Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Face-Off: The All-New, All-Different X-Men, or the New Teen Titans?

Doug:  Today's main event features two teams that dominated the late- and post-Bronze Age.  Under the steering of hall-of-fame creative teams Claremont-Byrne-Austin and Wolfman-Perez-Tanghal, these conglomerations of young heroes captured everyone's imagination and squared off in the battle for market share between Marvel and DC.  So let's hear your memories of these teams in their hey-days, specifically in terms of your preference for one over the other.  If you want to get really geeky, you can talk about optimal line-ups, who would win in a real put-'em-up, and so forth.  Hey, no one's watching...



J.A. Morris said...

No contest here, the X-men. I like the Titans okay (especially the Perez art) but Robin was their leader, I can't get behind that.

More later perhaps, when I'm more awake.

Edo Bosnar said...

No contest for me, either: X-men. I suppose it should be the other way around, since I was there for NTT at the ground-floor level with issue #1, while I only started regularly reading X-men with issue #120. However, that and subsequent issues of X-men just knocked my socks off like no other series.
As for the suggested exercise in ultimate geekery, I think X-men could take NTT. In fact, I think it would be no problem for that tight little 5-member unit (Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler & Wolverine), just because of their greater experience, better teamwork and the fact that Cyclops is the leader. You can add Banshee or Kitty to maybe shave about 10-15 minutes off the time it would take them to send the Titans packing.
That said, the X-men/Titans team-up is probably my all-time favorite Marvel/DC crossover (o.k., it's tied with Byrne's Batman & Captain America...)

david_b said...

Preferring Perez's Titans, but the core X-team like Edo brought up was pretty powerful. X-Men in its latter Bronze glory was a title I 'wanted to like' in hindsight, but never quite got into, despite the interesting storylines and beautiful Byrne art. I'd spend my cash on the old Silver X-Men titles with Adams and others.

Byrne drawing NTT..? That Byrne-drawn Titans annual didn't work for me at all (imagine George Tuska drawing Spiderman...), great idea in theory, nada in execution. The Titans were also past their prime by that point.

As much as both companies tried to even out both teams in terms of power for the cross-over ideas, power-wise I'd probably give the edge to Marvel. As for overall story/character enjoyment, I'd stick with the (pre-Jericho) Titans.

dbutler16 said...

Like Edo Bosnar, I started collecting NTT almost from the beginning, but didn't really discover the X-Men till around issue #120. I too would choose the X-Men, though I do love the New Teen Titans as well, especially the Perez art. Obviously, the NTT were a bit of an X-Men knockoff, but beyond that I just loved the international flavor of the X-Men, the looks of the characters, and the various personalities. It just seems to me like the stories in the X-Men are more memorable and, except for Slade and Trigon, the Titans’ opponents weren't as good. However, I also don't quite think the Titans jumped the shark the way the X-Men did. However, I will take that run of the X-Men from Giant Size #1 through #143 over any Titans run.

david_b said...

IMHO, the Titans jumped shark when Perez left, coupled with that agonizingly long, depressing Brother Blood/Speedy/Cheshire period.

The post-Perez issues were not an investment I was particularly happy with..

J.A. Morris said...

david_b wrote:

"Byrne drawing NTT..? That Byrne-drawn Titans annual didn't work for me at all..."

Do you mean this annual?


Not that great, but in fairness, it was "inked" by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, so we probably saw as much of him as Byrne. It's amazing that two artists as great as they were couldn't do better in that annual.

Karen said...

David, that was pretty much my feeling about the Titans as well -not the same once Perez was gone. And I never cared for Trigon.

I asked in another thread but I think you might have missed it: is your current avatar the Eaglemoss lead figurine of Yellowjacket?

nude0007 said...

Although I am tempted to just go with the x-men, who have to be the all time best team at this era, the Teen Titans were also very good at this time and haven't been since just like the x-men. I loved them both. I wish they had not got rid of Thunderbird so quickly, although it seems like he was gonna be played the stereotypical hothead indian and his powers were not very unique. costumes were at their best at this time for both teams, possibly with the exception of robin.

Chuck Wells said...

Too close to call on these, as they were each perfect comics series, but Cockrum on X-Men very narrowly edges out the classic Titans creative team as a fave.

Sadly both at DC and Marvel, a succession of creators and editors in a misbegotten effort to catch this kind of thunder all over again, has changed, altered and dicked around with these characters to the extent that these heroic characters are beyond recognizable.

david_b said...

J.A., Yes, that was the book. Much like some folks lament of Adams during the Kree-Skrull War, technically the artistry was considered beautiful, but it didn't work. I believe it was around the same time that Byrne started drawing the 'Man of Steel' and other titles at DC, so the idea to me was DC knew he was hot and every book would immediately sell better with his 'magic touch'..

The fact I cannot recall the story other than not liking it much means speaks volumes.

Karen, a lot of folks felt the same way we did. Not nearly as bad as the mutant uber-overload at the House of Ideas during this same period, but the story ideas became too depressing, drawn out, and wasn't worth the interest, especially when with my limited income, I preferred to spend the $$ on the back issues instead of new ones. Frankly, I really missed Robin and Kid Flash. The fun (and energy) dried up immediately.

My avatar..? No, no one probably noticed, but I was flipping the same one horizontally back and forth a few days ago for fun. Still the Legends YJ figure, just added some embellishment.

William said...

