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  #1  
Old 10-13-2004, 09:18 AM
js_africanus js_africanus is offline
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Finally, a Raven-centered episode of Teen Titans 10/9

Yeah, I know she's just a Teen Titan; but I can't get enough of her anyway. She's got the coolest power of them all and is the most sensible of the bunch.

While I've seen Raven-oriented episodes, they've not been Raven-centered to the extent that the other characters have been featured. It was nice to see her get the screen time she deserves, both as a character and as an inappropriately drawn teenager.

Frankly, she should be the leader of the group. What's Robin's big goal in life? To be some silver spoon's sidekick? The kid may be a closet genius; but he has no sense whatsoever. Raven is the only one in the group capable of the higher-level, tactical thought required for them to really excel. It's definately time for a coup.
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  #2  
Old 10-13-2004, 09:53 AM
Stonebow Stonebow is offline
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I've never really followed the DC universe, but wasn't Raven the founder of the Titans, even if Robin is nominal leader? Was this true in the TT series as well?

I seem to remember something to that effect during the Titans/X-Men crossover in the 80s, though I could be wrong.
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  #3  
Old 10-13-2004, 10:04 AM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Waitaminit...she falls in love with a character from a book, stays in her room for a week, gets involved with dark magic which unleashes a firebreathing dragon that wrecks part of Titan's Tower, and she's got more sense than Robin?
No way! Robin's the man! Well, the boy (wonder).
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  #4  
Old 10-13-2004, 10:54 AM
js_africanus js_africanus is offline
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Originally Posted by pravnik
Waitaminit...she falls in love with a character from a book, stays in her room for a week, gets involved with dark magic which unleashes a firebreathing dragon that wrecks part of Titan's Tower, and she's got more sense than Robin?
First off, since the character from the book was, in fact, real, your representation is a bit off. Second, she's never tried to beat information out of an innocent bystander. Third, a week-long obsession with a good book is normal; a life-long obsession with a strange, masked villian is not normal. Third, she got rid of the dragon easily with creative problem solving, while Manic-Boy's major combat innovation is to have Starfire throw him at the enemy so that he can break his hand even more efficiently.

Robin may be good at what he does; but he ain't officer material. Raven is the thinker of the bunch. She could just use a little assertiveness training.
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  #5  
Old 10-13-2004, 11:16 AM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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Originally Posted by js_africanus
Robin may be good at what he does; but he ain't officer material. Raven is the thinker of the bunch. She could just use a little assertiveness training.
I've never watched the animated Teen Titans, so I'm going by comic book continuity here (and am therefore totally talking out of my ass), but considering what Raven's got lurking underneath the surface of her calm veneer, and considering a reasonable fear of releasing it, I've always understood why she took a behind-the-throne role in the organization.
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  #6  
Old 10-13-2004, 11:50 AM
js_africanus js_africanus is offline
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Originally Posted by jayjay
I've never watched the animated Teen Titans, so I'm going by comic book continuity here (and am therefore totally talking out of my ass), but considering what Raven's got lurking underneath the surface of her calm veneer, and considering a reasonable fear of releasing it, I've always understood why she took a behind-the-throne role in the organization.
Never saw the comic book. I never even knew there was a Raven until I happened to hit upon the show while channel surfing. Based on the goths I've known, I figure that she isn't that dark relative to most people; she just enjoys the genre more.

I'm just joking, of course, about Robin being a doofus...though if pressed, I'd still argue that she's the one best fit to lead the group.
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  #7  
Old 10-13-2004, 01:15 PM
susan_foster susan_foster is offline
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There were a couple other Raven-centered episodes - and I personally think this past weekends' was the weakest of the lot. Nevermore I think is the best - but Switched also gets a chance to open doors between Starfire and Raven.

Susan
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  #8  
Old 10-13-2004, 01:20 PM
js_africanus js_africanus is offline
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Originally Posted by susan_foster
There were a couple other Raven-centered episodes - and I personally think this past weekends' was the weakest of the lot. Nevermore I think is the best - but Switched also gets a chance to open doors between Starfire and Raven.
I haven't seen that many. I saw the one where she insists on not being scared and it comes out by haunting the place. I can't recall any others.
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  #9  
Old 10-13-2004, 02:27 PM
Odesio Odesio is offline
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Originally Posted by js_africanus
While I've seen Raven-oriented episodes, they've not been Raven-centered to the extent that the other characters have been featured. It was nice to see her get the screen time she deserves, both as a character and as an inappropriately drawn teenager.
Inappropriate? Have you drive by a high school lately?

