As the Teen Titans Academy welcomes the first class of advanced superheroes, the legacy of Red X is moving above both students and teachers.
WARNING: The following spoilers for Teen Titans Academy # 1, starring Tim Sheridan, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, Alejandro Sanchez and Rob Leigh, are now on sale.
As the doors open on the Teen Titans Academy, the classic Teen Titans now serve as mentors for the next generation of young superheroes in the DC Universe. With both new heroes and younger people taking on older legacy titles, both veteran students and educators are beginning to develop exciting interpersonal dynamics and bring with them the emotional bags and their deep, dark mysteries to the superhero school.
And building on the clues and groundwork laid down at Future State, the mysterious Red X has already reappeared to haunt one hero in particular: Nightwing.
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As Nightwing trains his new class of students, including Billy Batson, shortly after arriving on Titans Island where the facility is located, one of the students reminds Dick of the time which departed as Red X as a training symbol in which the character is activated. While Dick dismissed his past as the violent antihero during the training exercise, another memory emerged during his birthday among his fellow Titans, with Dick receiving a gift from someone without turned out to be the Red X mask. Dick laughs off the present while still unsure who exactly sent him. But as he goes out on a quiet date night with Starfire, a figure is seen wearing the mask in private while looking at themselves in a bathroom mirror.
In the animated image of Red X on it Titans for teens, the character was another ego for Dick that he embraced when performing covert operations more morally. While it is not known at some point how far Dick continued into his own dark side in the comic book world, the memoir clearly brought back sad memories to the original Boy Wonder, which added that two others wearing the Red X mask afterwards. But if the State of the Future: Teen Titans miniseries is no indication, Dick and the Red X robe may be far from over, with Dick regaining his fitness after a cataclysmic tragedy beats Teen Titans Academy, leading to the destruction of the school and the death of countless heroes.
Future State revealed that there was another Red X that captured the alter ego sometime before the explosive crash on Titans Island. Working with Dick, this masked new figure stood with the surviving Titans against the Four Horses of Apokolips in a skirmish battle for what happened to the DCU. Red X eventually fell before the battle was won, with their true identity still a mystery while they died heroically in the final battle.
Red X has always been a mysteriously disguised character and one who hits particularly close to home for their young superheroes and their elegant, visionary leader. Someone in the school is well aware of Dick Grayson ‘s darkest ego and is not afraid to light that knowledge hard in front of the rest of the collected heroes. And while Dick doesn’t seem to be paying too much attention to this resurgence of his character in the past, Nightwing and his friends could find themselves in the middle of a game of prime handling as the first wave of students getting closer and heading towards the future Tragedy state.
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