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The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – Who Was the Second Terra Anyways?

Every week, we will be examining comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today, courtesy of a suggestion by my pal (and Titans Tower head honcho) Bill Walko, we look at the very convoluted origins (that’s right, origins) of the second superhero to call herself Terra.

Enjoy!

In the New Titans tie-in with Armageddon 2001, we meet the Titans of 10 years in the future (well, ten years in the future in 1991, that is)…

and one especially interesting member, Terra…

Who, of course, looks just like the former Titan who betrayed the team to Deathstroke and then died.

Later in their first appearance, the Titans learned that they had to go back in time…

In the first issue of Team Titans (the series starring these time-lost Titans) we learned Terra’s origin (Team Titans #1 had five variant editions, each one having the origin of a different member of the Team Titans). First, the Team Titans learn that she is a sleeper agent sent in by their enemy, Lord Chaos, but they discover what her true deal is…

and now that she sees Lord Chaos for the villain he is, she joins the Titans for real…

So that was the set-up for Terra’s time in Team Titans. She was from the future and was someone who was experimented on to make her look like the original Terra.

Then Zero Hour happened and Team Titans was canceled as most of the Team Titans turned out to be sleeper agents by Monarch/Extant/Hank Hall. They all disappeared except Mirage, Terra and the future version of Nightwing.

Mirage and Terra joined a new incarnation of the Titans…

After awhile, they discovered what their deal REALLY was…

Could it be? Could this Terra be the original Terra plucked from the time stream somehow?

At the end of the issue, she digs up the grave of the original Terra and, well, finds…

Right before this time, Geo-Force tries to connect with her…

And in the Titans Secret Files and Origins in 2000 (in a story co-written by future Titans writer Geoff Johns), Geo-Force gets a DNA test on Terra…

It all seemed kind of a moot discussion when, during the 52 storyline following Infinite Crisis, Terra was killed…

However, when a new hero called Terra showed up in the pages of Power Girl from a secret underground world, we finally learned the REAL truth about the second Terra…

So yeah, she was sent from the underground world to impersonate someone people would recognize and then I guess she was taken by the Time Trapper and brainwashed and dropped off in the future where she became a Team Titan and came back to the present where she eventually believed she was Tara Markov.

Ah….comics…never confusing at all!

34 Comments

Yeah, thats pretty confusing to say the least.

Great post.

Also, does everyone shout “No” instead of just being silent in horror, I think thats more effective.

Hoooooo boy.
I remember the confusion caused by all the reworking of the Team Titans origin (by the way, has Marv Wolfman ever said who he intended Deathwing to be?), but I didn’t know about all these subsequent games.
And of course, they could have explained the empty grave and the positive DNA test as a cloning job, so there’s no guarantee Terra II’s identity with the original (or a parallel world version of the original) was ever definite.

Now let us never speak of it again.

I didn’t know that explanation on Power Girl series.
But this remembers me of another thing: during Final Crisis, there was a one-shot named “DC Universe -Last Will and Testament”, written by Brad Meltzer.
In that one-shot, Geo-Force wants revenge on Deathstroke because the latter had killed his sister (the original Terra).
Well, Meltzer isn’t a continuity bastion… but I was certain of Terra’s death in 52… and I was certain that Geo-Force knew that that Terra was his real sister… so Black Adam had killed her, not Deathstroke after all, and Geo-Force knew that.
But now I see this explanation… was this Power Girl explanation released before Final Crisis?
I really gave up on DC after Final Crisis… hehe

By the way, speaking of Final Crisis…
Is there any exp[lanation for Vandal Savage not being the biblical Cain anymore?

Pre-reboot, I mean, of course… hehe

Nice one, Brian!

“I didn’t know that explanation on Power Girl series.” >> The explanation was actually in the TERRA mini-series, not in the pages of POWER GIRL. I can see the confusion.. same creative teams and the third Terra did befriend Peeg and appear in her book.

“Well, Meltzer isn’t a continuity bastion… but I was certain of Terra’s death in 52… and I was certain that Geo-Force knew that that Terra was his real sister… so Black Adam had killed her, not Deathstroke after all, and Geo-Force knew that.” >>> No, Brion was blaming Deathstroke for the death of his REAL sister, the first Terra. It was a bit limp that it took **this** Crisis to propel him into action, years after JUDAS CONTRACT, but there you go.

