Issue #21: Roy reveals that Batman has been feeding him intel. Dick confronts Batman in the Batcave and Batman confirms he’s funding his team but says he hasn’t seen Roy in over a year. Without realizing it, the Outsiders have been working as Slade’s special ops squad, not Batman’s special ops squad. Roy meets ‘Batman’ who is really Slade playing dress-up. Roy tells him that he told Kory and Dick that he was getting information from Batman. Slade implicitly recalls Terra: “Well done. I thought you used to be a spy?” In the middle of the conversation, Dick calls Roy and tells him he’s with the real Batman. Deathstroke attacks. Issue #22: Roy gets a taste of Gar’s medicine with Terra. He asks Slade how long he’s been deceiving him. While Deathstroke beats Roy to a pulp, he taunts Roy, saying he will take in Roy’s and Cheshire’s daughter Lian, just as he took in other foundlings like Tara Markov. He says he’ll teach Lian everything she needs to know. Deathstroke defeats Roy, then at the last minute takes pity on him before he kills him, having discovered bullet hole scars in and around Roy’s heart. He leaves.

Straight from Judas Contract annals: another team traitor story. Outsiders #22 (May 2005)

Back at the Outsiders’ HQ, Roy and Indigo discover someone on the team is a traitor – their whole computer and security system is compromised. Thus the ‘team traitor’ arc immediately appears after Deathstroke’s deception. This shows how deeply Deathstroke’s and Terra’s machinations affect the Titans and all their legacy teams. Issue #23: Roy locks down the HQ and screens all the team members to find out who is the mole. Ironically, he feels that Indigo is the only one he can trust. Roy screens the team with security questions. He decides Shift, Metamorpho’s doppelgänger is the traitor: “This is our traitor.” He imprisons him, to Indigo’s distress.

Indigo is the only Outsider Roy trusts.  Of course she's the traitor. Outsiders #22 (May 2005)

-Teen Titans vol. 3 #24 (July 2005): “The Insiders, Part I”
In an Outsiders crossover with the Teen Titans, Terra’s traitor arc gets a retread when Luthor activates Superboy against the team. Luthor's activation code is ‘Aut vincere aut mori’ – ‘Either conquer or die’ – which sounds like Terra’s rationale at the time of her suicide. Conner shaves his head and goes into insane attack mode. Cassie begging Conner echoes Gar formerly begging Tara. In both teams, leadership and betrayal depend on shipping. Tim radios the Outsiders for help, just as they are in the middle of arguing whether Shift is their team traitor. Indigo frees Shift and reveals herself to be under Brainiac’s control - she is Brainiac's granddaughter, Brainiac 8.

More betrayal, this time in TT ranks by Conner Kent, Superboy.  Gar mentions Terra and the Wilsons, while Raven's betrayals are implied as she hovers behind him. TT #25 (Aug. 2005)

-Outsiders vol. 3 #24 (July 2005): “The Insiders, Part II”
Outsiders #24: Thus, the girlish and sweet android Indigo, who was originally responsible for Donna’s death, is revealed as team traitor.

Indigo's transformation. Outsiders #28 (Nov. 2005) [Flashback]

Her benign programs are wiped away and she is reset to kill her friends and teammates. Shift begs her to come back to her true self. Indigo: “The ruse has ended.” In another repeat of the impact of the JC on Gar, Indigo turns to Roy as she suffocates him: “This is the part when you remember ... this is all your fault.” Indigo leaves and the two teams meet. They repeat many lines familiar to these arcs – that the traitors were not really themselves; they were being controlled, etc.

