DC’s Superboy, Red Robin, and Kid Flash Reboot For New Teen Titans Book (And I Think of the 90s)

This post is from 2011.  As of 2018, it still gets new views. The Teen Titans, not to mention the entire DC Universe, have gone through many iterations since then.  Why are fans able to accept that continuity is fluid when it comes to comic books, but not when it comes to properties like Star Wars or the Wizarding World?

To be honest, I don’t really accept a living Jason Todd, or a universe in which Tim Drake was never Robin.  But I also know that the pendulum will likely swing back, and that I get to pick what I consider canon.  That’s one of the great things about fiction.

Okay, so I think of the 90s anyway. That said, here’s the picture for the rebooted Teen Titans:

I was chatting with someone today who said this whole reboot reminds him of the 90s, and, specifically, what Marvel tried to do with Heroes Reborn.  The Superboy and Kid Flash designs specifically make me think of 90s aesthetics.  That patch on Bart’s left shoulder?  Reminds me of Jim Lee’s first shot at redesigning Superman, circa 1996:

Kid Flash should be minimalist and throwback.  When Bart Allen gave up the Impulse identity and became Kid Flash, it was in honor of Wally West and his costume reflected the importance of legacy in the Flash mythos:

This is the right look, but the boots are too busy.  The thing going on at the top of this post is just a mess.

As for Superboy. If you were 13 in 1993, you know that the modern incarnation of the Boy of Steel debuted during the Reign of the Supermen arc following Superman’s death. He was punk, and he looked every bit the 90s awesome he was meant to be:

Haters hate, but I think this costume was perfectly awesome for the time.  And yes, after seeing this, I did go home and try to draw Starter jackets for Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, and the Flash.  That said, I think everyone agrees that Superboy’s most recent look is 100% DCAT (Don’t Change A Thing, with thanks to Paul Lukas):

This has become Connor Kent’s iconic Superboy look.  In the solicit picture for the reboot, he’s back to being a scenester.  What’s with the gothy tape job on his back?  The bar-c0de tattoo?  What could possibly tattoo him, anyway? For that matter, how did he pierce his ear in the 90s?  I know, I know: same way he shaves (his own heat vision in a mirror).

Red Robin (Tim Drake, formerly the third Robin before becoming Red Robin in the current DCU) is said to be leading the new new new Teen Titans.  I liked the Kingdom Come-inspired Red Robin costume of the last two years, and I liked the red and black look Tim sported during his final stint as the Boy Wonder.  Now he has feathers.  I want to say I hate it, but I sort of don’t.   Tim’s original costume was, perhaps, the perfect union of 90s re-design and timing.  It was current, believable, and, most importantly, not ridiculous.  The cape was black, the legs were covered.  The R was finally stylized.  He got a bo-staff and real boots. He got his own book and became a sidekick who was always more than that.  Tim was the best of the all the Robins because Tim’s  skill set, intellect, and emotional complexity made Robin a real hero in his own right and a compelling character to boot.  Tim Drake did for Robin what Nightwing did for Dick Grayson.  It makes sense that Tim would keep part of the Robin identity even as he moves on, but I’m not sure about those feathers.  Why not the current Red Robin costume with a domino mask instead of a cowl?  The rest of what’s going on above is way too busy.   I know that the hooded Robin look is being done by Damien Wayne, and Tim’s Robinmobile is called the Redbird.  I get that Tim ought to retain some of that mythos and the feathers signal the Tim (as opposed to Damien) side of things, but still.  Unless he starts to fly (please, no), he really shouldn’t have them.

If the 200os saw DC return to the Silver Age in terms of story and allusion, it feels like September 2011-forward are looking like the 90s redux.  Short from letting Supes fly his freak flag every now and then, I’m not sure that’s the way they should be going.  Then again, I was one of those kids that started reading comics because of the Batman movie and then in earnest with the Reign of the Supermen and the Knightfall series.  One of DC’s immediate goals is to give new readers and brand new point of entry, and the reboot and renumbering certainly provides that chance on a massive scale.  Still, feathers?  You know what? I’ll admit it.  He does look kind of cool.

7 thoughts on “DC’s Superboy, Red Robin, and Kid Flash Reboot For New Teen Titans Book (And I Think of the 90s)

  1. I am very partial to Heroes Reborn, myself, because that’s when I actually got “into” comics for the first time. I think it’s really hard to reboot a franchise because there are so many stories and mythologies that belong to a character- some good, some awful- and you’re going to piss people off no matter what you try to change.

    I didn’t have all of that history weighing on me and so it was easy for me to accept the variant characters as legitimate.

  2. the artist that drew the new titan’s look has already given reason for the tape and the tattoo on Superboy, the S being taped is an in joke Bart having put it there and pointing at it. and the Tattoo was just a gag he had done and they thought it was good.

  3. Thanks for the comment! I read that about the paper and tape being a joke played by Bart. It just didn’t seem obvious enough to me for a solicit image and it doesn’t seem that funny. Not sure how I feel about the tattoo.

  4. Thanks for the comment! I read that about the paper and tape being a joke played by Bart. It just didn’t seem obvious enough to me for a solicit image and it doesn’t seem that funny. Not sure how I feel about the tattoo.
    hopefully they’ll show and explain this ‘joke by bart’ and ‘funny tattoo incident’ that they are referring to in the stories of the first book here. if they don’t, then we know that they were talking out their asses at us- to explain away something they didn’t want to explain away. they’ll come out and say ‘Cause we wanted to and we don’t have to tell you any more than that suckers’.

    i don’t care for a lot of these new artists or animating/coloring styles in the new comic books. also have dislike for some of the new costumes. i agree that tim’s red and black robin costume with PANTS and BOOTs was the greatest to date….the hood sucks/ed…in one of the dark knight comics batman told robin to never wear a hood because a criminal can pull it down over his face and take the advantage in a fight- or use it to choke him- or swing him around by it—hoods are for priests and maidens and friars and kkkk,etc…not super heroes…..and did they seriously put feathers on robin/red hood_ why not just put a boa on him…the only feathers on his costume should be blades or knock out darts disguised as or tipped with feathers….but feathers as fashion accessory alone is way too gay even for people in spandex and panties and booties.

  5. i think the whole look fr the new one is awesome.(with the exception of the tape on superboys back,lol.)but robin and kid flash look alot more seasoned an ready to go then b4.I also see the symoblism your talkin bout wit the flash legacy but its time for kid flash to do his own thing an b original.Saying tht he needs to look like flash is like saying flash shld wear jays uniform.Super boys pretty much the same needs abit of fine tuning but very passable to the classic black shirt superboy.90s superboy will always reign supreme though.(gotta love the classics.)i think barts look is streamlined very effective<and its nice to see tht change up.I dont get the tatt on connor but it looks cool.Wonder girl looks great,no complaints.But if they wanna keep new crowds becoming fans then its gotta b updated.I feel they clda dug a lil deeper for ideas wit connor but overall im happy with it and cnt wait to see how fans and new readers respond to the new look.

  6. also i dig the feathers it reminds me of knightwings old suit tht cld glide.it has a lil new age wit alil old school.and at least it dont look like anime,lol.

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