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Characters in Titans season 2 with more meaning than you realize

In the second season of Titans on DC Universe, Trigon is gone and the team has to contend with a whole new set of challenges, many of them much more down-to-Earth than an all-powerful demon. Enter Doctor Light, Shimmer, Deathstroke, and even hints that things might get a little bit more cosmic if and when Kori's (Anna Diop) family comes calling. 

But it isn't just bad guys that are making the landscape of Titans look and feel a lot different. There are heroes from the past like Aqualad and Jericho, heroes from the first season whose stories are taking on more meaning, and secondary characters who could just be nods to the source material... but could also mean a lot more to the plot somewhere down the road. 

DC Comics has a long, rich history, and we're getting to see a lot more corners of it through Titans than any of the DCEU films have shown us so far. Here are some characters in Titans season 2 with more meaning than you realize. 

Deathstroke is one of DC's most formidable warriors

The entrance of Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke the Terminator (Esai Morales), is a huge deal. Considering the Titans' roster includes a shapeshifter, the powerful daughter of a demon, a Themyscrian warrior, and Batman's first protege, you would think a guy with the comparatively meager powers of Deathstroke would be  a poor choice for a season's Big Bad, but the source material tells a different story. 

The Deathstroke of the comics is about as unbeatable as you get. He's one of the few DC Comics characters to prove he can wipe the floor with Batman, and sometimes he can do a lot more. On a couple of occasions, Slade has taken on entire Justice League rosters single-handed, perhaps most famously in 2004's Identity Crisis #4, in which Doctor Light hires Slade to protect him against a retro League line-up and he comes close to taking them all out, almost stealing Green Lantern's ring.  

The Slade Wilson of Titans is, so far, a much more passionate version of the character than we usually see. The Deathstroke of the comics is often cold and calculating, being cruel or kind based solely on what will best get his next op done. He's also one of the more morally ambiguous characters in the DCU. While he's often painted as a villain, he's also worked alongside heroes like the Justice League, most recently in the mini-series Justice League: No Justice

In the comics, Jericho is a hero and a villain

What we've seen so far of Jericho (Chella Man) has shown us a goodhearted, tragic hero. He's seduced by the Titans in order to get info on his father Deathstroke, and ultimately he sacrifices himself to save Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) from his father. But if Titans stays true to the comics — and assuming we somehow see the return of Jericho in a future episode — we may learn about Jericho's darker side. 

In the comics, Jericho has had an even bumpier relationship with his father than what we've seen in Titans. Like the show, Slade Wilson eventually kills Jericho in the comics, though the situation is different. In 1992's New Titans #83, Slade kills Jericho after the hero is possessed by demonic souls from the same dimension that was the home of Trigon, and Slade sees no other way to stop him. Jericho eventually returns, and in the current volume of Deathstroke, years of resentment between Jericho and his father have changed him, to the point where he aligns himself with the Legion of Doom during DC's Year of the Villain event. 

If it's the intent of Titans' creators to eventually have Jericho return and go bad, it would lend credence to the theory that at the moment of his death, Jericho possessed his father.

Adeline can do more than hide from Deathstroke

We haven't seen much yet of Adeline (Mako Nguyen) on Titans. So far she's seemed to be a protective mother — eventually one in mourning. The Adeline Wilson of the comics, however, has taken a much more active role in the lives of her children and that of Slade. In fact, in 2016's Deathstroke #3 as part of DC Comics' Rebirth event, we learn Adeline is the reason Slade only has one eye. 

Jericho and Rose are both children of Slade, but they have different mothers — Rose's mother Lillian lives in Cambodia. After Deathstroke fulfills a contract in the fictional nation of Qurac, the country's government sends an agent to America to kill him, but Slade's in Cambodia at the time, and he comes home to find Jericho's throat slit. Adeline is furious not only because of what's happened to Jericho, but because Slade wasn't there to protect him. As Slade's kneeling over Jericho, Adeline comes up behind him and shoots him in the back of the head. Slade loses his right eye as a result.

The Adeline of the comics has never forgiven Slade and probably never will. Even after taking his eye, she's tried and failed to have him killed. The Adeline of Titans seems to not be nearly as vengeful or violent, but who can say how she might change?

