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Secret identitiesUnlike most other superhero television series, the Teen Titans characters maintain their superhero identities at all times, though the series hints at the concept of an alter ego or secret identity but rarely explores it. The Titans have even been seen sleeping in their costumes.
In particular, some fans debated which Robin leads the Teen Titans. Many times throughout the animated series, it is implied that Robin is Dick Grayson, although it was never confirmed or denied until Teen Titans Go! #47, which revealed that Robin's secret identity is Dick Grayson. In "Fractured", Robin's alternate dimensional counterpart Larry gives as his real name Nosyarg Kcid ("Dick Grayson" spelled backwards). In another episode where Starfire is thrust into the future, Robin has taken on Grayson's identity of Nightwing. Also, in the episode "Haunted" when Raven goes into Robin's mind, there is a clip of two acrobats falling from a trapeze, (The Flying Graysons, John and Mary Grayson) a reference to how Dick Grayson became Robin. In episode 2 ("X") of season 3, Robin's life is displayed on a chart by Beast Boy and it shows Robin as Nightwing (although this same chart also displays Jason Todd as Robin). In the same episode, Red X pulls Robin's mask, and his flesh goes with it as if glued on (a cartoon sequence); in the comics Dick Grayson as Nightwing admitted to using a type of glue to get his mask to stay on.
The policy of not mentioning the characters secret identities is broken in the fifth season, in which Doom Patrol members refer to Beast Boy by his real name, Garfield; however, the Titans continue to call him Beast Boy. In "Go" the Titans ask Beast Boy about his mask and he states it hides his true identity. Raven points out that he is green with pointed ears and fangs, he "has no secret to hide". The backgrounds and real names of Cyborg and Starfire are alluded to in earlier seasons: Cyborg chooses the alias "Stone" in the episode "Deception", a nod to his name Victor Stone in the DC Comics, while Starfire's name, Koriand'r, is spoken aloud on-screen amidst a line of Tamaranian language in the episode "Betrothed" (the fifth season origin-episode "Go!" mentions that Starfire is a translation of her Tamaranian name). The policy is never an issue with Raven, who never had a secret identity (though the mainstream continuity Teen Titans Vol. 3 has shown she has taken the name Rachel Roth as an alter ego in the normal world).
The comic series Teen Titans Go! has recently been going into the background of the characters further:
Connection to the Batman MythosThe series briefly alludes to Batman several times: when Slade attempts to make Robin his protege, Slade says "Who knows? I might be like a father to you". Robin then remarks, "I already have a father," and a shot of bats flying through a dark sky is shown reference to Batman. This same episode also features a Wayne Enterprises building company of Batman's playboy billionaire alter-ego Bruce Wayne the family company of Bruce Wayne's dead father Thomas Wayne. When the Teen Titans played football in the park ("Sum of his parts"), Beast Boy chanted, "One-Gotham City, two-Gotham City..." in reference to the standard "One-Mississippi, two-Mississippi..." In "Go!", (after a stream of bats go by) a crook asks, "Hey, this isn't your town! Aren't you supposed to be with-" but then is interrupted by Robin, who replies, "I just moved here. And from now on, I work alone,". Another allusion occurs in the season 3 episode "Haunted," in the same sequence that featured the falling acrobats. It depicts Robin accepting a costume and taking an oath in what is assumed to be the Batcave. The sequence is in silhouette, and very brief. Also, Batman's silhouette is mostly obscured—even hiding the bat ears, however, his distinctive cowl design can still be made out when the sequence is paused. Also in the season one episode "Final Exam," Gizmo plants a rocket on Cyborg's back. When Starfire saves Cyborg, he says, "Maybe y'all should call me Fly-borg. I was halfway to Gotham City before Star zapped that thing off my back." In "How Long is Forever?" a picture of Barbara Gordon/Oracle can be seen in the corner of the screen in Nightwing's headquarters. In "Betrayal", Terra comments that some of the best pie is 100 miles out of Gotham City. In numerous episodes the name Oracle can be seen on the monitor screen.