Marc
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  #10  
Old 10-13-2004, 02:48 PM
js_africanus js_africanus is offline
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Originally Posted by MGibson
Inappropriate? Have you drive by a high school lately?
As a matter of fact, I haven't. I'm thinking that I'll go ahead and not make that a habit.
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  #11  
Old 10-13-2004, 03:59 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Originally Posted by js_africanus
First off, since the character from the book was, in fact, real, your representation is a bit off. Second, she's never tried to beat information out of an innocent bystander. Third, a week-long obsession with a good book is normal; a life-long obsession with a strange, masked villian is not normal. Third, she got rid of the dragon easily with creative problem solving, while Manic-Boy's major combat innovation is to have Starfire throw him at the enemy so that he can break his hand even more efficiently.

Robin may be good at what he does; but he ain't officer material. Raven is the thinker of the bunch. She could just use a little assertiveness training.
In the "Apprentice" episode, Robin's seemingly over-the-top behavior is more than understandable under the circumstances. The entire city is in danger of being frozen in time by Slade's chronoton detonator, and Robin is driven by his desire to save millions of lives. His ferocity in singlehandedly destroying every one of Slade's robots leaves the rest of the team in awe, and his overzealous grabbing the lapels of an innocent bystander too close to the action was an out of character lapse from an otherwise conscientious young hero that only underscored the considerable strain he was under and his grim determination to save the city.

Raven's a good kid, but her spending a week in her room wasn't just an obsession with a good book, it was dabbling in magical arts of a dubious origin with a total stranger, not out of a desire to stop a villain or save lives, but to be "understood" by a kindred spirit/potential love interest and not be thought "creepy." She's lost control of her anger and her powers as well, almost killing Dr. Light until she was restrained by her teammates. Robin's flaws stem from exactly the qualities makes him a good leader--he's fiercely and intelligently determined. The team recognizes this and follows his lead accodingly. Raven's a loner, Robin's a leader.
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  #12  
Old 10-13-2004, 04:14 PM
Ranchoth Ranchoth is offline
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Plus, Robin has the one quality needed for a leader...he can preface every command by yelling "TITANS!" as loud as he can. Poor Raven's gravely little voice'd get worn out in a couple of days.

I'd say she'd make an excellent deputy commander, at least. Kind of like Spock on Star Trek.
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  #13  
Old 10-13-2004, 04:35 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Raven may be the smartest, most tactically aware member of the group, but she'd be a crap leader. She just doesn't have the charisma; or rather, the right kind of charisma. I just can't see her inspiring the rest of the Titans the way Robin does. The Spock parrallel Ranchoth made is spot-on. Spock was smarter, stronger, and more experienced than Kirk, but there's no way Spock could elicit the loyalty and sacrifice that Kirk could get out of his crew. He's better as a second in command, where he can offer his expertise to a competent leader when the situation calls for it, without having to deal with all those humans and their kooky emotions.

Robin's got the two characteristics most important in a leader: he knows how to get people to follow him, and he knows how to delegate tasks to other team members. Raven's too much of a loner, and is too reluctant to ask for help from the rest of the team: if she were leader, she'd probably try to do everything herself and get overwhelmed.
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  #14  
Old 10-13-2004, 07:48 PM
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Robin has the best reason of all why he is leader: he is purely human, in a mostly-human world. That's the reason why Batman leads Justice League and Tony Stark leads the Avengers: as the human face of the group, they can do the pr circuit.

And believe it or not, Raven as drawn, compared to teen girls today, is a bit Sarah Michelle Gellar-esqe in the plump department.
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  #15  
Old 10-13-2004, 07:50 PM
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Oh, Captain America leads the Avengers, after Tony left the group.
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  #16  
Old 10-14-2004, 09:24 AM
js_africanus js_africanus is offline
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Originally Posted by Ranchoth
Plus, Robin has the one quality needed for a leader...he can preface every command by yelling "TITANS!" as loud as he can.
Exactly, very nearly too late every time. He's reactive. The one time I've seen that he wasn't reactive, he blew the project because he kept it secret from the team: He didn't fundamentally trust them to do their jobs. That's not leadership. Nor is flying off the handle because a situation is stressful.

