Dark Knights of Steel has revealed many twists on comic book canon. However, it just revealed it maintains one of the best-known Teen Titans lineups.
The following contains spoilers for Dark Knights of Steel #7, now on sale by DC Comics
The Dark Knights of Steel series has proven to be brilliant for many reasons. Though using familiar names and character tropes, the series has taken cues from classic sword and sorcery stories to allow for twists and changes to characters which have been rarely, if ever, seen before. Its most recent issue, however, proves that the series is not at all opposed to taking cues from past productions.
Dark Knights of Steel’s first superhero team isn’t one with Justice in the title (difficult in any universe after the death of the Justice League), but in fact resides in the form of “The Children.” Ra’s Al Ghul/Etrigan’s quarry reside with and protect their universe’s Jonathan and Martha Kent and are made up of the same roster as the Teen Titans (2003) and Teen Titans Go (2013) series. Though decidedly different-looking from their counterparts, Cyborg, Raven, Beast Boy, and Starfire welcome Dick Grayson’s Robin into their fold by the end of Dark Knights of Steel #7 by (Tom Taylor, Nathan Gooden, Arif Prianto, and Wes Abbot).
After a gaping absence in the previous issue following being stabbed by Superman, the narrative catches back up with Batman in the home of Jonathan and Martha Kent. In this world the two have become something of experts in taking in those running from the law of the Els’ kingdom. He shoots awake to find a large, green dog and a pale, cloaked girl watching over him, already signaling to readers just the team they are looking at. Introductions are made, with the Teen Titans introduced as “The Children” and all members present save for their leader apparent, Dick Grayson/Robin.
Naturally, these characters are visually different from those who are familiar to DC fans, but their appearances are similar enough to their modern-day counterparts to allow fans to identify them. Cyborg sports armor and a steel eyepatch with red gems accessorizing his entire suit. Beast Boy wears simple peasants’ wear, but the colors still echo those of his classic Doom Patrol outfit. The character designs are different enough to fit within the world, but maintain the spirit of the characters.
This is especially clear in the fact that the titans, other than Robin, who meets them in this issue, are an extremely strong team unit. They act as a small democracy and work to defend each other. Though Dark Knights of Steel distinctly lacks the Justice League, Justice Society or any other supergroup, the presence of the Teen Titans is a promising sign for the emergence of other groups in the universe. Perhaps most important, though, is the addition of Dick Greyson’s Robin to the group.
In adding him, there is a promise of some form of reconciliation between the oppressed and the oppressors of the world, even if blood must be shed to find it. In introducing the Teen Titans, the world of Dark Knights of Steel has accomplished a great deal with its story and promised a great deal more. As the story continues, it will be interesting to see how other superhero teams factor in, if they do so at all. Most importantly, however, fans await with bated breath the next time that they see another Elseworld version of one of their favorite heroes.
Benjamin Bishop is a freelance writer for CBR and a linguist. He worked in literary criticism and focuses on the intersections of linguistics and popular culture. He strongly identifies with Pokémon, the Muppets, and any book he manages to get his hands on.