This week, in Titans' 5th episode ("Together", watch it here) we saw the team put their training to good use as the Nuclear Family attacked, and Dick Grayson was shocked to meet a new ally. Each week we’ve been dissecting the comic book references in each episode, so let’s see what "Together" had to offer!
WARNING: Spoilers ahead!
The biggest talking point of the episode has been the new Robin, who saves Dick Grayson at the end. Longtime comic fans will recognize him as Jason Todd, the boy who became the Batman's second Robin and currently operates as Red Hood. Jason has a long, tangled history. We first met him in Batman #357 (written by Gerry Conway and penciled by Don Newton), when Dick sees the young boy and his parents perform at the circus. But we didn’t learn his first name until Detective Comics #524 (written by Gerry Conway and penciled by Dan Jurgens), and the lad didn’t get a chance to speak until Detective Comics #525! He formally adopted the Robin identity in Batman #368 (written by Doug Moench and penciled by Don Newton), a role he occupied until his death in Batman #428 (written by Jim Starlin and penciled by Jim Aparo, read it here). In this week's Titans, Dick looks like he has plenty of questions for Jason. He'll probably learn more about the new Robin in next week's episode ("Jason Todd").
KORY’S SOLAR POWER
This week we saw Kory become more aware of her abilities. She now understands there is a relationship between sunlight and her powers. In the comics, Kory and her people (the Tamaranians) are known as “sun worshippers,” because they get their energy from solar power. Kory and her sister Komand’r, however, are the only two Tamaranians who can shoot energy bolts. In Tales of the New Teen Titans #4 (written by Marv Wolfman and penciled by George Perez), Kory tells her teammates about her torturous years as a slave. During this issue's flashback, we find out alien scientists known as Psions hooked her up to a machine designed to see how much solar energy she and her sister could absorb. When Kory’s machine exploded, she learned she had the power to shoot her signature starbolts! But, unlike her live-action counterpart, the comic book version of Kory never had any issues using her powers at night. Did the TV version of Kory get her powers from a similar experience? Due to her current amnesia, it’s hard to say.
GAR’S WARDROBE DILEMMA
During the warehouse training sequence, Gar describes his attire dilemma – he can’t transform without ripping his clothes! While this leads to some embarrassment, Gar’s comic-book counterpart solved the problem back in Doom Patrol #100 (written by Arnold Drake and penciled by Bruno Premiani, read it here). When Robotman asks Beast Boy why his clothes disappear and reappear between transformations, Gar explains he keeps his threads on the whole time -- they’re just camouflaged! Subsequent comics weren’t always consistent with this rule, and Gar would suffer a few instances of post-transformation nudity. But he’s mostly been spared from the embarrassment his TV counterpart is forced to endure.
WHAT IF GAR’S ANIMALS WEREN’T GREEN?
During their training exercises, Kory mused that Gar’s transformations would command more fear if the animals weren’t green. Interestingly enough, when Beast Boy first appeared in Doom Patrol #99 (written by Arnold Drake and penciled by Bob Brown, read it here), his animals would have normal colors – with the exception of Gar’s green head. needless to say, it was strange to see a giant grey elephant with a green head. By the time Gar changed his codename to Changeling in DC Comics Presents #26 (written by Marv Wolfman and penciled by George Perez, read it here), his animals were now completely green from head to tail. They may not have looked terrifying, but they definitely looked less odd. Sorry, Kory!
DICK GRAYSON HIDING HIS SECRET IDENTITY
During their battle with the Nuclear Family, the newly formed Titans are surprised to learn that their leader Dick Grayson is secretly Robin. Dick had previously been reluctant to share his double life with them, a habit he shares with his comic-book counterpart. Out of all the Teen Titans, Robin was always the most guarded when it came to his secret identity. At the end of Teen Titans #14 (written by Bob Haney and penciled by Nick Cardy, read it here), Wonder Girl notes that she’s never seen Robin without his mask on before. As the first series went on, Dick Grayson became more liberal with his secret identity. In later incarnations of the team, Dick was more protective of his secret, due to betrayals from teammates like Terra. New members of the Teen Titans would not immediately learn his real name, and some members were never allowed to learn, PERIOD! During writer Devin Grayson’s Titans run (read it here), Dick would not share his real name with any of the new members. Paranoid or cautious -- what do you think?
DICK AND KORY SLEEPING TOGETHER
It was inevitable – in this episode, Dick and Kory reveal their desire for each other. Their comic-book relationship is a long and storied one (you can read about it here), and DC fans were shocked when 1984's New Teen Titans #1 (written by Marv Wolfman and penciled by George Perez, read it here) revealed they were intimate. Although previous issues of the Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans run implied their relationship was physical, the above panel showing them waking up in bed together was considered very risqué in the early '80s. Letter writers wrote to DC shocked that two unwed teenagers would be featured this way.
Marv Wolfman, taken aback, replied in the book's letter column, “Concerning the scene with Dick and Kory – this has become one of the most controversial panels we’ve ever presented. Many readers wrote in saying, ‘Way to go!’ and others said, ‘How could you do that in a book about teenagers?’ The question cannot be resolved in a letter column. We didn’t mean to use Dick and Kory as role models. That’s never been our intention anyway, but we realize by their being printed and portrayed as heroes (which they are) the mantle of being a role model rests on their shoulders. We acknowledge the problem some of you had with the scene and we apologize if it bothered you. We honestly had no idea there would be any problem. We also acknowledge that premarital sex obviously does exist, and we neither condone nor condemn those who believe or disbelieve in it. I realize I am not giving a straight-out answer. I’m not saying, ‘never again’ and I’m not saying ‘every issue from now on’ but we have read your letters. We understand some of you were offended and we will think long and hard about what to do."
Man, the 1980s sure were a different time!