When Robin attacked the bystander in that one episode, there was no excuse for it because no amount of emotion justifies the abandonment of reason—especially when the stakes are high. Beating up all Slade's robots is exactly the sort of thing that makes Robin a soldier rather than a leader.

Robin a tool to be utilized. The tactical incompetence of the group as a whole is prima facie evidence that Robin is a poor leader. One may argue, incorrectly IMO, that Raven may not be best fit to lead the group, yet that question is immaterial to the fact that Robin is incompetent in the leadership role. The team members don't turn to him when they have problems: In my small sampling of the series, Beast Boy, Raven, and Starfire have kept important issues secret rather than confide in Robin—until it was nearly too late. That's not the sign of a trusted leader. Nor would the group have to rely on sheer individual ability and strength when in combat.

To the extent that Robin is fit for a leadership role, it is a "leadership" role. He is all flashy and eye-catching. He's the singer of the band, the face you'd see in a music video. But that doesn't mean he's good at writing the songs or arranging the music—or getting the band to the gig on time.

Since Robin is not a fit commander, who is? Beast Boy is too busy goofing off. Cyborg is either tinkering or helping Beast Boy goof off. Starfire is generally making Neptunian Salsa, or where ever the hell she's from. But Raven...if Robin would learn his proper role and make way for Raven's superior cognitive abilities, she would be able to profitably devote more of her smarts and intellectual curiosity to improving the performance of the team. Robin demonstrates both downsides of the Peter Principle: Not only has he risen to his level of incompetence, he is also blocking up the bottleneck through which someone else, i.e. Raven, can excel.

As for being a "Spock," nothing could be further from the truth. Raven commands massive respect from the team. That is, she gets respect in the real and meaningful sense of the term. When one respects the court, the law, or a superior, one abides by its rules, dictates, and demands. As fantastic as the feel-good, warm-fuzzy type of respect is, a leader needs to fundamentally be someone that others will listen to and whose directives they will follow. Nobody fucks with Raven. When Raven joins a game of Stank Ball, Cyborg is begging for mercy within five seconds. When Raven says, "Stay out," they stay out or regret it if they don't. When she wants to read, she reads, and the group does not prevent it. That's the basis her leadership would be built from—a fundamentally strong respect for her, her strength, and her strenght of character. Lt. Col. Bill Killgore may be a good-buddy, an avid surfer, and a father figure to his men, and when he gives an order, his men are motivated by their love for him as their commanding officer; but, do they have any doubt that if they refuse to follow a direct order that they'll be in seriously deep shit? No effin' way.

My dad was in the Navy, and he once said to me that, "There has to be one asshole on every ship." Someone has got to crack the whip once in a while, and Robin doesn't have the stones for that. Robin's idea of discipline is to withhold the daily hug. Raven is the only member of the group with the minerals and the personality to effectively crack down and bust balls when it is necessary to do so, and still have the others remain just as close with her as ever.

(capacitor, plump?! That mix of skinny little legs, slender hips, and little-girl face with the exaggerated (sp?) hour-glass waist and big, full, gravity-defying breasts.... If they drew Robin so that he had a massive penis, bulging in his tights, that went all the way down to his knee, we might have a fitting comparison of the way Raven is drawn.)
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  #17  
Old 10-14-2004, 01:17 PM
shy guy shy guy is offline
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Raven commands massive respect from the team. That is, she gets respect in the real and meaningful sense of the term.
Disagree. Raven doesn't command respect from the rest of the team, she commands fear. They stay relativey in line around her because they know she's massively fucked up and they don't want to be around when she goes apeshit.

I agree with what others have said that Raven is way too much of a loner to be team leader. She can't do much leading if she's hanging out in her room alone all the time, nor when she's keeping potentially cataclysmic secrets from the rest of the team (Beast Boy and Cyborg getting sucked into the Mirror of Whosits). I think it's also important to note that the leadership of the Titans isn't very separated from the rest of the group - it's mostly a tactical thing when the fight has already started. And when they're not fighting, Raven is the one who spends the least time with the rest of the group.

