DC Universe’s Titans Trailer Completely Misses the Point of Robin


DC has finally unveiled more information about its streaming service, DC Universe. With that, they've also released a trailer for the first show on that service, Titans

Now before I rip into this trailer, let me say, I was rooting for DC Universe. First, I've been waiting on Titans since the first time it was mentioned a couple years ago. Originally it was going to be on cable TV (I believe TNT) then it got dropped and we didn't hear anything about it. When news of DC putting together a streaming service came out, it made sense that Titans would drop there. The images of Brenton Thwaites in the Robin suit also got me excited. Sure, it was playing Dick Grayson but seemed to be using Tim Drake's bow staff and costume but who cared, we were finally getting what looked like a comic accurate Robin. I wasn't even phased by the set photos of Beast Boy and the bad wig on Anna Diop's Starfire.

Then this trailer dropped.

Dick Grayson covered in blood.

Dick Grayson dropping bodies with a gun.

Dick Grayson seemingly breaking a guy's neck (Gotta love the extra emphasis they put on it with the sound effect...great job guys)

Dick Grayson saying "Fuck Batman"

What was anyone involved in this thinking? Were they actually thinking? Did they not read the room and see that the "Dark, Grim" Snyder Murderverse tone isn't exactly a hit with DC comic fans. In an interview with Polygon, Goeff Johns tried to explain the "Fuck Batman" line and the tone of the show:

"The trailer shows a piece of the tone of the show — the show’s not all that. But it does make you go, ‘Why is he saying [F**k Batman?]’ If you look at when Robin first left Batman in the comics, there was a lot of uneasiness and him being lost. Titans is really a series about these different characters that are all lost in their lives; just like the greatest comic book Titans run ever, by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, it’s about all these lost characters find one another. And they’re all struggling with something, and Robin is clearly struggling with his past with Batman."

I like Geoff Johns. I enjoy most things he writes. But I have to be honest. When it comes to live action things, he doesn't exactly inspire confidence. His name was used to try to ease our fears about BvS, Suicide Squad and Justice League and the results weren't exactly great. If the tone of the trailer doesn't represent the tone of the show, then why doesn't the trailer have multiple tones? Why is the whole trailer dark and grim and quite frankly, depressing? This whole "Who are you gonna believe? My words or your lying eyes?" deal that DC tries to pull with it's live action stuff is getting annoying. Also, how much is Johns really involved with this considering the new role and focus he has on the comics side? We're still waiting on Doomsday Clock to be finished (the delay on this has been absurd) and now he's getting a new Shazam monthly among other things. 

It feels like DC either doesn't get or doesn't like their own characters (maybe both). Yes, throughout the comics the Teen Titans go through it. They hit some really rough times. They lose friends, family and members. But through it all, they're friends.  Hell, one of the points of the Titans is so that they don't go down the same path as their mentors. Yes, Dick Grayson gives up being Robin and has some issues with his past with Batman/Bruce. But Dick also has a level of respect for Bruce that would never let him do anything like what we saw in the trailer. Dick Grayson would never brutalize a bunch of criminals, use a gun, snap a neck and say "Fuck Batman" WHILE WEARING THE ROBIN SUIT. It's as if Titans rolled up all the Robins (that they've misunderstood) into one character because they think they're interchangeable when the reality is they're each distinctive. 

I'm not sure DC has realized they can do serious, adult themes without making everything visually dark and murdery. You can show us that Dick is having issues reconciling his relationship with Bruce/Batman and not have him acting out of character. You don't have to turn out the lights in every scene to convene a "dark and disturbing tone". Maybe they should go look over Marv Wolfman and George Perez's Teen Titans run again. Wolfman and Perez put those kids through the ringer but you never forget that they're kids, that they have fun and that vibrant colors don't take away from the seriousness of dark times.

At $7.99 a month I'm not sure DC Universe is even worth checking out this clusterfuck. I'm still waiting to hear more about how many comics they plan on offering on their non-unlimited unlimited series and how frequently new books will arrive. Access to the comics is what's going to get me to sign up for the service. This mess they're calling Titans isn't doing it for me.


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Charles (Kriss)

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