Two of the big talked about stories from the recent 2018 San Diego Comic-Con came from DC Comics. There was more news about the DC Universe, the new DC streaming service and an official preview of the original program that it will be showing, The Titans.
To me, the first and most important fact that I was waiting for was the price. Let’s face it, right now some people have two or three streaming services and are reluctant to pay for yet another. It’s rare that I find people who watch regular TV on a daily. Almost everyone has Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or some other streaming service. I was happily surprised to find that DC Universe is quite affordable and cheaper than the other services. $74.99 will get you a 12-month subscription with 3 months free. At this time that is the only subscription, you can pre-order on the service. In the fall, the option of having a monthly subscription costing $7.99 will be available. The pre-order option does give you a 20 percent discount.
The what you need to know facts are simple and what was expected. Before you get too excited just yet the one vital piece of information we don’t have yet is when this service will start streaming its content. DC Universe will feature comic book news and forums for fans to enjoy. They will have an entire catalog of the Warner Bros movies. The hits like Donner’s Superman movies, both Batman trilogies, Wonder Woman and the Watchman and the duds like Green Lantern, Steel, and Supergirl. It will feature past TV shows like the Linda Carter Wonder Woman, the 90’s Flash, Batman Animated Adventures, Lois and Clark, and both Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.
I think I will be looking for the old Super Friends cartoon, those are classic. What you won’t see is any CW Arrow–verse shows because of the Netflix obligations. There will be access to digital comics on the streaming service from past to recent books; golden age to New 52. To compete with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, DC Universe will feature its own original shows. In 2019, the much-awaited fan favorite Young Justice will return for a third season out of limbo from its cancellation a few years ago from network TV. In development to come to the streaming service will be a James Wan live-action Swamp Thing, an adult-oriented Harley Quinn animated series, a live-action Star Girl series, a live-action Doom Patrol that will spin off from the live action Titans series.
The Titans are the original series that is presumed to start later in 2018 which had a trailer debut during the San Diego Comic Con. But before we talk about this trailer, let’s talk about the source material: The Teen Titans. The Teen Titans first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #54 in July 1964 and its membership consisted of Robin, Dick Grayson, Kid Flash, Wally West and Aqualad. After the addition of Wonder Girl, a few more Brave and Bold appearances and an appearance in Showcase #59, the Teen Titans get their own title. In that title, the team grew to include Green Arrow sidekick, Speedy, Aqualad’s girlfriend, Aquagirl, Mal Duncan, the psychic Lilith Clay, Hawk and Dove, time-displaced caveman Gnarrk and a onetime appearance of Doom Patrol’s Beast Boy.
This Teen Titans focused on stories that would appeal to the youth about current events going on at that time. The 60’s volumes would cancel to be revived in the 70’s introducing members such as Bat-Girl Betty Kane, Bumblebee, the Golden Eagle and Joker’s Daughter. The series would this time end because the young heroes determined they were too old to continue to be Teen Titans. The 80’s would bring a reunion of the Teen Titans brought together original members Robin, Kid Flash, and Wonder Girl, finally adding Beat Boy as Changeling and introducing Raven, Cyborg, and Starfire. This version of the team is the most well-known and introduced the infamous mercenary Deathstroke the Terminator, his son Jericho, and his undercover ally Terra.
This team is where Dick Grayson would shun his Robin identity and become Nightwing. This is the series that gave us the Judas Contract storyline. Yes, this series canceled and other versions of Teen Titans and Titans came after and even carry on in current issues now, but the classics are where being all comes from. Great stories about teens and young adults becoming heroes. Stories about love and relationships. Stories about a team that was just more than just heroes joining together but stories of friends and family. People who were there for each other through everything. Other teams in the DC Comic Universe were together for necessity, to save the world. Some were dark and some were unconnected outside of there hero jobs. The Titans, however, were always a team in the light and connected like no other team in every version there has been.
Cut to the San Diego Comic-con and the first official Titans trailer for the DC Universe streaming service. The first look at the much-anticipated Titans series takes a turn for the dark. Here’s what we get from the trailer. A much older looking Dick Grayson who brutally beats the crap out of a gang of thugs using one of their guns, which is normally a bat family no-no unless you’re Red Hood, and ends the fight with a “f *** Batman”. A young Raven about maybe 15 who looks like a very modern emo anguish kid with problems and purple highlights. A Starfire that shoots actual fire and not the energy bolts that we know from the comics dressed like a cheap hooker. We get quick glances of Beast Boy and Hawk and Dove.
The main problem with this trailer is that it looks so damn dark. This has been a main problem with the DC Cinematic Universe. Someone in the front office told the showrunners that the audience wants everything too realistic and dark which is why we got movies like Superman vs Batman and Justice League that nowhere near represents the characters we have loved for decades. This ragtag band of Titans seems to be in a dark world and a dark place. This is just the trailer, but unless we get more trailers and this trailer did not show enough, this looks a mess. A dark mess which is not what the Titans is about.
As a big Batman family fan, the whole “f*** Batman” and Robin using a gun is totally out of character. Dick Grayson Robin is the first partner of Batman and is as close to thinking like Bruce Wayne than any other Robin. Batman does not use guns and Batman does not purposely kill therefore the person he trained would not do so either. You don’t have to change what makes a character to make him more realistic and up to date and why would you disrespect Batman to do it. This series also seems to be focused around this emo Raven. Raven is an empath daughter of a demon from another dimension but she’s not emo.
Her first appearance in the 80’s was centered around her getting the Titans back together to help fight her father Trigon and maybe that is the storyline they are trying to follow, but it was such a good storyline that it didn’t need to be changed. The Hawk and Dove sequences were too dark showing more Dove than Hawk. We haven’t seen Beast Boy change into an animal and how that will look so there’s that to consider. The extent to how they display Starfire’s powers and will her character be this alien learning about Earth life with inhibitions remains to be seen. There’s no Kid Flash, Speedy, Aqualad or Wonder Girl so the thought of having a family type group of Titans seems to be out of the conversation.
I think the problem here is that over the years the fans have lost faith in DC Comics ability to interpret the comics to the screen. Yes, the CW Arrow-verse has been very successful and mainly for its great interpretations and storylines. The big screen movies have less of a fan favorite. Wonder Woman was probably the closest to telling a comic-based story and, incidentally, the Amazon’s scene in Justice League was the highlight of that movie. Other than that, the overall cinematic experience has not been up to par and with this teaser trailer of Titans, it looks like the streaming service might go in the same direction south. Bottom line is the fans don’t want a dark realistic Titans but a Titans that reminds us of the magic that makes us love the book.
I want to subscribe to the DC Universe streaming service for the nostalgia of the old movies, TV shows, and digital comics. I want to subscribe to the DC Universe service to get news on what’s happening in the DC Universe and to communicate with other fans such as myself through feeds and comments. If this trailer is any indication of what the original shows will be like then I will continue to be satisfied with my live-action fix from the CW shows. I hope I am proved wrong because I would love a good Titans live action and who wouldn’t love a good Swamp Thing or to see a Star Girl done right. I’m not too worried about the animation because that is the one thing DC seems to get right.
Let’s hope this trailer isn’t a true representation of Titans and I would gladly do an article on how wrong I am. Until then, I am looking to binge watch old Super Friends and Justice League cartoons.
Kenny Walker Jr