The Titans and Outsiders meet regarding Superboy's and Indigo's simultaneous betrayals co-engineered by Luthor and Brainiac.  The teams echo Gar's pleading words with Tara. Outsiders #24 (Jul. 2005)

-Teen Titans vol. 3 #25 (August 2005): “The Insiders, Part III”
-Outsiders vol. 3 #25 (August 2005): “The Insiders, Part IV”
The Outsiders/TT crossover plants seeds for future troubles. TT #25: Luthor to Superboy: “Brainiac and his descendant can worry about the implications Donna Troy has for their future. My ... son and I will take care of the present.” Robin reveals that half of Superboy’s DNA comes from Lex Luthor, which lines Conner up under Terra’s legacy. Bart points to Raven as someone who falls under yet resists that legacy, and Gar mentions the Wilsons and Terra herself. This rehash shows the powerful, continued influence of Terra’s original storyline. Yet at this moment of crisis, Tim Drake, the YJ leader, asserts the true meaning of the Titans legacy, and how it is different from that of the JLA. He argues for the Titans’ way of doing things to Nightwing, who used to be its primary visionary and defender.

Tim Drake reminding Nightwing about the Titans legacy: he distinguishes the Titans from Batman's approach and from the JLA. TT #25 (Aug. 2005)

Outsiders #25: Indigo had fallen in love with Shift, a fragment of Metamorpho, who had become a separate entity, and acted something like his doppelgänger.

Shift playing Gar, Indigo playing Tara. Outsiders #25 (Aug. 2005)

The love affair between Indigo and Shift resembles the youthful crush initially depicted in the NTT between Gar and Tara. Now, Shift is forced to kill Indigo when she regains control for a moment. This moment mirrors Logan’s final attack on Tara, which led to her suicide (and lends her suicide ambiguity). Betrayal, espionage, external manipulation and doppelgänger themes clearly reflect Tara Markov’s and Gar Logan’s story.

Parallel scenes: Gar holding Tara. ToTT Annual #3 (1984)

Parallel scenes: Shift holding Indigo. Outsiders #28 (Nov. 2005)

-Outsiders vol. 3 #28 (November 2005): “Letting It Go”
The panel where Shift holds Indigo’s body is identical to the scene in which Gar cradled Tara’s body. And the whole fight transpires where Donna apparently died.  When Nightwing sees this scene repeated, he walks away – he has had enough.

Dick sees the scene repeated and immediately resigns. Outsiders #28 (Nov. 2005)

The team retreats privately to absorb what happened with Indigo. Dick tells Kory that he blames himself. Shift and Metamorpho get drunk. Grace and Thunder go drinking at Chaney’s metahuman club in Metropolis; Grace says that betrayals, suicides and deaths always happen on these teams. Tara Markov managed all three.

Grace Choi: "Something like this always happens." Outsiders #28 (Nov. 2005)

-Outsiders vol. 3 #37 (August 2006): “Silver and Grey, Part I: Familiar Faces”
Although Nightwing is shaken by the repeat of the Terra betrayal arc in his own team, he returns to the team and quickly takes her spy meme and begins to use it. He plants Thunder (Black Lightning’s daughter), the team's youngest female member, as a spy in the inner circle of an African potentate, meaning he is now employing some of the tactics Deathstroke used to destroy the NTT against the Outsiders’ targets.  It's hard to tell if this is progress for Dick or not.

Dick borrowing a page from Deathstroke's book. Outsiders #37 (Aug. 2006)

-Outsiders vol. 3 #49 (September 2007): “Check Out, Conclusion”
Dick admits to Batman that he doesn’t like impersonally running the Outsiders. He steps back and lets Batman take over.

Because Dick is a Titan, his non-nakama team failed. He leaves the Outsiders to Batman and returns to the Titans. Outsiders #49 (Sept. 2007)

Terra 2 on Gar’s Teams, 2003-2007.
By 2003-2007, Terra 2 is relegated to the background and is clearly on DC’s ‘kill’ list. She gets almost no lines, her story is not pursued anywhere, and Johns pairs Gar up with Raven. Thus, while she fights alongside Gar and on his teams, he takes no notice of her. Her last main arc dates from 2000. This enforced silence around Terra for several years distances the character from new fans, and makes it easier for DC to kill her off.