In fact, if Robin were ever to permenantly leave the group, I'd say Cyborg makes the most sense for his replacement. Starfire is too flakey for anyone to follow her, Beast Boy is too much of a goofball, and Raven is just too much of a loner to effectively and continuously coordinate a team.
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  #18  
Old 10-14-2004, 02:16 PM
js_africanus js_africanus is offline
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Originally Posted by shy guy
Disagree. Raven doesn't command respect from the rest of the team, she commands fear.
So? We have nice, feel-good attitudes about respect, like holding something in high regard, or feeling that our opinions matter, too. Fundamentally, respect is about observable behavior.

"Familiarity breeds contempt" doesn't mean that it generates disdain or feelings of superiority, it means a breakdown in the propensity to behave the way we're supposed to behave. If the boss is too friendly and chummy, she's going to have a harder time getting the employees to mop the floor. When the court demands respect, it's not getting in your head, demanding that you have a certain set of feelings toward it. When the court demands respect, it is telling you to to what you are told and follow direction.

Here's a fun example of a leader earning respect. My dad tells me about an incident where Lincoln was needing to establish a pecking order with some military types—I don't recall at what stage in his career this was. Anyway, he threw down the gauntlet and anybody who didn't want to respect his command was free to bare-knuckle box with him right there, on the spot. There were no takers and no one gave him any crap after that.

As mentioned before, every ship needs one asshole. Someone has got to make sure shit gets done. Raven is the only one capable of doing that.

Robin's failure to be a leader outside of combat only further strengthens the case against him. They basically do two things: train and goof off. No networking, no community policing, no outreach, no intelligence gathering, no searching for up coming troubles and hot spots. At least, none that I've seen.

To complain that Raven is no good because she sits in her room and reads is simply moot. If Robin would take the time to stop verifying the Peter Principle and make room for someone who can lead, she would have a chance to behave differently. It's naive to think that what you see now is what you'd see if Robin were to take on his more natural and proper role of being a subordinate to a better leader. She can't dislodge him because her moral universe isn't sophisticated enough to see the inherent value of a much-needed coup, and because Robin's flashy all-style, no-substance leadership methods don't afford her a chance to recognize her inherent abilities.

To criticize Raven for behaving as someone who is underemployed is simply missing the mark. She's underutilized and her journey to self-actualization has been blocked by a puffed-up narccissist (sp?). You'd seem depressed and act like a loner, too, if you were being prevented from realizing your full self.

Suppose you were a mechanic, a great mechanic, but what you would be really great at, what your spirit knew, even if you didn't, was that you could run a great garage. Suppose that the guy in the manager's shoes was an outstanding mechanic, one of the best. He manages a team of great mechanics and the business stays open and has repeat business. But that's all it does. It isn't a great garage. It's mismanaged, and what it needs is to put the outstanding mechanic back into the role he was made for and to put in the manager's shoes. Not because you're power hungry; but because your mind is fundamentally able to handle that sort of thinking. That would wear on you, and before long, you'd be telling people to stay out of your locker, and you'd be reading a book in the corner because being involved isn't fufilling your abilities and your need to excel.

Others may say that you're not a leader. Why? Because you're dark and because others are afraid of you and your temperment and because you're a loner. But they'd be wrong. You're designed for the job; but you way there is blocked by someone who, ironically, isn't quite incompetent enough. You'd be like Raven, too, and, like Raven, your behavior wouldn't be sign of your unfitness, but of your stymied growth.
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  #19  
Old 10-14-2004, 03:45 PM
Neurotik Neurotik is offline
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Originally Posted by js_africanus
Exactly, very nearly too late every time. He's reactive. The one time I've seen that he wasn't reactive, he blew the project because he kept it secret from the team: He didn't fundamentally trust them to do their jobs. That's not leadership. Nor is flying off the handle because a situation is stressful.
And Raven has never flown off the handle? Like the time she flew off the handle at Dr. Light? Or when she was so easily goaded into losing her temper at Terra?

