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Raven: Walking the Line Between Good and Evil 

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    “All our lives are a combination of what we are born into–over which we have no choice- and what we choose (Davis 2016 pg. 20).”In society today we are taught what’s is right and what is wrong from a young age. In our history we are shown and told who we should look up to not yet realizing our naivete. What is good? What is evil? And most importantly what is a hero? Many would say that taking action for the greater good is heroic.

    But what is considered to be “the greater good” in this case? I believe Raven to be a hero. She, who sacrificed herself to save her friends even at a the cost of ending the world. To begin with, Raven first appearance was in a DC comic in 1980(Wikipedia 2018).  Shown as one of the new members in the new version of teen titans, a half-Azarathian, half-demon hybrid. “Though the  series was commonly used as a way to highlight characters or reintroduce somewhat forgotten ones by pairing them with Superman (comicvine 2018), it also helped save the DC franchise but that’s a story for another time. She grew up in an alternate dimension called Azarath, with pacifistic inhabitants.

    Initially, it was feared that if Raven were ever to feel any strong emotion, she could then become possessed by her father, Trigon’s, evil demonic energy inside of her.Raven, a half-Azarathian, half-demon hybrid has always been one of my favorite heroines ever since the show Teen Titans came out in 2003. I immediately loved her, cloaked in her blue cloak appearing dark and mysteriousness. She was powerful. Gifted with magical, psychic, telekinetic powers and the ability to manipulate energy, emotion and shadows. To my younger self she was someone I admired and wanted to be.

    And in a way I was her. We even shared some similarities. family issues, people fearing us for something we had no control over and always wanting one thing we cannot seem to have. I immediately connected with her, recognizing myself in her.  In Ravens case, she wanted to be normal, to be herself, but unable to because of the constant threat of destruction that comes with it. She was different and an outcast due to something she herself can not control.

    And yet she refused to give up searching for away and proved those who believed and told her to give up. But she didn’t, never giving up in trying to find a way for good to win.  She is resilient, a trait that every hero has.In fact, she is very similar to another hero we all know (should know) and love, Spock from star trek and here’s why. Both are considered to be out casts due to being biracial, half human and half something else, in Spock’s case, being half-Vulcan.. And not only that, their non-human side require them to suppress their emotions.

    “Emotions run deep in our race (Vulcans). In many ways more deeply than in humans (Abrams Star trek: the movie (2009)).” though emotions are a something that is also good. And in Raven’s case though she must avoid experiencing any sort of extreme feeling, her demonic abilities also allows her to feel and control the emotions of others, letting her experience their pain, happiness, joy, sadness and more. In my opinion, it teaches us that we are honestly all the same inside.

    However, Raven is also different from Spock. You see, though they are both outcasts, Spock was still wanted. Raven, wasn’t wanted, not even by her creators, writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez. In fact, it took some convincing for Marv Wolfman to believe that Raven could be a valuable member of the cast in The New Teen Titans. Probably because of the “discomfort  about “the place of women” being embedded in the superhero genre for decades (Cocca 2016 pg.219)” making him hesitate in allowing her to make her superhero debut.

    To further explain, according to the editor of the comic book at the time, Len Wein asked Wolfman and George Perez to add a mystical character to the initial roster for the creation of the new Teen Titans. And Wolfman who created Raven wasn’t a fan of writing about mystics and was at first resistant regarding the idea. It wasn’t until Perez brought the character to life on the page that Wolfman finally agreed to her being on the new Teen Titans (comicvine 2018).  “With a number of female characters, one can be strong, one can be weak, one can be flawed and striving, one can be vulnerable and decisive, one can be unrepentantly villainous, or all or none of the above(Cocca 2016 pg.221).”

    Raven has been them all. Viewed as evil (and was evil in certain versions of the comics) and avoided or looked at with suspicion when she came to earth seeking help in order to defeat her father Trigon and find a way to break free of her destiny, to destroy Earth. She continued to look and never gave up in searching for a way to change her destiny, to not be evil incarnate born to bring about the end of life but instead a savior.

    And she did. She was able to become friends, and even considers the Teen titans her family; was able to not only prove those who kept telling her to give up wrong but was able to defeat her father Trigon and save earth due to these bonds she made with the members of the team. Raven is a founder and one of the longest-serving members of the team Teen Titans, in various versions of the team. And a Superhero.

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