Back from the dead: Jason Todd trashes the Memorial Hall, with Tara Markov's statue behind him. TT #29 (Dec. 2005)

Gar as Leader.
-Teen Titans vol. 3 #29 (December 2005): "Life and Death"
The door between life and death has cracked open. Vic leaves Gar in charge of the TT when he goes to help Donna (who has returned).  Unfortunately for Gar, his main stint as a leader falls under two big crossover events: Infinite Crisis and 52.  Under his tenure as leader (because if falls under crossovers which are notorious for editorial mandates to kill off characters), several Titans die, including Terra 2, Bushido, Young Frankenstein, Superboy, Pantha, and Baby Wildebeest.  If it weren't for editorial decisions that create skewed story-telling conditions that have nothing to do with the continuity of the titles they affect, this would stand as the most abysmal Titans leadership run ever.  While Gar's failure can be blamed on Fourth Wall interference, the in-story facts still cast a pall over the character.  In addition to this, true to Titans' leadership patterns, Gar's authority is also curiously weakened, then later fully undermined, by his relationship with Raven.  The one good thing that comes out of this is that ironically, this swath of death surrounds Gar just as the original Doom Patrol is fully restored to DCU continuity for the first time since 1968.

Gar takes over as TT leader. TT #29 (Dec. 2005)

The Titans are attacked by dead teammates, although Terra 1 does not appear. Jason Todd invades Titans Tower and defaces the Memorial Hall because he received no statue; Terra 1’s statue is in the background.

Dreams of death and a dead Doom Patrol. TT #29 (Dec. 2005)

Gar and Raven talk about death as they clean up the Memorial Hall; over the next couple of issues they share a kiss (Issue #30) and their ship is ramped up. Gar, who was wiped from DP continuity in Byrne's DP run,  thinks he remembers the Doom Patrol. An undead Lilith appears as Brother Blood’s Mother Mayhem.

Gar seeks out the DP as they were prior to the big retcon.  They don't know each other. TT #32 (Mar. 2006)

Doom Patrol Legacy and Infinite Crisis.
-Teen Titans vol. 3 #32 (March 2006): "Doom's Day"
-Teen Titans vol. 3 #33 (April 2006): "The Brave and the Bold"

Fortunately for Gar, the Chief has no problem considering DCU retcon madness. TT #32 (Mar. 2006)

John Byrne's reboot of the Doom Patrol (vol. 4, 2004-2006) erased all of the DP's previous continuity, including Gar's ties to the team.  After the series ended in January 2006, DC used the Infinite Crisis crossover to integrate all of the DP's previous series together, establishing everything that had happened in each series as part of DP continuity.  The way DC did this was by having Superboy Prime punch the walls of reality and retcon the DP so that Rita Farr and Larry Trainor were alive and the Chief was restored to his original body.

Gar's dream of the DP's original continuity, of which he was part. TT #32 (Mar. 2006)

Issue #32: Gar encounters a revived Doom Patrol, based in Florida. Because of the tinkering with DP continuity, they don’t recognize each other, but have dreamed of each other; and Gar has sought the DP out because of this. Niles introduces Gar as the leader of the Teen Titans.

Gar leading the charge against Superboy Prime. Terra 2 is by Rita's right fist. TT #32 (Mar. 2006)

The DP joins Gar in a battle against Superboy Prime. Terra 2 is one of the many Titans who help Conner Kent battle Superboy Prime; she fights alongside Gar’s LA team and several 90s Titans. However, she is only shown in cameo shots.

Terra 2 in Infinite Crisis. TT #32 (Mar. 2006)

In this issue, Superboy Prime’s famous punch merges DCU’s continuity and brings all DP stories into one single alignment. Gar is radically affected as all storylines and dimensions of DP history merge together.

Superboy Prime's famous punch that merges all Doom Patrol continuities together affects Gar first. TT #32 (Mar. 2006)

The effect of a single retcon on Gar as a character as DP continuities metafictionally realign. TT #32 (Mar. 2006)

Gar and Rita remember each other.  Chief: "It's all mega-scientifically sound." TT #32 (Mar. 2006)

Issue #33: Nightwing comes in contact with a crystal that feeds off of and projects his emotional energies. Terra 1 figures prominently in events that affected him emotionally.

