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"We've been training our whole lives for this": Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott unveil their plans for DC's Titans

The new premiere superteam for the DCU is one of three Dawn of DC announcements today

Image credit: DC

Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths ended the era of the Justice League, but as the Dawn of DC begins, another team is getting ready to take over the task of keeping the DCU safe… and they’ve got plenty of practice saving the day.

Get ready for the new reign of the Titans.

Launching in May, Titans is exactly what it sounds like: a new ongoing series about the former New Teen Titans as they step into the role previously occupied by their mentors. Readers of both Dark Crisis and Nightwing have some idea about what’s coming next, as Nightwing, Cyborg, Starfire, Raven, the Flash, and Beast Boy’s new gig has been teased in a couple of places, but as Dawn of DC continues to expand across the line, no-one’s quite sure what’s going to happen next.

The new Titans series is just one of three pieces of news DC dropped Wednesday morning about its line-wide relaunch, with the creative team of both Cyborg (Milestone Initiative graduate Morgan Hampton and artist Tom Raney) and the revised, retitled Green Lantern series (Jeremy Adams and Xermánico, with Adams stepping in to replace the previously announced Mariko Tamaki), handling a Hal Jordan story; the series will also feature the Green Lantern: John Stewart material previously announced as its own title (by Philip Kennedy Johnson and Osvaldo Montos). Covers for those new series can be seen in the gallery below.

Back to Titans, however — here’s how DC is describing the first issue: ‘The Dark Crisis is over and the Justice League is no more. Now, a new team has to rise and protect the earth…Titans! The time has come for the Teen Titans to grow up. Each member joined as a much younger hero certain that one day they’d be invited to join the Justice League. Now they’re not just joining the League...they’re replacing it! Are the no-longer-teen heroes ready for the big leagues? Danger lurks around every corner as Super Heroes and Super-Villains alike challenge the new team before they’ve even begun. Will the DCU ever be the same?”

The only people who know the answer to that last question are, of course, the people responsible for the series — and that’s Tom Taylor (who’s been laying the groundwork for this comic in his Nightwing run) and Nicola Scott. Popverse talked to both creators about what to expect from the new series.

Popverse: How did this come about?

Tom Taylor: It came about sort of organically, I would say. We wanted to build to this big place. We've been working what we're building towards with the Dawn of DC, in Dark Crisis with Josh [Williamson] and Daniel Sampere and everything they've been doing on that book. We’ve been talking about, okay, we're gonna put Titans Tower in Bludhaven at the end of Nightwing 100 — we're gonna not just transform the city socially, you know, and root out corruption and end people like Blockbuster and gangsters and all this stuff-- he's also going to change the skyline. That's going to be the sort of cap at the end of that.

And so from there, I can't remember who it was, but somebody — either on [an editorial] call or on a round table — was like, 'Yeah, Tom should write that.' It's probably Chip Zdarsky. He probably threw me under the bus. [Laughs] From there, it sort of steamrolled. We've we've been building up to Titans, and then there was a chance that Nicola could do it, and obviously — I mean Nicola’s one of my best mates, so it was like, 'oh, my God! Yes, yes, yes!' She’s also just one of the greatest artists who’s ever lived — solidified by her recent Wonder Woman Historia, which is gob smacking in it's amazingness.

She was coming off of that, and it was very much like, 'No, no, no, just leave her alone.' Nicola said when we contacted her [that] she’d just finished [Historia] like 2 days before, is that it?

Nicola Scott: It was 2 days before! I had Covid, I was so tired, everything was fucked! I’m like, 'Brittany [Holzherr, editor], I love you, go away!' But she was telling me all of these ingredients. She was like, 'It’s Titans. It's the OG team. It's with Tom. They're gonna be the Justice League. It's all of these things.' I was just like, 'Aw, shit. I can’t say no to that. I don't want to say no to that, but I also don't want to think for a while! Give me a break!' [Laughs]

Taylor: And I’d spent the weekend with your husband a week before that. I knew just how overdone you were!

Scott: I have to say, I had been saying to my husband for a little while leading up to the end of Historia, that I knew I kind of wanted to do something really superhero-y for a bit once this had wrapped up. Obviously I needed a break, but the next project I wanted to be something really superhero-y before I moved off in other directions.

Titans #1
Image credit: DC

So I’d sort of been toying with, you know, various things that I knew were on the radar at DC. Obviously I don't know everything that's happening there, but you know the bits and pieces that I was aware of, I was just like, 'Oh, maybe maybe I'll throw my hat in the ring for that,' and almost immediately, Brittany is there saying, “Here are all of the things that you could possibly want.” I'm like, 'Oh, shit that's gonna be it.'

One of the things that really differentiates this from other Titans series is, it's not just Titans being the Titans; they’re stepping up and taking the place of the Justice League. It's the characters that you know, that everyone has loved for for decades in this new space. You're both fans of the Wolfman and Perez era, the so-called classic Titans run — how do you take that and transform it into this new thing?

Taylor: I think we're just fulfilling the promise. It's always been there — there's been so many storylines and so many moments over the decades where people have said, “You will step up and you will be the premier superior team. You will be the next Justice League.” And then it just… doesn't happen. The amount of times that Batman has told Nightwing that he will lead, or that Superman told him that he will lead, and it didn't happen. Finally, now in 2023, the Titans get to step up and be the premiere superhero team of the DC Universe. So that's ridiculously exciting that we finally get to fulfill that.