Rose is more dangerous than you know

In both the comics and (it appears so far) in the show, Rose Wilson takes after her father more than Jericho. She shares her father's abilities and, at times in the comics, his occupation. Like Slade, she's been both one of the Titans' most ruthless villains, while at other times working on the side of the angels. Unlike her father, Rose has had periods when her abilities transcended the physical. Initially during DC's New 52 reboot, Rose enjoyed a degree of psychic ability, but those these seem to be have been retconned out with 2016's Rebirth event. 

More recently, Rose caused some trouble not only for herself but her father when she reconnected with her Hmong roots. She experienced blackouts, after which she would wake up usually covered in someone else's blood and wearing a red wig. She soon learned she'd been possessed by a Hmong spirit calling itself Willow that was using Rose's body to carve a gory trail through a powerful Chinese drug cartel.

Wintergreen is Deathstroke's answer to Alfred

Deathstroke's handler Wintergreen (Demore Barnes) is one of the Titans characters who has changed the most between page and screen. In the comics, Wintergreen is usually depicted as an older English man acting partly as mentor to Slade. While he makes no illusions about what Slade does for a living — after all, he's usually the one setting up the jobs — the Wintergreen of the comics doesn't come off as being quite as depraved or manipulative as the younger version on the show. 

In many ways, you could call the Wintergreen of the comics Deathstroke's version of Alfred, and that comparison was focused on in a recent Deathstroke storyline. In the 2018 story "Deathstroke vs. Batman," Slade and Batman come into conflict after reports that Slade — not Bruce — is the true biological father of Damian Wayne, the current Robin (the reports ultimately prove false). While Deathstroke and the Dark Knight go to war, behind the scenes Alfred and Wintergreen try to broker a peace, and we eventually learn that the two know each other from back in the day, when both used guns for their work and neither of them answered doorbells for wealthy employers.

Bruce Wayne is likely to get more involved

Bruce Wayne (Iain Glen) may seem like a strange addition here. After all, between the comics, the cartoons, and the many live-action movies, who isn't familiar with Bruce Wayne? But the very fact that he's been added to the cast of Titans offers some intriguing possibilities. 

If your main exposure to Batman is from live-action shows and movies, then there's one aspect of the character you may not have seen: how he can be an absolutely disturbing control freak in regards to other super-heroes. He regularly keeps tabs on other heroes, particularly the ones who are part of the "Bat Family." In one extreme example, the JLA: Tower of Babel storyline, the Dark Knight is temporarily thrown out of the Justice League when it's discovered he's been secretly mapping out ways to kill the rest of the Leaguers in case they went bad. To the team's horror, those plans are captured by the villain Ra's al Ghul and used against them. 

We're not suggesting anything quite so dramatic would necessarily happen between Batman and the Titans, but he does have the keys to Titans Tower. So far, it's seemed like Bruce has chosen to let the Titans deal with their own challenges, but it's possible and perhaps even inevitable that he'll take a larger role in their destiny. After all, this is the guy who secretly implanted a digital tracker on Dick Grayson. There isn't much he isn't capable of.

Jason Todd is destined for a dark path

There have been a bunch of different characters who have used the name Robin in DC Comics, and few have been as volatile as Jason Todd. Always more headstrong and less cooperative than his predecessor Dick Grayson, Todd famously dies at the hands of the Joker in Batman's classic "Death in the Family" storyline, an ending which was partly determined by reader call-in votes

Todd eventually returns to the land of the living as the Red Hood, who at first is at odds with Batman but eventually settles into a very black-sheep-ish spot in the Bat Family. He'll help out his old allies from time to time, but it's clear there isn't a lot of trust between him and the rest of the Bat Family. In fact, in the recent Event Leviathan mini-series, Jason Todd was Batman's first pick for the identity of the mystery villain, though it's eventually proven it wasn't him. 

It's likely we're not going to see all or even most of Todd's landmark drama unfold in the second season of Titans, but one thing's for certain — for as long as Todd is a part of Titans, he will remain one of its most unstable elements. 

Aqualad is aquatic royalty

Garth, a.k.a. Aqualad (Drew Van Acker) appeared so far in only one episode of Titans — the same one that ends with his death at the hands of Deathstroke. We eventually learn that Jillian (Ann Magnuson) was Slade's true target and Aqualad got in the way of the bullet meant for her. 

What's arguably most interesting about Aqualad's appearance on Titans is what doesn't happen in the wake of his death. In the comics, Aqualad is (no surprise) sidekick to Aquaman, and is just as important to the older aquatic hero as the Robins are to Batman. What's most surprising about the aftermath of his death isn't what the Titans did to try to avenge him, but that Aquaman didn't come bursting out of the sea with an Atlantean army at his back once he learned what happened. 