As Dick tells Conner that he's not doomed to betray the Titans, a crystal shows Nightwing is haunted by Tara's, Raven's and Jericho's betrayals. TT #33 (Apr. 2006)

Conner realizes that they’ve reached a turning point, where they turn toward the Titans Tomorrow arc (which involves Terra 2 and 3), ten years in the future when they become evil (this is an inverted repeat of the Team Titans arc). Dick discounts this, saying he’s seen his share of time travellers and people have always said he would turn into Batman – but he became Nightwing instead and forged his own path: “The future isn’t written in stone.” At this moment Conner looks in the crystal, and sees Bette Kane’s gravestone next to Dick’s. And of course, Dick later becomes Batman.

Pantha and Baby Wildebeest die: Gar's Titans LA lineup attacking Superboy Prime. TT #32 (Mar. 2006)

-Teen Titans Annual #1 (2006): “Love and War”
-Infinite Crisis #4 (March 2006): "Homecoming"
-Infinite Crisis #5 (April 2006): "Faith"
Tara and Gar are lying unconscious near Rita Farr's left knee.  TT Annual #1 (2006)

In the TT Annual that crosses over with Infinite Crisis, there is one cameo of Terra 2. But Gar is focussed on the revival of the Doom Patrol and his ship with Raven. He almost introduces Raven to the revived Doom Patrol but she is preoccupied with emotional ‘feeds’ she is picking up. 

Gar's assembled Titans (including Terra 2) and Doom Patrollers in Infinite Crisis #4 (Mar. 2006)

As the Infinite Crisis fight continues, several Titans die on Gar's watch, including Superboy (Conner Kent), Bushido (a member of Gar's Titans LA team), and Pantha and Baby Wildebeest (both formerly part of the post-Titans-Hunt lineup).  At least Gar is confirmed repeatedly as a battle leader - not just an emotional team mentor.

Terra 2 fighting alongside Geo-Force. Note he has already reverted to his original costume that resembled Terra 1's design by this point, signalling his emotional return to her and his mental decline. Infinite Crisis #5 (Apr. 2006) 

Terra 2’s death: 52.
-World War III #2 (June 2007): "The Valiant"
-World War III #3 (June 2007): "Hell Is for Heroes"
-World War III #4 (June 2007): "United We Stand"
The series 52 immediately followed Infinite Crisis, and the deaths on Gar's Titans teams continued.  Over twenty members passed through Gar's Titans rosters, so his teams were notoriously unstable.  In 52, editorial dictates claimed Terra 2 and Young Frankenstein.  There was no sign remaining of the original shipping or emotional and sexual tension between Gar and Tara 2, presumably because of DC's neglect of Tara 2.  Tara 2 by this point had not had any focussed panels or extended story devoted to her for seven years.  As a result, Terra 2 never answered the question of why or how she reappeared as Terra 1's doppelgänger.  What Terra's doppelgänger's apparance meant to Gar Logan has never been depicted because his emotional response to her was cut short by Raven's Darkening arc in the mid-1990s.  And it was overshadowed again in these crossovers by the writers dubiously placing him in a relationship with Raven.

Gar as Titans leader: one of Gar's 52 Titans teams encounters the new Infinity Inc. 52 #21 (Sept. 2006)

There is a Fourth Wall explanation for these developments. The series that would have answered these questions, Titans LA, was not greenlit. Because DC never devoted a full set of real stories to Gar's team, the characters slated to appear there were basically considered expendable. All that remained for DC was blowing what remained of the Titans LA team (which still existed inside the DCU) out of the water. These various Fourth Wall tricks and ploys have almost derailed Gar Logan as a character, while obliterating Tara Markov. DC apparently does this mainly to bring back other characters who have been 'out to pasture' (i.e. dead) for awhile, while expanding the profiles of newer characters that are more familiar to younger fans. Most of the characters killed off in these crossover arcs were introduced between 1990 and 2000 and had not been used for some time. Therefore, while fans see these crises as carnage-ridden panoramas with almost no worthy character developments, DC seemingly sees successive crises as opportunities for general housekeeping in DCU's overall continuity. Terra 2 died in World War III, a Black-Adam-runs-amok miniseries that was part of the 52 crossover, which seemed especially devoted to housekeeping!