How many secrets has Raven kept from the team because she didn't trust them?
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In my small sampling of the series, Beast Boy, Raven, and Starfire have kept important issues secret rather than confide in Robin—until it was nearly too late. That's not the sign of a trusted leader. Nor would the group have to rely on sheer individual ability and strength when in combat.
And in none of these instances did they even think about confiding in Raven. Moreover, I've never seen Raven ever take a leadership role in any sort of crisis situation. When Starfire and Raven were switched, it was Starfire who took control and figured out what they were going to have to do in order to defeat the Puppet King, for example. When Atlas captured the Titans, Robin was the only one who took a proactive role in getting the mechanic to come to their side and help them. When Blackfire came, it was Robin who noticed that Starfire was feeling leftout and was the one who talked to her and made sure she knew she could never be replaced on the team. When it looked like the Hive Academy had killed Robin, Raven did nothing to step up and it took Robin's return (and leadership) to get the Titans back in the fight. When Beast Boy is trying to get Terra another chance, it isn't Raven that he tries to convince, it's Robin. After Terra beats them all and sends them underground, it's Robin that rallies them.
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To the extent that Robin is fit for a leadership role, it is a "leadership" role. He is all flashy and eye-catching. He's the singer of the band, the face you'd see in a music video. But that doesn't mean he's good at writing the songs or arranging the music—or getting the band to the gig on time.
I disagree. He's the only one who steps up to take on those tasks.
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When Raven says, "Stay out," they stay out or regret it if they don't. When she wants to read, she reads, and the group does not prevent it.
Actually, they don't. The episode of "Nevermore" is about Beast Boy and Cyborg breaking into Raven's room and snooping around because they don't trust her. And it's Robin that prevents Starfire from bothering Raven after she says she wants to be alone.

Again, just point to one single instance where Raven displayed some leadership. She really is Spock.
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  #20  
Old 10-14-2004, 04:21 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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So Raven's a sarcastic loner because of...Robin? I again disagree.

The latest episode, in my eyes, did the exact opposite of demonstrating Raven's leadership abilities; it demonstrated once again that Raven, despite being an undeniable asset, is the most unstable and dangerous element of the team. The first time she lost control of her rage and freaked out on Dr. Light, the team was afraid of her. Not the kind of fear that commands respect, either; they worried aloud that she may be dangerous and a liability to the team. They are understandably unnerved by having had to physically restain her from doing somthing unspeakable, which is quite the opposite of leading. Beast Boy asked the rest of the group if she was so secretive and apparently dangerous, how did they know that they could trust her? Robin responds characteristically with "She's our friend. What more do we need to know?", and asks the rest of the group to respect her privacy. She doesn't need privacy because she's brooding about Robin holding her back, she needs it because she has, as she later admits herself, "issues." So we have on the one hand Raven losing both her self control and the trust of her teammates, and Robin doing what is necessary to restore both.

In the latest episode, we again saw the reason for her solitary nature; not beacuse of an unfulfilled potential, but because of feeling misunderstood and alone. Her need to be understood caused her to do something dangerous and shut out her teammates at a time when having their perspective could have been useful. This wasn't a demonstration of what an able leader she would make, this was an unfortunate lapse in judgment bourne of Raven's insecurity.
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  #21  
Old 10-14-2004, 04:25 PM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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Okay, I need some info. Is the Raven backstory the same for the cartoon as for the comics? Because there's an awful lot of exculpatory circumstance behind Raven's behavior if it is...
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  #22  
Old 10-14-2004, 05:38 PM
Kamino Neko Kamino Neko is offline
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Originally Posted by jayjay
Okay, I need some info. Is the Raven backstory the same for the cartoon as for the comics?
In the broad strokes, anyway, if not the details. We meet Trigon (or at least Raven's mental imaging of the side of her that comes from him) at the end of Nevermore.

Now, Raven is my favourite character in the show (followed closely by BB). But she (nor he, really) isn't leader material. Between the danger that she is when she loses the grip on her demonic side, and her secrecy - the rather extreme situations in Switched and Nevermore are the only times she reveals ANYTHING about herself - it's very hard for the rest of the team to trust her. And, has been said, she doesn't step up to take the lead at any point where she could, and the few times she does, she's ignored - because it's mostly 'leave this to me' when the others see (rightly or wrongly) she's outmatched. (The one example of possible GOOD leadership skills I can think of is when she pulled Cy out of his mope after the T-car was stolen.) Even if she had any intention of being a leader, nobody would follow.

As to who would be leader if not Robin? They'd really need to introduce another character. None of them really work.

Starfire's an impulsive flake.

Raven's...well, look up.

Beast Boy's a goof.

Cy's the best bet, but he's a bit of a hothead, and more tech-smart than anything else. He's also the most prone to giving up when it gets tough.

Looking at the times when Robin has been taken out of the picture, Starfire's the one who's stepped up into a semi-leadership position - or, rather a 'move your ass, we have to do something' position.