To be fair, Meltzer had plans for Geo-Force and Deathstroke in JLA but never got around to them, so that one shot sorta concluded a story beat that started there.

Also, Marv Wolfman NEVER wanted Terra 2 to be Terra 1, that later revelation with the Time Trapper and the graves was forced on him by the editor of the book.

Also, Geoff Johns had planned a TITANS L.A. mini-series with Ben Raab (following up their BEATS BOY mini-series) waaay back when that SECRET FILES story was published (in 1999 or 2000), so that “positive” DNA test was going to be addressed there.

The past few years leading up to the reboot completely ignored most continuity.

I remember a Green Arrow story that JT Krull wrote that completely messed up the details of the whole death of Reverse-Flash story. I remember Johns making Ronnie Raymond a college student again and completely ignored the whole Ostrander run. Etc. Etc.

It makes sense though. They were rebooting so they didn’t care about facts or details. Which is a shitty reason, but hey, whatever. Comics.

Great post. And some people wonder why people either drop collecting comic books. Or cannot buy, get into or understand comic books. A complicated character history and storyline like this shows exactly why some people can’t get what comics are about.

In this example the whole thing is such a mess.

I’d have been much simpler to say she is the same person, but was plucked from another reality. Nothing more complicated then that, and then get on with the story.

This reminds me of the story behind Reignfire in X-Force…

Oh yeah, that would be a good story for you to tell, Cronin (seemed like they kept changing their mind, and they had to pull something from a certain part of their anatomy to just end it fast)!

@Bill Walko

Thanks for the explanations! ;ob

So, lots of unfinished plots and/or editorial interference… not unusual in DC and Marvel… hehe

Vandal Savage was the Biblical Cain? I never heard that one.
But having him meet the HOM Cain would be a lot of fun.

If this was allowed to continue, they’d probably reveal the secret society was all a fabrication of another villain, maybe Luthor or Darkseid, who planted them underground as a part of some nefarious plan but that, in turn, was merely a manipulation by the Controllers or Guardians to offset some other Crisis but in fact, would have led to the exact Crisis that the Anti-Monitor had planned all along if Black Adam hadn’t punched out her heart.

Terra III was a fun character and she should’ve been a contender… but her immediate predecessor’s cluster-f of an origin (which has been detailed at its most lucid here, thanks Brian) kept that from ever happening. Sigh.

And thanks for bringing up the Titans LA mini that was cancelled, Bill Walko. I liked the “trial” story for in the Secret Origins book & was pretty bummed when it was canned.

See, this is the kind of nonsense that has reduced my enjoyment of comic books over the years. I had no problem when it was resolved that yes, the second Terra was Geo-Force’s sister, but that Geo-Force respected the second Terra enough to allow her to choose her own path in life, and not be burdened by the first Terra’s decisions that led to her death. In fact, I would have been satisfied if the second Terra turned out to be a clone. b/c she would have not been Terra, and would still be Geo-Force’s sister (in a way). But then, the third Terra shows up, and rather focus on her as a unique character, the writers pulled a hat trick and basically said that, no, you guys were wrong! The second Terra was really BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH! In a way, I’m glad the DCU “rebooted” itself because of this type of bad writing. Ugh.

I recall in Batman and the Outsiders #1 that Geo-Force was shot dead… then was revived because he was buried in the Earth.

The same could have happened with Tara if they didn’t put her in a coffin (and there was a pretty good reason at the time to place her in a coffin).

So when the empty coffin and positive DNA test was revealed, I presumed someone dug up the grave and reburied Tara in the earth to bring her back…

Gives that “We can still… bury… Terra.” line a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?

Xum

Still remember how my jaw dropped all those years ago when Terra showed up on that last page during Titans Hunt.

So Terra I’s corpse was where? Can’t recall if Krul explained where it had been in the Blackest Night Titans tie in.

and once again other teen titan character gets more messed up then donna troy for first the original terra dies only to have some one new come along and look and match her even down to a dna test proving she is terra . all due to the time trapper messing with her dna then turning out when digging up terras grave and empty coffin showing yep terra plucked from time and now only to be a fake after all by some aliens. what is with dc and their teen titans seeming to land more and more on this list.

Wow… Psylocke’s got nuthin’ on Terra!

Kinda makes me think comic book writers really do just pull stories out of their a$$, and make it up as they go along… ;-)

Aaaaaaah!!! My head really, really hurts. Make it stop, please!