One of Gar's teams during 52 (Zachary Zatara not shown). World War III #2 (June 2007)

The team endures two casualties before Terra's death: Gar's leadership falters with Raven backing him. World War III #3 (June 2007)

World War III #3: Terra 2 dies fighting Black Adam while on Gar’s Titans team. Black Adam punches out her heart. The battle is a mess and Gar, backed by Raven, appears distracted and useless. Terra is not the only death or casualty.

Terra's death and seeming weaknesses in Gar's leadership. World War III #4 (June 2007)

World War III #4: BB later meets Geo-Force and he apologizes: “Can’t help but blame myself, Geo-Force.” But Brion assures Logan that only one man (Black Adam) was responsible, and he refers to Terra 2 as his sister.  This means that he thinks of Terra 1 and 2 as the same person.  Brion: “Only one person is responsible for my sister’s death, Logan. It is not you.”

Mass funerals at Valhalla Cemetery: Rose doesn't recall being Terra 2's teammate? 52 Week 51 (Apr. 2007)

Possible suggestion that Terra 1 and 2 were the same.
-52 #51 (April 25, 2007): “Homecoming”
Mass funerals are held at Valhalla Cemetery in Metropolis and Terra 2 is buried, although her funeral and gravestone are not shown.  Terra 1’s statue appears in the Memorial Hall in the SF Titans Tower in several issues of the Teen Titans (vol. 3). No similar tribute is raised to Terra 2 in the Memorial Hall upon her death, nor (which would be reasonable) do the Titans replace Terra 1’s statue with Terra 2’s. It is not even confirmed if Gar attends her funeral. On the day of the funeral, Ravager tells Tim Drake she barely knew Terra. Drake tells her to find out. That doesn’t make sense, since Terra 2 and Ravager worked together on Roy’s Titans team in the 1990s, but it’s part of DC’s strange erasure of Terra 2 from 2000 onward.

Mass funerals at Valhalla Cemetery: Tim Drake on Terra 2's contribution to Titans history. 52 Week 51 (Apr. 2007)

Note on Terra 2’s death.
Since Terra 2’s death, there’s been growing obscurity around her. The 2009 Terra miniseries retcon asserts that there is no continuity between the three separate people who have borne Terra’s mask and powers. Terra 2 was a Stratan, just like Atlee, but Terra 2 was mistakenly made to look like her predecessor. Three Terras, bad-good-better: it’s simple.

But many plots from 1991 to 2010 hinted that Terra 1 and 2 were the same person due to suicide, followed by earthly resurrection, insanity, split personality, amnesia, denial, time travel with the Time Trapper, or whatever. Prior to the 2009 retcon, that would mean that the original Tara Markov’s story ended in 2007 not 1984. For fans who intensely dislike Terra, that’s mind-bendingly awful, inconceivable, and plain wrong. However, it’s possible. If true, then the accepted picture of the character and her powers should change.

After Terra 2's death, Gar distances himself from Raven and they soon break up.  He quits as Titans leader and rejoins the Doom Patrol. TT #47 (Jul. 2007)

