Why Did Raven Leave the New Teen Titans?

When Marv Wolfman and George Pérez reinvented the Teen Titans with the 1980 title The New Teen Titans, the group went through a lot of changes. Robin, Wally West and Donna Troy were the nominal leaders of the group, some new members were added and some old members, like Beast-Boy, returned. Wolfman and Pérez did a lot for the Teen Titans, they practically revitalized the group, but they also introduced new characters that DC Comics would profit from in the years that followed. Among them is Raven, also known as Rachel Roth, who is going to be the topic of today’s article. 

Raven vanished after the Titans finally defeated Trigon. The group left her for dead but she survived and simply disappeared, probably to take some time off and to reconcile with the fact that she was finally free from her father’s menacing influence. Later, after coming back to the group, she would leave the Titans for various other reasons. 

In today’s article, I am going to explore the reasons behind Raven’s disappearance from the New Teen Titans in 1985. You are going to find out why it happened, who was responsible for that and how Raven’s (im)mortality ties into all of this. It’s going to be a fun ride, so prepare yourselves and enjoy!

Why did Raven leave the New Teen Titans?

In order to fully understand the developments that lead to Raven’s disappearance, I have to give you some backstory. 

Raven is a very dark character, born to a human mother named Arella, and a demon father, Trigon the Terrible. She grew up in a peaceful world called Azarath, where she was taught to control her emotions in order to suppress and control her demonic powers inherited from her father. 

Subsequently, she learned that Trigon wanted to come to Earth and vowed to stop him. She went to the Justice League of America for help, but Zatanna, having sensed Raven’s demonic heritage, convinced the League to refuse. In desperation, she reformed the Titans into the New Teen Titans so that they could help fight her father. 

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The team defeated Trigon and locked him in an interdimensional prison. However, Raven still had to fight against her father’s influence, as the latter was not entirely eliminated and still wanted to take control over his powerful daughter’s persona. More than once, Raven lost control of her emotions during her adventures with the Titans, but always managed to control herself eventually. 

Things escalated in 1984, when Trigon managed to escape his interdimensional prison. Firstly, he attacked and completely destroyed Raven’s hometown, Azarath, before heading for Earth with the same intention. Since he was an exceptionally powerful demonic entity, Trigon was a true menace that had to be stopped. 

On Earth, Trigon finally managed to take control of Raven. The Titans were manipulated into unfriending Raven, which allowed the dead souls from Azarath contained in the ring of Azar to take control of her, using her as a vessel to fight Trigon. Raven had to be killed for the souls to take over her body, which seemingly happened in the comic book storyline. 

The souls of Azarath ultimately managed to defeat Trigon in a brutal fight, leaving Raven, seemingly at least, dead. Her former companions left, but Raven soon rose from the ashes of the battlefield and vanished. 

As we found out, Raven was finally free from her father’s influence and vanished, which ultimately prompted her mother to go on a quest to find her. She managed to do it, but they both ended up being captured by Brother Blood, but that is a storyline I am not going to analyze today. 

As for the reasons for Raven’s disappearance, I assume that she, seeing how dark and a loner she was, although still caring deeply for her companions, just needed some time alone. She was finally free from Trigon’s influence and it is only natural that she wanted to be certain of that fact. Also, she probably needed some time to rest and to decide on what to do next, since the events surrounding the Titans’ second fight against Trigon were quite exhausting and complex. 

It was a traumatic experience for all those involved, especially since the Titans ended up thinking Raven was dead, and Raven just wanted to give herself and the Titans some time to cope with all of that. She would, of course, return to the Titans, although she would also leave it later on, not long after the events of Infinite Crisis. 

Credit DC Comics

Is Raven immortal?

Now, seeing that I have talked about Raven’s clash with her father and her apparent death in 1984, I think it would be opportune to explain to you why the Titans should have been smarter when they declared her dead. 

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As a Cambion, Raven has a large plethora of different powers. First of all, Raven is an empath. This means that she can absorb the emotions of others and feel them for herself. She can also completely absorb the bad emotions of others to fully suppress them, which helps to heal more quickly. At one point, she also repeatedly demonstrated the ability to impart, consciously or unconsciously, emotions to others. 

Since her reappearance, Raven has been able to fly, which she previously could only do when under the influence of her father. Raven can also manifest her soul in the form of an astral body, which usually takes on the appearance of a large shadow of herself or that of a giant crow, springing entirely or partially from her. This astral body has multiple uses. On several occasions, she has also demonstrated that she possesses an array of magical skills.

Now, these powers don’t really reveal anything about her mortality and while we do know that she has died at least a couple of times in the comic books, we also know that she is, in fact, immortal. Allow me to explain. 

Raven is a very special and often underrated character in DC’s canon. She has a physical body, but her essence is actually her soul, meaning that she is more of an entity than an actual person. This, she inherited from her father, the demon Trigon. Her physical body can – and has, as we know by now – in fact, die, but seeing how her essence is her soul, she can transfer it to any other body and take control of it. Luckily for the characters, she is not a supervillain. 

Her soul, on the other hand, is immortal, just like Trigon’s. Trigon is essentially indestructible so the best way to get rid of him is to imprison him somewhere and hope that he does not escape. The same applied to Raven. As Trigon’s daughter, her soul has inherited her father’s immortality; her soul cannot die. 

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Certainly, the Titans did not know that when they witnessed Raven’s body perish, which is why they thought that she had died. What they should have known is that her soul, of course, survived and that their friend would, sooner, rather than later, come back alive and well, which is a consequence of her very nature. 

Credit DC Comics

Who is Evil Raven? Did Starfire kill Raven?

Now, another interesting and related question is Starfire’s fight with Raven, where the former seemingly killed the latter. This, also, needs some backstory. 

After the events with Trigon and Brother Blood, Raven was kidnapped by the Wildebeest Society in the “Titans Hunt” storyline. Long story short, she ended up being possessed by her evil conscience and ultimately returned as Evil Raven. Evil Raven was basically Raven with the personality of Trigon. Her only goal was to spread the seeds of Trigon around the world, for which reason she interrupted the wedding of Nightwing and Starfire. 

Evil Raven kissed Starfire, hoping to implant one of Trigon’s seeds into her, but what she did not know was that she actually implanted the good Raven into Starfire, which is why the latter escaped Earth so she could hide from Evil Raven. The Titans engaged Evil Raven and managed to defeat her, but only when Phantasm intervened. 

Sometime later, Evil Raven returned, though, wishing to destroy her good side once and for all. In the process, she destroyed Starfire’s home planet Tamaran, which prompted the good Raven and Starfire to engage her. In an epic clash, Raven, Starfire, and the Titans managed to defeat and completely destroy Evil Raven. Good Raven finally received a new, golden spirit body and was at that moment, for the first time, completely free from her father’s influence.