Although they started out as mere teens, the Titans have gone on to become one of DC’s premiere superhero teams. Composed largely of former sidekicks and even once seen as a “junior Justice League,” their ranks also include heroes who are unaffiliated with other characters. At the end of the day, however, all Titans represent the concept of legacy and growth.
In these and other respects, the Titans are actually a superior team to the Justice League. This stems from their tighter connection, ability to grow and the threats they deal with. It’s no wonder the Titans have currently replaced the Justice League in the DC Universe, with fans loving the characters long beforehand.
10 The Titans Have Varied Rosters
The most popular Titans are easily Robin/Nightwing, Starfire, Cyborg, Raven and Beast Boy due to the popularity of the Teen Titans animated series. These aren’t the only roster members, however, with other iconic and obscure heroes also being a part of the lineup at different times. This degree of change is a lot different from the Justice League’s roster.
For the most part, a JLA without Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and certain other heroes feels almost incomplete. Sure, there have been Justice League teams without these heroes present, but they’re usually seen in an almost divergent or “additional” light. With the Titans, the “Titans East and West” teams bake diversity of character into their very concept.
9 The Titans Highlight Characters Who Don’t Otherwise Get a Chance
While many of the original Teen Titans were merely sidekicks to older heroes, later additions to the team were more independent figures. This included Red Star, Pantha and the aforementioned Cyborg, Starfire, and Raven. With the Justice League, it’s almost entirely composed of heroes who are intellectual properties within themselves.
While most JL members have their own books, the Titans feel more like an organic team because they sometimes only show up in their own title. Thus, there isn’t some overarching storyline in another book that might contradict their team adventures. Again, this builds each Titan up organically by having them bounce almost exclusively off each other in a way similar to Marvel’s X-Men.
8 The Titans are a Heroic Launching Pad
While most Titans work firmly within the confines of the team, some of them have been able to branch out. Cyborg now has ties to the Justice League and even the Doom Patrol thanks to the television show. Damage was once a member of the reformed Titans, and he went on to be a firmly entrenched part of the Justice Society.
Even for those mostly known only as Titans, the familial nature of the team means that they have a chance to shine. The Justice League doesn’t afford the same benefit, as it’s meant to be a conglomerate of DC’s top icons. Thus, membership on the Titans is simply more conducive to not being overshadowed by Superman or Batman.
7 The Titans Have Buried the Hatchet With Some of Their Worst Enemies
One of the most notable Teen Titans villains is Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke the Terminator. Hired to fulfill a deadly contract on the heroes, he was also responsible for bringing in the turncoat Terra. Despite this history, the 1990s saw Slade turn over a more antiheroic leaf, aiding the Titans and even being vouched for by Nightwing.
Other examples of this included some of the Titans’ goofier early villains, namely Mad Mod. Once a groovy bad guy from the Silver Age, he eventually went straight and made peace with the Titans. This isn’t nearly as common with the Justice League, who rarely ever makes amends with their foes.
6 The Titans Don’t Have as Many Powerhouses as the Justice League
The Justice League has been home to some of the strongest heroes in the DC Universe. Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Martian Manhunter and various Green Lanterns have been on the team. This gives them a lot of power, although this also means that even bigger powerhouses are needed to challenge them as a group.
With the Titans, they have several powerful members, but not nearly as many as the League. Likewise, many of their ranks are at most mid-level in power, with Donna Troy, the Wally West Flash, Starfire, Raven, and Cyborg arguably being the strongest among them. This makes for more grounded stories that don’t require as many grandiose stakes.
5 The Titans are More Relatable than the Justice League
Given that many of them are the generation raised by Batman, Wonder Woman and The Flash, the Titans have less of a godlike air to them. Whether as teens or young adults, they come off as real people who have relatable problems. This includes not measuring up to their mentors or trying to reconnect with their parents
Again, the nature of the Justice League means that many of its members won’t get this treatment in their team book. That kind of development is reserved for their own titles, which sometimes makes the League seem larger than life. The Titans rarely have this problem, even when dealing with more epic threats.
4 The Titans Embody Legacy Better Than the Justice League
Many of the early members of the Teen Titans have radically changed over the years, especially in the Titans comic. For instance, Robin’s transition to becoming Nightwing happened in New Teen Titans. Conversely, even when heroes took new names on different teams, it was reflective of their time as on the team.
Wally West and Roy Harper became The Flash and Red Arrow outside the pages of Teen Titans, but these developments showcased how far they’d come. As mentioned, the Justice League members are largely already fully-formed, so there’s no sense of growth within their team. This explains why the New 52 reboot (which robbed the DC Universe of its legacy) hit the Titans the hardest.
3 The Titans Have a More Defined Rogues Gallery
As mentioned, some of the foes that the Titans usually fight include Deathstroke, Trigon, Brother Blood and others. Even though some of these villains have vexed other teams and heroes, they’re mainly associated with the Teen Titans. This makes the Titans as a property a lot more defined than the Justice League.
With the League, their main enemies are the Legion of Doom, which are simply the heroes’ preexisting villains. Due to this, the JLA again comes off as a mere hodgepodge of recognizable heroes instead of a truly organic team. Other threats to the League include Darkseid and the New Gods, who are actually Fourth World characters. Thus, they lack a strong exclusive rogues gallery.
2 The Titans are a Reflection of Different Time Periods
For better or worse, the Teen Titans/Titans are great barometers of pop culture at the time in which their stories are published. The classic Silver Age stories were clearly inspiring by the swingin’ ’60s, while New Teen Titans felt right at home in the 1980s. Given the youth of the heroes on display, this makes sense, and it allows each incarnation of the team to speak to readers differently.
With the Justice League, this isn’t the case, namely due to how “iconic” the heroes themselves are. A notable attempt to follow such concepts was the 1980s Detroit Justice League, which notably featured clear analogues to pop culture trends. Similarly, books such as Extreme Justice were obviously made to ape the edgy vibe of the 1990s.
1 The Titans are a Family
The Justice League comes off more as a working group of professionals than anything else. With the Titans, however, they’re definitely a family of heroes who treat each other as such. Donna Troy is the mother hen, Beast Boy is the annoying kid brother, and the aquatic hero Garth/Tempest is the cousin who only occasionally comes around for reunions. This gives each member their own role and foibles.
The familial nature of the team makes them even more relatable, especially as they grow and develop in different ways. Some of these changes make them drift apart while others help them stay together. This is the reason why a core group of Titans has now replaced the Justice League, with the DC Universe now revolving around this tighty knit team.
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