Just Say No

What’s the most dangerous gig in the DC Universe?

The Doom Patrol, right? Must be. Got the word “Doom” right there in the title.

Nope. Guess again.

The Justice League, maybe? After all, they handle the biggest threats – surely that’s got to be some serious hazard duty.

Uh-uh. No, by my estimation, the most death-defying gig by far?

Teen Titan.

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You wouldn’t think so, would you? After all, teen superhero sidekicks, hanging out, having adventures, living inside a building shaped like a giant “T.” Sounds like a gas. Sign me up.

Not so fast. Let’s take a look through the Titans roll call, shall we? In the original pre-New-52 run, out of the 78 members total, 26 were  pushing up the daisies before DC called it quits. That means that when you’re sitting in the conference room at New Titan Orientation, that old cliché from college is deadly accurate: “Take a look at the person to your left, then your right. One of you won’t be here in four years.” Except it goes “One of you will have a limb torn off in four years.”

Here are just a few highlights of that delightful time in a teen hero’s life known as Titans membership:

Aqualad: Founding members are no exception, with Garth being unceremoniously Black Lanternized and later shined out of existence in the pages of BLACKEST NIGHT. He was about to be replaced by a new Aqualad, who I’m certain will have a long and illustrious career. Just ask Ryan Choi.

Wonder Girl: As if poor Donna Troy hadn’t suffered enough with her myriad identity crises and a succession of bad costumes and hairstyles, she was killed off by a rogue Superman robot back in 2003, only to be resurrected a scant two years later.

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Speedy: Roy Harper only wished he was deadby the end, having had his arm ripped off in the pages of CRY FOR JUSTICE, his daughter killed by Prometheus, a relapse of his heroin habit and a case of erectile dysfunction to boot. If only I was kidding about that last part…

Lilith: The Titans’ resident psychic had her neck snapped by the same Superman robot that killed Donna Troy. I wonder if Superman had a warranty on those things?

Aquagirl: Aqualad’s girlfriend died in the Crisis on Infinite Earths along with fellow Titans Dove and Kole.

Harlequin: This “Goth”ed up version of the much cooler 1970s Titan known as the Joker’s Daughter was offed by a Monitor in the already forgotten series COUNTDOWN.

Cyborg: Poor Vic Stone has been dismantled, junked, deactivated and de-rezzed more times than I can count, with my personal favorite being when he was brain-dead and Changeling was making his body walk around with a remote control like an R/C car. Bleargh.

Terra: This far-future doppleganger of the original Titan known as Terra (another Titan casualty, by the way) was punched through the chest by Black Adam during World War III, killing her instantly.

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Damage: Son of the Golden Age Atom, Damage served in the Titans, the Freedom Fighters and the JSA before dying and becoming a Black Lantern in BLACKEST NIGHT.

Risk: Had his arm ripped off by Superboy-Prime in INFINITE CRISIS. Roy Harper should give him a call…

Reader Ryan J. reminds me that Risk had a second encounter with Superboy-Prime during the Sinestro Corps War, during which Superboy-Prime ripped his other arm off. In the words of Charles Barkley, that’s terrible…

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Kid Devil: Blue Devil’s wannabe sidekick and fire-breathing demon boy was killed in an explosion saving his fellow Titans.

Pantha: The Titans’ catlady was decapitated by Superboy-Prime in the aforementioned INFINITE CRISIS. Yes, I said “decapitated.”

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Baby Wildebeest: In the same battle with Superboy Prime, the toddler in a super-strong monster’s body known as Wildebeest was killed by a burst of heat vision through the torso. Yes, I said “toddler.”

Jericho: The sensitive mute with the power to take over people’s bodies has had numerous bouts of insanity, was impaled by his own father, and recently had his eyes gouged out. Good times.

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So what’s the point of all this? Well, if you’re a teenaged superhero, feeling good about yourself, enjoying life, and someone parks a jet on your front lawn with a big “T” on the tail and offers you a membership card and a signal device?

All I’m sayin’ is, think twice.

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Welcoming the Future, Treasuring the Past.