Teen Titans is one of those shows that progressed in quality with each season, hardly fluctuating at all. The show started out rather kid-oriented but became darker and more complex with each passing season (though season 5 was mostly one big fangasm). Season 2 is one of the better seasons and also one of the most memorable, as it adapts possibly the most famous storyline from the New Teen Titans comic book series by Marv Wolfman and George Perez.
Season 2 roughly adapts â€œthe Judas Contractâ€, but as you can guess, only imports a few of the basic plot elements and does its own thing with the concept. The first episode of the season, â€œHow Long is Foreverâ€, features Starfire being transported 20 years into a desolate future by the villainous Warp. The episode works as a foreshadowing of the events to come, as Starfire fears what might happen if the Titans drift apart (the eventual arrival of Terra causing a potential rift between the team). The showâ€™s version of Warp is a bit different from his comic book counterpart; heâ€™s British instead of French and is now a time traveler, where before he could just teleport from location to location. The episode also features Robin growing up to become Nightwing, but thankfully without that stupid mullet from the New Batman Adventures.
â€œEvery Dog has his Dayâ€ is my least favorite episode on the set; a Beast Boy spotlight where said character morphs into a dog and is forced to be the pet of a dimwitted alien. A bit childish, even for this show, and just doesnâ€™t contain much rewatch-value. â€œTerraâ€ introduces the main arc of this season, the title character Terra. Terra can command earth-itself and is immensely powerful, but has little control over her abilities. She is invited to join the Titans and makes fast friends with Beast Boy. However, a misunderstanding and her own unbalanced head causes her to secretly drift into Sladeâ€™s clutches. â€œOnly Humanâ€ is one of the better Cyborg spotlightâ€™s (though season 3 would be â€œhis seasonâ€). It features the hyper-competative robot, Atlas, taking the Titans hostage and Cyborg having to overcome his cybernetic limitations to save his friends. A really good character piece enhanced by an awesome voice over from Keith David as Atlas.
â€œFear Itselfâ€ was written by Dwayne MacDuffie, one of the writers of Justice League Unlimited, and is an excellent Raven spotlight. After battling the crazy fanboy, Control Freak, the Titans rent a horror movie and return home. Weird things start to happen all over Titans Tower as monsters pick the Titans off one-by-one, leaving Raven alone to cope with her fears. Control Freak is one of the more entertaining original villains to come out of the series, apparently originally intended to be a foe for Impulse back when MacDuffie was writing for that book. Youâ€™ll get to see more of him in later seasons.
â€œDate with Destinyâ€ is my second least favorite episode on the set, though much funnier than â€œEvery Dog has his Dayâ€. Killer Moth, a villain with a horde of mutant moth monsters, forces Robin to take his bratty daughter, Kitten, to her Junior Prom. This causes Starfire to go mad with jealousy, as she has had a crush on Robin since the first episode. The episode is funny, though Kittenâ€™s annoying antics can really grate on the nerves. Thomas Haden Church providing the voice of Killer Moth is one of the most â€œWTFâ€ things Iâ€™ve seen in this show; I couldnâ€™t believe it was him. Not one of my favorite episodes, but I donâ€™t hate it. â€œTransformationâ€ is Starfireâ€™s spotlight episode, where she deals with Tamaranian puberty and begins changing into something she fears will be hideus. A sort of â€œmehâ€ episode with a life lesson for the younger set thatâ€™s about as subtle as a steamroller. The storybook-style narration by the late Tony Jaye is a plus, though.
â€œTitan Risingâ€ brings the return of Terra, who officially joins the team and becomes a Titan after helping to stop Slade from sinking Titanâ€™s Tower into the ground. She has her own agenda, though. A good Terra episode and shows the Titans starting to really like her. Kind of depressing, too, as you know from the start that sheâ€™s only going to betray them. â€œWinner Take Allâ€ has the Master of Games summon Robin, Beast Boy, Cyborg, Aqualad, Speedy, Gizmo, Hot Spot and Wildebeest to compete in a supposedly friendly tournament to see who the greatest young hero on Earth is. In reality, the Master of Games is absorbing the defeated warriors and stealing their powers. An awesome episode; I totally dig the video game gags within it. One of MacDuffieâ€™s best episodes. Also introduces a bunch of characters from the comic. Speedy gets the big spotlight and will be one of the more recognizable expansion Titans. Hot Spot (called Joto in the comics) doesnâ€™t do or say much, and neither does Wildebeest, Iâ€™m afraid. Aqualad puts up a good fight, though, and this is still easily the best interpretation of the character, as heâ€™s closer to Tempest (the hero Aqualad became when he grew up in the comics) than the lame-o Aquaman sidekick with the curly hair.
â€œBetrayedâ€ kicks Terraâ€™s arc into high-gear, as sheâ€¦betrays her fellow Titans to Slade. The cartoon portrays Terra in a much more sympathetic light than in the comics, where she was pure evil. Here she has legitimate feelings for Beast Boy and is more confused and frightened, leading to her partnership with Slade, rather than just being an evil mercenary. The ending with Beast Boy is quite sad, too. â€œFracturedâ€ is the comic relief episode of the season. Teen Titans follows a formula of having a wacky comedy episode right before the season finale, and this one features the appearance of Larry, Robinâ€™s â€œDNA buddyâ€ from the 4.9th Dimension who can bend reality with his magic finger. At the same time, the bad guy Johnny Rancid has broken Robinâ€™s arm, and every time Larry tries to help he only makes things worse. â€œLarryâ€ is actually based on the character â€œBat-Miteâ€ from the Silver Age Batman comics, who was Batmanâ€™s biggest fan from the 5th Dimension and would try to use his powers to help, only to make things worse. Itâ€™s not my favorite of the â€œwackyâ€ comedy relief episodes, not being as good as either Mad Mod episodes or the Mumbo episode, but nowhere near as bad as the Mother May-Eye episode.
The â€œAftershockâ€ two-parter is the big season finale. Terra attacks the Titans with full force, springing Plasmus, Cinderblock and Overload from prison. After going easy on her for an episode and trying to appeal to the Titan within her, the team eventually decides that sheâ€™s completely gone bad and choose to quit pulling their punches for their final showdown. A decent end for Terra, and a bit of a moving sequence, which makes use of the more sympathetic angle applied to this incarnation of the character. Some really good animation, too, in these episodes; some of Dong Wooâ€™s best fight sequences and choreography.
Teen Titans season 2 is an overall improvement over season 1 and does an admirable job of adapting the most famous Teen Titans storyline for the medium. Great animation, splendid voice acting, and only a few weak links in the whole chain. Lots more characters from the comic, too. Definitely a recommendation.