Cyborg, who was created by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez in 1980, has become a bit of a mainstay for the DC Comics universe in recent years. He is usually associated with the Teen Titans due to being one of the team’s central members for roughly 30 years. Since 2012, however, he has been used as a member of the Justice League much more often. Many comic readers wish Cyborg had stayed with the Teen Titans since that’s what he has been known for, while others have been accepting of the new stories being explored for the character. This begs the question: is Cyborg better off being in the Teen Titans or the Justice League?
It certainly makes sense that long-time fans would want to see the character in the team that he’s always been associated with. That being said, becoming a member of the Justice League is a massive honor for any hero in the DC Universe. There have been characters who have joined the Justice League beyond the original founders, like Green Arrow, the Atom, Firestorm, Vixen, Hawkgirl, and many others. When anyone new becomes an official member, they feel more important to the overall story, plus they get more time to shine. Fans of a certain character have a lot to be excited about when that character joins a team with the likes of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. The same can be said for Cyborg. Why wouldn’t his fans want to see him join the big leagues?
One primary reason that people often cite as to why Cyborg is better as a member of the Teen Titans is that he has more natural chemistry with the other Titans compared to the League. Even after being aged up slightly, he’s still rather young compared to anyone else on the Justice League (out of the members who are on the team alongside him, that is). Because of this, Vic (Cyborg) more often looks up to his teammates rather than relating to them. He constantly feels the need to earn his place on the team that he’s on. That wasn’t the case when he was on the Teen Titans, though. Instead, he’s presented as an equal, if not a stand-out member. Conversations and relationships he has with the likes of Raven and Beast Boy are often more natural-feeling compared to those he might have with Aquaman or Green Lantern as a result.
That being said, the character does need to grow. Joining the Justice League feels like a promotion. It’s known that a lot of the younger characters grow up to serve a different role within the universe. For instance, Dick Grayson, the original Robin, grows up to become Nightwing. It’s just as interesting to see Victor Stone grow from teenage member of the Titans to adult member of the Justice League. It is worth noting, though, that the universal reboot, known as the New 52, did not have Cyborg promoted from Teen Titan to Justice League member. It had him become a Justice League member from the moment of his origin. This may not have been the best way to go about it. Fans probably would have been less bothered by the team switch if it felt organic to the story and none of his history was erased or changed.
His role on the Justice League is by no means bad and actually has led to some fantastic interactions and memorable stories, like when he struggles to consider himself more human or machine during the League’s battle against David Graves. It’s also really cool to see somewhat of a side character become more of a main hero and receive more spotlight.
His inclusion in the Justice League also makes a lot of sense when taking his powers into consideration. Not on;ly is he part machine with superhuman strength and laser cannons, but he is also hyper intelligent and is a walking supercomputer that can access any network or database ever. Plus, he can teleport using Boom Tubes thanks to Darkseid’s Mother Box. He’s become rather overpowered as his abilities have evolved over time, and let’s face it, the Justice League is for the overpowered heroes. Someone who has broken abilities like him deserves to be up there with the likes of Superman and the Flash.
With all that said, does Cyborg work better on the Teen Titans or the Justice League, the answer is kind of both. It might feel like he belongs on the Teen Titans more because he fits in better with folks closer to his age and he’s not being overshadowed by big names like Superman and Batman, but he was also on that team for 30 years and on the Justice League for 10. Maybe his membership on the Justice League will feel better to some as time goes on. It would have been better to see him graduate from the Titans to the Justice League, so hopefully that’s something we see more of with the infinite stories that comic books provide. It’s also worth noting that Cyborg works extremely well on his own outside of any team. 2015’s Cyborg: Volume 1: Unplugged is a perfect example of that, so perhaps we’ll get to see him become known as a great independent one day like most other major superheroes.