Back in the day I read and loved both of these books pretty much equally (I started reading X-Men regularly around issue #111 and the New Teen Titans from issue #2). However, looking back, I'd have to say the X-Men of that era holds up much better over time compared with NTT. I have every issue of the X-Men (mostly in trades and hardcovers) from Giant Size #1 through Byrne's last issue. With the Titans I only have a couple of trade paperbacks ("Terra Incognito" and "The Judas Contract") and that's it.

What's funny is that both books greatly suffered when their respective artists were gone. For me, the quality and enjoyment of the X-Men dropped like a lead balloon when Byrne left, and the same for the Teen Titans after Perez.

Garett said...

I'll go against the grain here and say that Teen Titans beats out X-Men. I recently read through the Omnibus #1, and it rocks! I agree that the art was a big draw (pun there somewhere?) on both series. For me the Titans started sliding before Perez left--I remember dropping it in the early 40s.

I loved the Alpha Flight story in X-Men, and the Savage Land was pretty good, but the Dark Phoenix story doesn't hold my interest like it used to. Was mind-blowing back in the day! I voted for Batman over it in the current poll. I think Perez's art is sparking me much more than Byrne's these days--like the structure vs Byrne's curviness.

Robin as leader isn't too cool I'll grant you, but he is cool for the only time in his life in this series! As for a battle, we all know it would be over in 1/4 second as Kid Flash takes everyone out and has time for tea. ; )

I prefer Wolfman's writing to Claremont--seems to me Claremont is too wordy, Wolfman more concise. Loved the story with ancient Greek gods--perfect for Perez! The Doom Patrol story was also good. I'm not a fan of the Trigon character. Starfire was a fantastic creation, Changeling for humour. As a side note they added Cyborg into the new Jim Lee JLA, and he plays a key role in their origin.

Garcia Lopez did a fine job on about 5 issues of Titans.

Anonymous said...

No contest here people - X-men by a wide margin! Sure, Perez' art was gorgeous but the Claremont/Byrne/Austin combination was unbeatable at its peak. Byrne's departure signalled the end of that book's dominance over NTT.

- Mike from Trinidad & Tobago.

humanbelly said...

Y'know, this is rather embarassing, but I've never read a single issue of New Teen Titans-- although I was certainly aware of how popular it was.
Total Marvel Zombie during their hey-day. Am I in for some good times if I pick up their omnibus?


david_b said...

HB.., pick up a copy of any NTT issue before 39 and it'll be a treat. Fresh characters, nice team cohesiveness, good villains, interesting personality growth, you'll quickly see why it was the shot DC needed at just the right time.

Oh, and Perez at his best.

Fred W. Hill said...

Like HB, I never read an issue of Teen Titans, although I did get that team up with the X-Men. I started collecting a few DC's later but I was still too much of a Marvel zombie to get into the TT's. On the other hand, I started collecting the X-Men from when their mag was still in reprints in the early '70s. As I generally liked Wolfman's writing and loved Perez' art I'm sure I would have enjoyed the Titans as much as I did the X-Men but even collecting habits can be hard to break!

Andreas Krauß said...

yaHmm. I'd say X-Men was the better book.

About the only things the Titans had going for them were Robin (which vanished when Dick was warped into Nightwing), Terra (which also went away when she was revealed first as a traitor and then killed herself), Raven (quickly undermined by the creators themselves), Jericho (who only turned up when the Titans had already begun their downwards slide, so he doesn't count), Trigon (favorite villain ever, but he was used only 3 times in a run of 16 years, so he wasn't much of an asset), and of course the artistic power of Perez and the inspirational writing of Wolfman.

The X-Men, however remained fresh and exiting throughout almost their whole run-- until after INFERNO, in fact.

The Titans, meanwhile? Well, they lost their way early on, beginning in New Teen Titans #23. That was where the rot began to set in. First, it was"Drama Queen galore." Then, it was "It's not about battles! It's about the characters!!", resulting in Robin losing himself to Nightwing, Terra being introduced as an villainess pretending to be a misfit heroine, an obscene obsession with the problems of the characters, an seemingly endless stream of "Very SPECIAL Issues of..." and the gradual obliterating of just everything likeable about the Titans.

Even Perez went in on the act, overdeveloping his style, becoming interested more in drawing ever more and more realistic, until his art lost its beauty and his worlds were becoming populated by ugly people who were not looking nice like comic book people but were looking ugly like people from the streets, yet were forever wearing sappy grins as if they were fools with fat round cheeks.

And this was in less than 40 issues.

Meanwhile, The X-Men have lots of interesting storylines, villains, off-shots (X-Factor, the New Mutants), and even highly successful supporting characters, such as Illyanna, the girl called Magick.

Whereas the only 3 storylines from the Titans that stand out were Titans 1, 3-5 (The Coming of Trigon), Titans #11-12 (The War between the Titans & the Olympians), Titans vol 2#1-5 (The Terror of Trigon) and the Judas Contract.

And since the Judas Contract destroyed Robin and killed off Terra, its at the same time one of the worst titans tales.

So, yeah, the X-Men run has it all over the Titans' run.

Oh, and P.S.:

If the Muties & the Titans ever fought, the Titans would WIN, because they have the power of Raven, Kid-Flash, Wonder Girl, Cyborg, Starfire and Changeling on their side, as well as the brains of Robin.

All the time crying "Woe is me! All me!!" may help the X-Men to sell comics, but it wouldn't stop the Titans from totaling the X-Men. (Well, maybe it would stop Raven...)

spencer said...

IN totality, I would go with the X-Men. Better concept (mutants, etc.). But for best story, nothing, not even the Phoenix saga, is as good as The Judas Contract. So I disagree with some on here :)

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