Raven's smart (I disagree that she's smarter than Robin, or even Cy, though.), but she's not a leader. She's overconfident about her skills, but insecure about her relationship to others, so she tries to go it alone if left with the option - often with bad results, especially since she's also got that demonic side that pops up every so often.

OK, I'm repeating myself here, so I guess I've said enough.
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  #23  
Old 10-14-2004, 07:12 PM
Ranchoth Ranchoth is offline
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Well, maybe we're looking at this the wrong way...maybe we don't see so much of Raven's leadership skills because she just doesn't have reason to show them—it's not her "job" in the team.

Or, maybe, she doesn't want a command role, and so doesn't flex that particlar "muscle." In a pinch, in an emergency, she might take command, but that's not the role she'd rather take. Spock or Data could take command of a ship—and they have, on occasion—but they excel in being a Science Officer or an Ops Officer.

In any case...if she was to lead a team (the Titans, or something else) I'd say that she'd need a good "XO" of her own to work with.
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  #24  
Old 10-15-2004, 08:05 AM
js_africanus js_africanus is offline
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Dopers are the best. Next to Raven, of course.
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  #25  
Old 10-15-2004, 11:58 AM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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No doubt. Engaging in straight faced debates here about the Teen Titans has probably saved my relationship with my girlfirend who, despite assurances to the contrary, must be sick of hearing about it by now.

The season finale will have a new team opening up in a new city, y'know: "Titans East" with "Aqualad, Bumblebee, Speedy, and a pair of high speed twins known as Mas y Menos" as the new team. I wonder if they'll do a show on Speedy's drug addiction...
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  #26  
Old 10-15-2004, 02:11 PM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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Originally Posted by pravnik
No doubt. Engaging in straight faced debates here about the Teen Titans has probably saved my relationship with my girlfirend who, despite assurances to the contrary, must be sick of hearing about it by now.

The season finale will have a new team opening up in a new city, y'know: "Titans East" with "Aqualad, Bumblebee, Speedy, and a pair of high speed twins known as Mas y Menos" as the new team. I wonder if they'll do a show on Speedy's drug addiction...
"More and Less"? What are their powers?
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  #27  
Old 10-15-2004, 02:58 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Speedsters, apparently. The only thing I could find about them is some speculation that they may be sorta based on the Tornado Twins, Flash II/Barry Allen's kids.
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  #28  
Old 10-15-2004, 03:01 PM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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Originally Posted by pravnik
Speedsters, apparently. The only thing I could find about them is some speculation that they may be sorta based on the Tornado Twins, Flash II/Barry Allen's kids.
Well, I suppose since Wally is THE Flash now, there needs to be some kind of Flash-like teen hero in the Titans.
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  #29  
Old 10-15-2004, 03:25 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Two other factors as to why Robin is a better leader than Raven:

The first ties back into the idea that Raven is a loner whom the other Titans fear more than respect. In other leadership situations, this can be made to work. If we were talking about a naval ship during the Napoleonic era, then a remote autocratic leader is just what you're looking for. If we're talking about a marine drill sergeant, then a leader who can scare the crap out of the people he's in charge of is what you want. Even in an office enviroment, someone who isn't afraid to crack the whip and doesn't socialize is desireable.

But this is a team of superheros. That's a whole other kettle of fish. This isn't the military, where you don't have a choice about taking order, and this isn't a regular employment situation, where you have to put up with a boss you don't like if you want to get a paycheck. The only thing keeping the Titans from all going their own ways is loyalty to the group. And if the team leader is not liked and respected, there's absolutely nothing to keep any team member from going their own way, or to keep the team from simply ignoring the self-designated "leader." Remember, Robin is only the leader of the Titans because the rest of the team look to him for leadership. He has no formal claim to the position: he's not been appointed by a higher power, nor (so far as I know) was he the founder of the organization, or owner of the headquarters and all the associated equipment they use to fight crime. He's not a leader in the sense that the Titans have any sort of clear chain of command, he's more of a "first among equals" sort of leader. And he has that position because all of the other Titans, Raven included, trust and respect his judgement and character. If he ever loses that trust and respect, or if his position in the group is ever supplanted by someone who doesn't command that trust and respect themselves, then the Titans are finished as a superhero team.

The other factor is that there is really only one requirement for leading a team of superheros: you have to be able to beat up everyone else on the team. Robin is the only Titan who can make that claim. Therefore, he's the leader.
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