The writer who put Harley Quinn in the Suicide Squad is giving the Joker’s main squeeze her edge back. Seasoned comics writer Adam Glass is temporarily taking over the Teen Titans series, and he’s bringing his favorite crazed DC villain with him.
At the same time, Glass is also kicking off a new era for the DC Universe’s favorite adolescent superhero squad of the DC Universe. In the upcoming one-shot comic, the Teen Titans will retreat from the public eye to operate in the shadows — and away from the adult supervision of the Justice League.
In the aftermath of DC’s recent blockbuster crossovers Dark Knights: Metal and Justice League: No Justice, the tweens of the DCU begin anew, with a fresh team roster and a fresh writer. Glass, in his triumphant return to DC, starts his Teen Titans run on June 27 with the one-shot Teen Titans Special #1, illustrated by Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques, and Sunny Gho. He’ll continue with Teen Titans #20, out July 25.
The Teen Titans, made up of Robin (Batman’s son Damian Wayne), Red Arrow, and Kid Flash (Wally West II), recruit a new crop of teenaged superheroes: Djinn (a young-looking 8,000-year-old magic genie), Roadhouse (a shape-shifting YouTuber), and Crush, the teenaged daughter of the galaxy’s most metal bounty hunter, Lobo.
But in Teen Titans Special #1, there’s one extra special guest-starring role: Harley Quinn. In the one-shot, Glass aims to give the Clown Princess of Crime an aura of darkness she hasn’t had in some time. After all, it was Glass who made Harley a member of Task Force X back in his 2011 Suicide Squad series, which set her up for her breakout stardom in the 2016 movie.
Without giving away spoilers, let’s just say an encounter with Harley Quinn winds up deadly for one unfortunate soul.
“It was like wanting to visit an old friend,” Glass tells Inverse about his inclusion of Harley in Teen Titans Special. “I’ve been hearing her voice in my head. I was really happy to write her, and get back to her, and my interpretation of her. Because I do see her as a dark anti-hero.”
Back in 2011, at the onset of “The New 52” relaunch, Glass came up with the idea of making Harley Quinn, who’s origins can be traced back to the acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series, into a member of the lethal anti-hero team.
“When I put Harley in Suicide Squad, the response was, ‘Why?’” Glass remembers. “I loved her as a character and I knew she would round out the book. I realized that, away from the Joker, she would become her own character.”
But when Glass ended his run on Suicide Squad a few years later, he lost touch with his favorite character. “I didn’t keep up what was happening with Harley,” he says. “I was heartbroken to leave her. I fell in love with writing her, it would hurt too much to see what other people were doing with her at the time.”
After 2013, Glass focused on television (as well as writing his creator-owned series Rough Riders for AfterShock), but a phone call with DC co-publisher Dan DiDio led to Glass’ return.
“When I got the call from Dan, I wrote two titles down,” says Glass, “I was so busy, there were only two DC titles I’d say yes to. One was Doom Patrol. The other was Teen Titans.” So when DiDio offered Teen Titans, Glass jumped at the opportunity.
Influenced by comic legends Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, who made some of the definitive Teen Titans stories in history, Glass is debuting new heroes just as his predecessors did.
“There is no Teen Titans without an arrow, a speedster, and a Robin,” Glass explains, “but we have three new characters created in the way George Perez and Marv Wolfman introduced Cyborg, Raven, and a new Beast Boy. In the spirit of that we’re trying to do something similar, which is give them new blood.”
Adding new blood won’t be easy. In citing another teen team comic — X-Men by Chris Claremont — Glass says the team will have to adjust to a new dynamic.
“What I used to love about Claremont’s X-Men was that they would work in the Danger Room and mess up,” he says. “I wanted to play that here too. This isn’t a smooth operation. This is kids playing a big adult game. In the real world, what would we do if 14-year-old kids were running around in costumes and superpowers? We’d lose our effing mind.”
Glass further teases that the new Teen Titans are “trying to lay low” and “do things behind the scenes.” but this becomes an issue when the Justice League finds out.
“A team that operates in the shadows and plays by its own rules might give them conflict with the adult heroes down the line,” Glass says. “Once these guys are seen and heard, the grown-ups are gonna go, ‘What are you doing?’”
Then, without missing a beat, he answers his own question.
“They’re going to rewrite the way it means to be a superhero.”
Teen Titans Special #1 hits shelves on June 27.