It could be that in the Titans narrative, Aqualad and Aquaman don't have the close ties they enjoy in the comics (though, considering the names, that would be weird). Or maybe Atlantis' King will be a much more important factor somewhere down the road in Titans.

Doctor Light has a particularly disturbing history

Doctor Light (Walter Mosley) has been one of the Titans' most consistent foes over the years in the comics, often at the head of the villainous team known as the Fearsome Five. Personality-wise, the Doctor Light of the comics is quite different from who we meet on Titans. Mosley's Doctor Light comes off largely as a sadistic, chest-pounding meathead who always acts before he thinks, while the Light of the comics is much more cerebral.

The Doctor Light of the source material also carries one of the most disturbing legacies in all of superhero comics, due largely to the 2004 mini-series Identity Crisis. This story begins with Sue Dibny — wife to Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man (played by Hartley Sawyer on CW's The Flash) — being burned to death, and we soon learn Doctor Light is the prime suspect for a horrible reason. Years earlier, while the Justice League was away, Doctor Light snuck onto their satellite and sexually assaulted Sue. The League of the time discovers the villain and — fearing he will terrorize Sue in the future — magically alters his mind so that he doesn't remember the event, and they do the same to Batman because he doesn't agree with the mind-wipe. This, coupled with Light's powers, make Doctor Light the League's first suspect in Sue's murder, though it ultimately proves to be someone else (we won't spoil it if you haven't read it).

Jacob Finlay was the first Doctor Light

In the flashback episode "Aqualad," we get a brief scene in which Doctor Light tortures a scientist named Jacob Finlay (Dan Beirne). We don't hear a lot of specifics, but the back-and-forth between the two characters implies Finlay and Light were once colleagues and Finlay has garnered has earned fame and fortune, partially by stealing Doctor Light's ideas.

Ironically, the situation has been flipped from the comics. In 1989's Secret Origins #37, we find out it's Arthur Light who's standing on a colleague's shoulders. It turns out that Jacob Finlay was the first Doctor Light and unlike Arthur Light, Finlay is a hero who uses his powers for good. Arthur Light takes Finlay's suit and the powers it bestows after Finlay's death, but in Secret Origins #37 we find out his ghost is haunting Arthur Light.

We don't know yet if Finlay will have any further impact on Titans, but it's possible. We never see Doctor Light kill him in "Aqualad," though it's clear that option is on the table.

Shimmer is part of a Fearsome legacy

"Rose," the second episode of Titans' second season, introduces Shimmer (Hanneke Talbot), a villain with the ability to change one element into another. Donna Troy (Conor Leslie) and Kori make short work of her, though as she's being arrested Shimmer makes it clear she means to get back at the Titans for what they've done.

In spite of Shimmer's promise, we haven't seen her again in Titans so far, but it's a good bet that we will. In the comics, Shimmer is a regular member of the anti-Titans team the Fearsome Five alongside Doctor Light. She also has a very large, super strong brother codenamed Mammoth with few brain cells and a short temper. 

Whenever we do see Shimmer's return, her powers could have a very unique advantage over the Titans, even though she doesn't give Kori and Donna much of a fight in "Rose." Because she can turn one element into another, Shimmer could potentially create Kryptonite — something that could mean very bad news for Conner (Joshua Orpin). 

Superboy has a long, complex history

The arrival of Conner Kent, a.k.a. Superboy, in Titans is a big deal. We first get only a brief glimpse at him as he's breaking free from Cadmus Labs during a post-credits scene in Titans' first season finale. We finally get an episode completely devoted to Conner's escape from Cadmus and his journey to discover what and who he is in season 2's sixth episode, "Conner."

Conner has the potential to bring the rest of the DC Universe into the lives of the Titans, and probably in ways they won't like. Superboy is created from a DNA mixture of Superman and Lex Luthor, as part of a project that Luthor has been working on for a while. That implies it's only a matter of time before the guy who is arguably DC's chief villain shows up on Titans. And as much as fans might love it, the Titans themselves will likely not feel the same.

Conner might also attract the attention of the more seasoned superheroes of DC, and could put the very existence of the Titans at risk. As we see in "Atonement" when Conner attacks San Francisco police officers arresting a man, Conner can't quite tell the good guys from the bad guys yet. When headlines start emerging about Conner rampaging through San Francisco, people like Bruce Wayne and Superman are going to be looking at the Titans... and they're not going to be happy.  

