This month’s “Crossover Madness” features the story “The Insiders,” which ran in Teen Titans and The Outsiders. From what I know, having not read the full run of these books, this seems to be a culmination of the story that launched these titles. Back in the day, Robin, Superboy, Kid Flash, and Wonder Girl were all running around in the wonderful book Young Justice. (Written by Peter David, a must read.) That series ended with a mini-series/crossover with Titans called “Graduation Day,” in which the major thing to happen was the death of Donna Troy. Stemming from those events, the Teen Titans and Outsiders were relaunched as teams (and titles).
Issues: Teen Titans #24-25, Outsiders #24-25
Writers: Geoff Johns (Teen Titans), Judd Winick (Outsiders)
Artists: Matthew Clark (Teen Titans), Carlos D’Anda
Having recently found out that he’s a clone of Superman and Lex Luthor, Superboy struggles with who he really is. He talks with Robin about Raven not knowing if he has a soul. Robin tries to reassure him, but Superboy is certain that if he does have a soul, it’s from Luthor and is corrupted. He asks Robin to gather everyone together because he wants to talk to them. Superboy is preparing to join the others, when a whistle happens. Embedded in this whistle is a message only Superboy can hear. It’s from Luthor, and contains a phrase that activates programming within Superboy. Superboy shaves his head, and cuts an “L” into his shirt. Superboy enters the room with the others, and attacks them. He rips Cyborg apart, Wonder Girl is knocked out, and Robin gets his arm broken. Superboy hears another whistle and flies off. The Outsiders are discussing who amongst them could be a traitor when they receive a distress call from the Teen Titans, reporting that Superboy has turned on them. At this, Indigo freaks out and attacks the team.
Indigo is an android sent from the future. She mistakenly turned on the Superman robots that ended up killing Donna Troy in the “Graduation Day” story. Indigo was reprogrammed and has been a productive member of the Outsiders since. She announces to the team that she is Brainiac-8, and that the reprogramming has been overridden. Indigo pretty much takes out everyone, until Arsenal (Roy Harper) threatens to blow her head off with a rocket. She leaves, saying that she’s accomplished what she wanted to…a first shot. The Teen Titans and Outsiders meet up to compare events. The Teen Titans comment that Superboy didn’t seem like himself. The Outsiders argue over whether or not Indigo was acting normally. Grace Choi took the stance that they should have never reactivated Indigo, and Shift was defending Indigo. (They might be in love, or something.) Those two nearly come to blows, until Nightwing separates them. About that time, a swarm (gaggle? flock?) of Superman robots arrive. Indigo returns to an abandoned section of Cadmus, where Luthor has established their base. She kneels before Brainiac, but he says he doesn’t want her servitude, only her obedience to carry out the plan to kill an entire generation of heroes.
Luthor thinks to himself that turning Superboy is how he will truly kill Superman. He created this boy for Superman to come to care about, but when he sees the coffins of the Justice League children, it will kill him inside. The Superman robots attack the Teen Titans and Outsiders. Grace and Shift are still arguing about Indigo until one of the robots knocks Grace out. The combination of losing Conner and seeing the robots that killed Donna Troy sends Wonder Girl into a rage, encouraged by Ares, that destroys the remaining robots. She almost punches Robin, but is able to stop herself. They hug as she cries about what has happened. Indigo tells Brainiac that he should get rid of his organic body, and discuss how they had to get rid of Donna Troy in order to establish Colu’s rule of the universe after the crisis. (Infinite maybe?) Robin tells the group that Superboy’s DNA is half Lex Luthor. Kid Flash isn’t happy about it, but they move on, knowing from Raven that genetics don’t make you who you are. The Outsiders put two and two together and assume that Luthor and Brainiac are working together. They tell the Teen Titans to leave, but Robin convinces them to let the Teen Titans stay, since Superboy is his best friend, and needs help. Superboy and Luthor show up, and Luthor tells him to kill. Raven and Beast Boy take on Luthor, while Robin, Kid Flash and Wonder Girl focus on Superboy. Wonder Girl has Kid Flash put her lasso around Superboy, and is momentarily able to snap him out of Luthor’s control. However, Luthor repeats the trigger phrase and regains control. Indigo grabs Wonder Girl and tells Shift that in order for her to let her go, he’ll have to kill her.
Shift is struggling with the realization that Indigo may never have really been the person he loved. Big, indescribable fight is going on. Wonder Girl pleads with Superboy, trying to illicit an emotional response so he can regain control. It begins to work, so Luthor tries to take out Wonder Girl. This only completes the process, and Superboy attacks Luthor. Nightwing tells Starfire to quit holding back, and she knows what must be done. She flies off, and he tells Robin to give the word for everyone to run. Superboy is fighting Luthor, but exposes Kryptonite. However, before Luthor can really use it, Kid Flash grabs Superboy during his evacuation run. Starfire releases a massive amount of energy, and it disables Brainiac’s ship that’s he’s been fighting from. They all gang up on Indigo now. In a weakened state, the real Indigo comes out, able to hold back Brainiac-8’s functions, and begs Shift to kill her. With a final “I love you,” Shift turns her into flesh. This kills her since he doesn’t have the ability to actually give her life. Nightwing decides that he can’t handle being on a team and things getting personal, so he quits.