ContinuityTeen Titans has never been established explicitly to be a part of the larger DC Animated Universe or The Batman, a source of fan controversy. Series producer Bruce Timm stated the series would not cross over with Justice League Unlimited. Batman himself makes a very small cameo in Teen Titans Go! comic #47, but is done in such a way that it is difficult to identify which version of him it is. However, Speedy, who first appeared in the episode "Winner Take All" along with Aqualad and others, appeared alongside his mentor, Green Arrow, in Justice League Unlimited. Also notably, Kid Flash was voiced by Michael Rosenbaum in his appearances in the show - the same actor who voiced the Flash in Justice League Unlimited.
Though there have been no fully realized crossovers between Teen Titans and other DC animated shows, it is worth noting that all five of the principle voice actors from Teen Titans appeared together in an episode of Justice League entitled Wild Cards, playing the Royal Flush Gang. Furthermore, the design of each gang member was styled on the actual likeness of the respective Teen Titans cast member lending them their voice.
While most episodes are not connected with a central plot, each season features several episodes devoted to the series' mythology. The first season introduces Slade, an arch-rival of Robin and the Titans. The second season adaptation of "The Judas Contract" introduces Terra, who eventually betrays the Titans to Slade, just as she had in the comic books. The third season focuses on Cyborg's rivalry with Brother Blood and the H.I.V.E. academy, and ends with the creation of the Titans East team, based on the East Coast. The fourth season adapts the "Terror of Trigon" arc, showcasing Raven and her relationship with her father, the demon Trigon. Lastly, the fifth season focuses on the Brotherhood of Evil, longtime enemies of the Doom Patrol, the superhero team to which Beast Boy belonged before joining the Titans, and the apparent war that takes place between them and the Titans. In the final episode, he encounters a high school student who looks and sounds exactly like Terra, but her identity is never firmly established. He eventually realizes that he must move on with his life and leave both her and the past behind.
ReceptionSome fans of the comics criticized the series for having a "childish nature". Some cartoon fans disliked the series for its hybrid of western and Japanese-style animation. The Teen Titans were based on their DC Comic iterations, but the animation was mainly of a Japanese style. In addition, there were complaints as to why Jump City was chosen as the Teen Titans home whereas New York was the base of operations in many of the Teen Titans comics.
Early into the series' run, Executive Producer and Cartoon Network V.P. Sam Register responded to criticism regarding the style of the show:
However, while the series' creators initially stated that younger children were the intended audience for the series, Teen Titans Go! writer J. Torres notes that the progression and deeper themes of the show widened the appeal to a much broader audience:
Years after its cancellation, the show maintains a strong fan base, and has recently experienced a resurgence of popularity thanks to its addition to the cartoon lineup on Boomerang. Fans of the series seem to be drawn to the show by its emphasis on developing the stories of its relatable characters. Teen Titans was named the 83rd best animated series by IGN. Also, reruns have found their way back to the Cartoon Network lineup.
Impact on the comicsThe series has had an impact on the comics that initially inspired it. During DC's 52 event, Beast Boy adopts the purple and black outfit he wore on the show. Several years later, Beast Boy is given his pointed ears and fanged teeth originated by the series. In addition, the future Cyborg shown in the Titans Tomorrow storyline had the same armor pattern that was worn by his animated counterpart. The characters Mas Y Menos are brought into the comics during 52 as new recruits to the Titans, and later make a small cameo in the Final Crisis limited series. During 52, Joto is given the more politically-correct name "Hotspot" to match his cartoon counterpart. The most recent Aquagirl wears a costume with a similar design to the cartoon version of Aqualad. Writer Will Pfeifer brought Billy Numerous into the comics for a brief cameo during his tenure on Catwoman. Following the death of the original Gizmo (who was an adult in the comics), a second Gizmo inspired by the adolescent cartoon version, was created for the DC Special: Cyborg mini-series. Cinderblock was recently brought into the comics during a battle with the newest roster of Teen Titans.
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