Krypto's origins are still a mystery

Krypto, who escapes from Cadmus Labs with Conner, is one of the most mysterious characters on Titans, insofar as we don't actually know what he is yet. With its many reboots and retcons, the DC Universe has featured a number of different versions of Krypto over the years. In some versions, Krypto is the El family dog back on Krypton and, like Superman, is one of the planet's few survivors. In other versions he's an Earth dog who gains super powers. In still some other cases, no one ever bothers to get too specific about the his origins. 

Considering where we first encounter Krypto, it's natural to assume this version of Krypto is an Earth dog given superpowers — presumably as a side project of Rakshasa, the initiative that creates Superboy. But maybe not. It's possible Krypto is a bona fide native of Krypton that Lex Luthor was able to capture and bring to Cadmus to aid in his experiments. Until Lex or Superman show up and react to the loyal beast, we may never know for sure.

Mercy Graves is the Harley Quinn of Superman

Mercy Graves (Natalie Gumede) first appears in "Conner" on Lex Luthor's orders. She heads Cadmus' paramilitary teams, and is clearly a combat expert. It's Graves who manages to snap a Kryptonite collar on Krypto, and who shoots Conner with a Kryptonite bullet, nearly killing him. 

While Graves has appeared in DC's comics, like Harley Quinn she didn't originate in the funnybooks. Mercy Graves first appeared in Superman: The Animated Series as Lex Luthor's personal chauffeur and bodyguard. Over the years her appearances in various media have made minor tweaks to her role in LexCorp. In some versions, it's implied Lex and Mercy are lovers, and in some Mercy gets more hands-on in Luthor's businesses while he's in prison. 

One of the more intriguing possibilities that has arisen in the comics is that Mercy might be a native of Themyscria, the island home of Wonder Woman and Donna Troy. Some comics have shown her to be much more powerful than a standard human, and there have been hints that she possesses the kind of mystic knowledge common among the Amazons.

Blackfire

Early in season 2, Kori's friend and brief fling Faddei (Robbie Jones) shows up n Earth, tasked with bringing her back home to claim her throne. She's eventually convinced to go along with him until she receives a psychic call for help from Rachel (Teagan Croft). Rather than return with Faddei, she traps him in her spaceship. In season 2's ninth episode, "Atonement," Faddei escapes the ship, but sadly doesn't survive the episode. We learn that in Kori's absence, her sister Blackfire (Damaris Lewis) has usurped the throne and that Kori and Faddei are both on her hit list for assassination. 

The pair are on their way back to Kori's ship when Faddei's body is taken over by Blackfire. We see a holographic image of Blackfire taunting Kori, who is forced to kill Faddei in order to get rid of her. 

Blackfire's entrance into Titans is game-changing. As the only bona fide extraterrestrial member of the team, Kori's presence in Titans has always hinted at the possibility that things could get more cosmic in the show. With Blackfire's appearance, Kori's hopes to dethrone her, and Blackfire's need to get rid of Kori, alien invasions and/or interstellar voyages could be coming very soon on Titans.   

Stu and Lily

Toward the end of the second season's penultimate episode, "Faux Hawk," Dick winds up at a shop called "Stu's Handmade Shoes." We can tell right away Dick knows the shop proprietor Stu (Currie Graham), and the latter isn't very happy with Dick. After some strange references to fruitcakes, we finally realize what's going on. Stu is the creator of Dick's old Robin suit — a suit Dick burned in Titans' first season. After apologizing to Stu and asking for his help, Stu finally lightens up and leads Dick into the back where he and Lily (Rashaana Cumberbatch) have Dick's new suit waiting. 

Along with proving to be some of the most instantly likable characters to be introduced in Titans' second season, Stu and Lily tell us a couple of important things about the series' version of Bruce Wayne. 

First, they reveal that Bruce can anticipate Dick's actions. Stu tells Dick that Wayne's already contacted them about the new suit he needs, even though Dick hasn't been in contact with Bruce since the season premiere. Second, the short scene tells us the Bruce Wayne of Titans is much more trusting than other versions we've met. Stu freely refers to "Master Wayne" in the back of the shop, where he and Lily are joined by at least a half dozen other workers. Clearly, the Batman of Titans is not nearly as protective of his secret identity as others. Alfred is one thing, but this Batman has an entire workforce.