Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Remember the "New" Teen Titans: Terra

It is perhaps appropriate that the finale of my special look back at 1980's icons, The New Teen Titans, concludes with the one character that really turned the team on its collective ear during arguably their most popular storyline produced by the creative team of Wolfman & Perez. Purists will also note that most of the classic original Titans also made notable appearances during the series long run, including: Aqualad, Speedy, Hawk & Dove, Lilith, etc.

Terra was created by Marv Wolfman and George PĂ©rez, and first appeared in New Teen Titans Vol. 1 #26 (December, 1982). She was conceived for a finite life span, co-creator Perez stated that "from the very start, that this girl was going to be a traitor [to the team] and that we were going to kill this character off".

Tara Markov was the half-sister of Geo-Force, and the illegitimate daughter of the King of Markovia. While there, she came under the care of a Dr. Helga Jace, and through her experiments, Terra obtained Earth manipulation powers: specifically, the ability to control all forms of earthen matter. After obtaining these powers, she left Markovia for the United States. Unlike her more heroic brother, Geo-Force, Terra had deep-rooted psychological issues, believing that, with their powers, they should rule Earth rather than help the weaker masses. As a result of this belief, Terra became a mercenary, doing dirty work for others such as Deathstroke the Terminator (with whom she had a sexual relationship, despite being only fifteen years old). She infiltrated the Teen Titans, fooling them by staging a fake battle versus Deathstroke. She then operated as a spy for Deathstroke, eventually giving him the information that he needed to kidnap the Titans, with no regrets.

The captured Titans were taken to a stronghold of Deathstroke's original contractors, The H.I.V.E. Nightwing — who had recently retired from his career as Robin and created his new identity based on stories Superman had told him of a Kryptonian hero — accompanied by Deathstroke's own son, Joseph Wilson (alias Jericho) raided the complex in order to rescue them, but both were captured. When presented to Deathstroke and the organization in general, Jericho possessed his father and freed the Titans, who then attacked the H.I.V.E. Not knowing of Jericho's powers, Terra believed Deathstroke to have turned against her. In retaliation, she went berserk and fatally pulled the whole H.I.V.E. complex down upon herself while trying to destroy Deathstroke. Despite her betrayal, a statue of her was placed in the Memorial in Titans Tower. Her betrayal was never made public, with her brother simply being told that she had died in battle.

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