The only indication of the effect Terra 2's death on Gar is his apology to Brion and his abrupt distance from Raven.  Terra 2's death - which occurred while Gar was trying to lead, but appeared weirdly distracted by Raven's presence - appears to shake Gar loose from Raven's sway.  Given Raven's violent and terrifying history with Joseph, Dick and Gar - as well as Frances Kane and Koriand'r (Raven's sometime romantic rivals) - in the 1990s, there are cryptic hints that all is not well with her.  It may be that Gar's withdrawal here after such a disastrous turn at leadership indicates his suspicions that she may have influenced him emotionally.  She may even have undermined his leadership during Infinite Crisis and 52.  This was something she did to Dick in NT #100; his encounter with Raven in her dark form was quickly followed by Roy's successfuly challenge for leadership of the team.  That ugly episode was the first time Dick ever was stepped down as Titans leader; and his sureness of touch in leadership matters has suffered ever since. What the precise meaning of Raven's relations with Titans men is - and whether there is a connection to these past events or not - Gar relinquishes leadership of the Teen Titans to Tim Drake, who reappears at the end of 52 to take over.  Gar leaves the United States and rejoins the Doom Patrol.  The next time readers see him, he's in Prague at Dayton's castle DP HQ.  And while things are not better in that team, he looks much healthier mentally, much less plagued by self-doubt, indecision and lack of confidence.  When he returns to the Titans and into Raven's proximity all of these problems return and escalate, as do his demands for her love.  By 2010, this neediness has so skewed his behaviour that he obviously is under the influence of someone or something, whether it's Raven, Mento, Caulder, his powers changing - or something else. 

In 2009, he appears to be briefly shocked out of Raven's sway by Black Lantern Terra.  BL Terra accuses him of being a "lovesick puppy dog."  But does that taunt apply to her - or to Gar's entanglement with Raven?  While he viciously fights BL Terra, he still acknowledges his eternal love for Terra, while later backtracking on that.  The next time readers see Gar with Raven (Titans vol. 2 #17), she is openly hostile to him.  And in that issue, his feelings for Terra are revealed to be still very close to the surface.  In the past, Raven has not been subliminally graceful about dealing with romantic rivals and rejection.  She rarely does anything obvious, unless she is in her dark form.  But soon after Titans #17, she joins Logan as he makes another bid to lead the TT; theoretically, she's there to support him.  But because of his overwhelming attachment to her, the team rejects his leadership.  He is badly weakened and marginalized by this, although Raven never appears to have done anything directly.  In fact, she breaks up with him and rejects him through this period, while sometimes quietly encouraging their ship, which only fuels Gar's crippling romantic fire.  This pattern in Gar's characterization shows that his attachment to Terra is not the source of weakness it appears to be - and that Terra 2's death may have a shocking and bracing influence on him.  Perhaps Logan's feelings for Terra 2 after she dies clear the emotional fog in which he is struggling.  The sliver of a possibility that Terra 2 was Terra 1 makes this hidden emotional drama even more unnerving.  Terra's death on Gar's watch makes him see that something has gone very wrong and he clears out.  He also has a good reason, in that the Doom Patrol has revived.  Dick and Wally have also bolted for the door before and since with regard to concealed, Raven-related problems.

As far as Brion is concerned, several outcomes after Terra 2’s death suggest some tie between Terra 1 and 2. There is a confusing overlap of about six months of issues from January-June 2007, in which it appears that Terra 2 is still alive when Terra 3 is called up. But in terms of DCU continuity, Terra 2 dies – then Brion begins to fully wield his sister’s powers; after that Deathstroke approaches GF to act as a spy in the JLA; then Last Will and Testament takes place; and finally GF meets Terra 3, Atlee.

Brion delays his revenge against Deathstroke for what happened to Terra 1 - until after Terra 2's death. Although Brion doesn’t mention Terra 2 in Last Will and Testament, the timing of this arc makes sense if he believed that Terra 1 and 2 were the same person (Gar’s revenge issue dates from 1985, right after Terra 1's death and prior to Terra 2’s appearance so the same confusion does not exist around him). After Last Will and Testament, only one Black Lantern Terra rises and attacks Gar and Brion in 2009-2010 issues. If Terra 1 and 2 were the same person, then BL Terra might have channelled them both. It's a mashed up mess.  But at the very least, Terra 2’s death is a catalyst for Brion’s manifestation of his sister's powers and his delayed revenge against Deathstroke – both of which relate to Terra 1.




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1 comment:

  1. The complicated plots and fucked up characters and their dumb relationships... are why the comics suck. Their all best as mostly stable people they are in the animated series and movies.