We're in this great space now, with Dawn of DC, where we can tell that story, where we can go, yes, it’s the legacy characters that everyone loves, and we go through them into the space, and they're going to be this positive beacon, and they're going to fight Justice League threats in a very Titans way — in a different way than the Justice League would.

There's a moment in issue one where Nightwing responds to authority, and Batman would always do that in a certain way, but Nightwing is just like, 'Yeah, but we can work together if you want. We don’t need weird antagonist relationships. ' It's a very different feel, a very different dynamic.

Scott: And I love that, as this group of characters comes together to fill the shoes of the Justice League, the vacancy that the Justice League are leaving, they're not deciding to call themselves the Justice League. They're 100% the Titans.

They're the Healthy Justice League. The Justice League without a chip on their shoulders. [Laughs]

Scott: Well, they're the Justice League that sort of really intimately knows each other so well. All of this goodwill that we have as readers towards these characters, because we fell in love with them because of intimate stories, all of that goodwill is, I think, still there for all of these characters. And certainly Tom has been really building up Dick Grayson's story and reminding the readership why he's so important and what he brings to the table that is so unique to him.

Now it's the time for him to step up as the leader and collect the people that he thinks will support his Justice League agenda, and of course it's going to be the people that he knows the most, because really their power scale is really significant. You know it's not as though they’re junior power scale. They're as powerful as the Justice League. It's just, they've been the sidekicks, and now they get to wear the big boy pants.

Is that going to be part of the series? That they’re graduating from being the sidekicks to being the front line heroes?

Titans #1 by Simone Di Meo
Image credit: DC

Taylor: No, it’s really not! It’s weird because I read so much Titans in the lead up to this, and everybody's different versions — from Wolfman and Perez, to Geoff Johns, to Judd Winnick’s, to Devin Grayson’s, and so often there's that there's that feeling of, 'Oh, we’re the sidekicks stepping up!' For once, I didn't want that. I wanted them to go, 'Yeah, it's our time.' Particularly for people like Nightwing. I mean, Beast Boy would think that anyway, but I wanted them to go, 'It’s our time. We’re not the sidekicks.' There’s no imposter syndrome.

In the end of Nightwing #100, he basically says, 'It's not time for the Justice League. It's time for the Titans,' and that's certainly how we feel going into this book. So it's not sidekicks and 'Are we good enough?' Yeah, they’re good enough.

Scott: 100% they are. I just drew a scene where Donna is saying, 'We've been training our whole lives for this' — because they have, and they're right. They're not teenagers anymore. They haven't been for a long time.

One of the core elements of all past Titans series has been that it’s not just about the superhero action, but about the interpersonal relationships, the emotional dynamic. Is that going to be part of the new series going forward?

Taylor: You can write down “They nod and smile.” Yeah. [Laughs] You know, this is a group of friends who've known each other forever. They’be know each other since they had that imposter syndrome, since they were sidekicks, but they've grown a lot.

In particular, we've finally got Beast Boy and Raven together — that sort of happened during Teen Titans Academy, and we haven't explored that. So I feel like writing those two together properly for the first time gives us a really interesting dynamic, particularly coming off of the trauma that Beast Boy experienced in Dark Crisis, and seeing the rest of them being so supportive of him. You can't write Titans without soap opera. It's just that simple.

There is a Titan that they talk to in issue one, and this the conversation does not go as you would expect it to. There is going to be personal drama; there has to be. Britney actually sent me a sort of a mission statement that Marv Wolfman wrote for the Titans, so I got to read this sort of essay that he'd written on what the Titans should be, and I’m trying to incorporate that as much as possible.

What's it like for you to working together again? I remember the two of you on Earth-2, and I remember feeling back then that you play to each other’s strengths.

Scott: We've been waiting for the stars to align since then, you know, because we’re both over here in Australia. So we see each other pretty regularly, and we're always aware of what each other have on the horizon. There have been moments in time where it's sort of like, 'Are you available for a thing?' You know it'd be nice if we could do a, whatever it might be, but for all of the reasons that just keep popping up, it just hasn't managed to happen.

It feels like now is absolutely the right time on the right project, and it's really exciting for us to come to these characters that we both love individually. We've talked about quite a few of these characters just incidentally over the last decade, and it's very clear that we both see all of these characters in a very similar way, and we have the same kind of respect and reverence for them, despite what might be happening in whatever book might be coming out, or whatever stories might be being told. So it's really it's always a comfort to be working with a writer that is on the same page as you regarding the characters that you're about to dive into.

I have full faith that not only are Tom and I on board for all of these characters individually, and them as a team, but the sort of tone and direction of the book. That trust is really genuinely reassuring.

Taylor: There have been times when Nicola and I will be sitting at a bar and a hotel lobby at 2 am. and she will be giving me essentially a verbal essay on one of these characters. She loves these characters. We’ve geekily geeked out about so many of these characters, and who they are together. I think Nicola’s described it really well, saying that the Titans are your friends. We get to hang out with our friends, and we're friends as well, so you'll get to hang out in our Big Friendship Group. Awwww. [Laughs]

Scott: Yeah, this is definitely one of those jobs that doesn't feel like just another gig. Every now and then you’re doing a job, and you just like I'm doing this because it's paying the bills. This is one of those jobs that comes along that you just like, 'Oh, right, yeah. All the ingredients are absolutely the right ingredients.'

The first issue of Titans will be released May 16. Scott's cover for the issue can be seen above in an "in progress" state, as can Simone Di Meo's variant cover for the issue.

Want to know more about Dawn of DC? Revisit the launch announcement.