Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tales of Three Terras

Here's an article I just wrote to sort out the confusion of the Three Terras.

Sometimes it's not easy being ye ol' moderator of titanstower.som. Take, oh, Terra for instance. The ever-shifting origin of Terra 2 was a bit of a problem.... and the ambiguity of her origin makes it hard to establish a definitive bio for Terra 1 and Terra 2.

Now, throw in a third Terra into the mix. One who has connections to both Terras. Sort of, but not really. See, even those plans got a bit sidelined between TERRA #3 and TERRA #4, due to some of the events of FINAL CRISIS: LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT. I feel for writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, who made many changes to Terra 3's backstory due to editorial direction. Heck, Atlee wasn't even "Terra" at all, originally. They were even asked to retrofit their original pitch into an "all-new Terra", cuz DC loves their "new faces under familiar masks" schick. So much so, that Terra is a legacy character now.

Then, there's the revelations of FINAL CRISIS: LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT. In that book, Deathstroke tells Geo-Force that he injected Terra with drugs, which eventually drove her insane. Which, of course, goes against the whole point of the original "Judas Contract" storyline.

Let's see it in Marv Wolfman's own words: "I enjoyed playing the game for two years," Wolfman says. "Whenever anyone would ask 'ls a Titan going to die?' I said no. [laughs] And I was honest about it, because in my mind she was never a Titan, and she wasn't even a traitor. She was a very sick person."

And that, my friends, was the tragedy of Terra. That was the sad truth Marv and George laid out from the very beginning. The first Terra was no victim. This is even confirmed by Deathstroke several times during "Judas Contract" and hammered in in TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #55. Making Terra a victim of Slade's evil serum dilutes "The Judas Contract" in many ways.

So, anyway, back to our original programming.. I've updated the 3 Terra pages. I've left the original Terra's backstory intact, with no mention of Slade's drugging of Terra. Deathstroke did tell that to Geo-Force during a fight, where each player was trying to get a psychological edge on the other. Until it becomes absolute cannon, I'm preserving Terra's story the way Marv & George intended it. I did update Geo-Force's entry with that information, since it pertains to him and his current storyline.


I did the best I could with Terra 2's backstory, but there's still some holes in that one as well. Like, didn't the Stratans wonder what happened to Terra 2 when the Time Trapper placed her 10 years in the future? And was she effectively defending Strata even not knowing where she was from? Best not to think too much about it, I suppose.

So, happy reading the Tales of Three Terras! I've added some images and information in Terra 1 and Terra 2, and also created a page for Terra 3.

Terra 1

Terra 2

Terra 3

The lesson here: Don't mess with the classics.


  • At 2:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do you know, I actually breathed a sigh of releif when this latest retcon of a retcon happened. Know why? Because *Terra 2 isn't Terra 1*. That's one of the very very very few things Didio's gotten right.

    As for Terra 1's origin being screwed up....well, here's the thing. the attitude of Marv and George in writing Terra 1, the idea that ANYTHING is okay to do to a character so long as it, in some way, makes a "good" or "classic" story, is part of what opened the door to people like Didio pulling the garbage they're pulling now. It set the precedent that any and every character is fair game. It opened the door to all the stuff Marv didn't want later, the villifcation of Jericho, the creation of Terra 2 in the first place, and the later retcon that implied that she might, in fact, be Terra 1, that late stage of his run when he wasn't allowed to be the plotter, what happened to Bart, what happened to Rose, heck, what happened to Conner Kent, from the moment Lex was revealed to be one of his "fathers" onward...one of the reasons that happened was the rationale and philosophy behind the "classic" Judas Contract coming back around and biting him--and the rest of us--in the backside. We're far too ready to embrace tragedy as "classic", and hopeful stories of heroes being heroes who try to make the world better as "lightweight" or "shallow". The industry has made it's bed, and now we CAN'T lie in it.

    And I fully beleive that Atlee herself, being who she is and having the powers that she has, can ressurect Terra 2 at any time. Any time Didio isn't in charge, that is.

    As for what Atlee could have been if her creators had been allowed to do their jobs? That's just more Didio for you.


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