Seriously, that was sooooo confusing.

@Fraser

This can be seen in Final Crisis – Revelations #1-5.

This is something that varies from amusing to exasperating but remains as inevitable as the sunrise in comics: if a new character appears who isn’t obviously a throwaway character, and their story fully and conclusively ends after they’ve appeared in enough issues for readers to remember their existence, SOME excuse will be found to use their character design and/or concept again.

If a hero dies heroically or a villain dies under pretty much any circumstances, they’ll come back from the dead (or turn out to have never died in the first place). That’s just understood. And if a new character turns out to be an old character in disguise (Ronin, Eric the Red, the Crimson Cowl, Xorn) then someone else will decide to use that identity again, so the name and costume don’t go to waste. And if a hero turns traitor and dies (Terra, the Swordsman, Fang of the Imperial Guard, Xorn again) they’ll be replaced by an extradimensional alternate version or a clone or someone with an uncanny resemblance to the dead traitor who uses their name and powers with no satisfactory explanation but whom we are assured is not the same person who betrayed the heroes.

I get that it sucks to put effort into designing a character only to have them written out and discarded, but, I don’t know, maybe don’t use designs you really like for a character that you know is going to go away some time soon? Or maybe have the traitor become a recurring villain instead of killing them and setting them up to inevitably be replaced by a new but no longer evil version of themself?

The other terrible comics thing this post points out is the extension of the “variant” that Team Titans had — variant INTERIORS. WTF was that all about? Fortunately, it didn’t really catch on. I think maybe Fathom did something like that too, but that’s the only other one I can think of right off. Any others that anyone knows of?

And because the pun works, this whole origin stuff was Terra-bull. Wah wah wah….

As someone who read Team Titans but nothing else, this explains why I never understood a whit of Team Titans. Doesn’t change Phil Jimenez’s art, though: still amazing, even when I was throroughly confused.

Thanks, the whole Terra thing always hurt my head.

@Travis Pelkie The short-lived Spider-Man spin-off Slingers had alternate interiors for the first issue. There were 4 versions, one for each character, that had an alternate middle telling the same events from different perspectives. I remember thinking the gimick was kinda cool at the time, but then I was just getting into a serious comics habit at the time and was much less cynical. Still, it’s a fun series, even if you do have to track down 4 copies of the first issue to get the “whole story”.

Huh? Color me confused. I’m glad I missed out on all of this. I think I’ll go back and read my Wolfman/Perez issues now.

DC=Dumb Comics.

Michael M Jones

April 30, 2012 at 12:19 pm

The whole Team Titans concept and execution was so bizarre and so terribly 90s. Especially when they started introducing multiple teams hiding out in our time, and killing them off, and stranding them in the present, and then erasing them…

Wacky stuff. And then the eye rolling spectacle of Battalion. And the clustersmack of Night/Deathwing, and evil Raven and no wonder I dropped Teen Titans for a while. The whole property felt radioactive after that.

dswynne, I doubt the reboot will help. Crisis was supposed to tidy up continuity. Then ZH was supposed to stop all the post-Crisis rebooting. If it longs run enough someone’s going to decide something needs to be fixed (particularly when a fair number of series haven’t been rebooted).

Weird continuity stuff aside, I need to find that “Terra” mini. I loved the Connor-drawn “Power Girl” run, and would love to have more like it.

As for the 90′s pages above, wow… there’s some really goofy 90′s designs in there. That costume Terra’s wearing when she digs up “her” grave? P.U.

Wow. Psylocke’s orgin has NOTHING on this. My head hurts…

That Black Adam punch, right there. Well done, comics!

Sorry for coming too late, but…

I hate continuity, I hate comic universes, I hate retconnings… These silly re-tellings AND the silly tries to accomodate every word and every mistake in the “universe” timeline were what made me give up Marvel & DC comics at age twenty (now I’m 36).

Only two sidenotes:
1) I remember reading an interview with Marv Wolfman where said he planned to reveal the Team Titans leader as an adult Danny Chase (a telekinectic boy –and Vigilante’s nephew– who figured out the New Titans’ identities)… Then the title was cancelled;

2) In Brazil, where I live, since “Tara ” means “sexual desire”, they rechristened her… Three times! First she was referred as “Tana”, then became “Tera”, and finally they sticked with “Dana”!

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