Monday, April 13, 2015


Co-Creators/Editors: Marv Wolfman & George Pérez
Embellishers: Dick Giordano w/Mike DeCarlo
Letterers: John Costanza (#42) & Ben Oda (#43) | Colorist: Adrienne Roy

Note: These issues do not have credits in THE NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS volume 2. The above credits are pulled from the DC wiki.

The Plot: (issue 42) Terra's photographic contact lenses allow her to document the Titans' civilian lives, including Starfire's modeling, Wonder Girl's photography and wedding plans, Dick Grayson's home, and Cyborg's friendship with Sarah Simms and her students. She also shares a kiss with Changeling. Only Raven refuses to open up to her.

The next day the Titans train: first Cyborg tests his strength, then Starfire and Wonder Girl spar. Finally Terra and Changeling test their powers against each other and Changeling provokes Terra to the point that she nearly kills him. She manages to convince the Titans that her actions were a form of post-traumatic stress after being held by terrorists for several months before joining the team.

Later, Deathstroke the Terminator, Terra, and Wintergreen, Deathstroke's manservant, depart the Terminator's chalet to put Terra's intelligence to work -- to defeat the Titans and fulfill Deathstroke's longstanding contract with the H.I.V.E. But unbeknownst to the group, they're observed by a mysterious woman and an equally mysterious man who have some hidden tie to Slade "Deathstroke" Wilson.

(issue 43) Deathstroke attacks Dick Grayson, but Dick escapes into the city. He goes in search of the other Titans but find that all have already been defeated and captured. Following Dick are the mystery woman from last issue and her son, Joseph. They eventually catch up with Dick at Titans' Tower, where the woman reveals that it was not Deathstroke alone who took out the Titans -- Raven was defeated by Terra. The woman then reveals that Slade Wilson is her ex-husband.

Meanwhile, Deathstroke arrives at H.I.V.E. headquarters to turn all the captured Titans over to the villainous organization.

My Thoughts: I feel like a lot of the time, creators set out to make a "classic" story, little realizing that such a nomenclature isn't usually predetermined. "The Judas Contract", however, is the rare case of a classic designed to be such which loves up to its creators' intention.

Terra first appeared way the heck back in issue 26, and joined the Titans a few months later. Wolfman and Pérez knew all along that she would betray the team, and readers learned her affiliation with Deathstroke in issue 34. That's more than eighteen months since her debut and nine months since her allegiance was revealed. Along the way, we've learned a bit about her and begun to wonder if perhaps she might redeem herself in the end. But here her intentions still seem to be in line with Deathstroke as she provides all the intelligence he needs to go after the Titans. Wolfman and Pérez are experts at long-term plotting, and Terra's storyline is a perfect example of this.

Speaking of long-term, as of issue 43, we have an indication of just how long, in-universe, it's been since the new Titans formed. Deathstroke notes that he's been trying to fulfill his late son's contract with the H.I.V.E. for a "year and a half", meaning the past three-plus years of real time have equated to less than half that for the Titans. But Wolfman has had timeline problems before, and I'm not sure I like this idea either. I think it would make much more sense if it had simply been one year since the group came together. But who am I to argue with the enhanced brain of Slade Wilson? He's not an omniscient narrator or something, after all.

Issue 43 uses a nifty narrative technique, with Deathstroke assaulting Dick on the first page, having already taken out the rest of the Titans prior to the scene. This allows Dick to escape and visit his friends' homes, using his deductive skills, along with flashbacks from Wolfman and Pérez, to figure out how Deathstroke defeated his teammates. The stories have been playing up Dick's investigative abilities a lot lately, which I really enjoy. He should be, after all, the World's Second-Greatest Defective.

It's a safe assumption Dick G. pulled rank to work
on "The Judas Contract" simply so he could ink this.
Romeo Tanghal takes "The Judas Contract" off, allowing veteran inker (and then-DC editor-in-chief) Dick Giordano to provide finishes for this seminal storyline. While I'm sure Tanghal would have appreciated the royalties from this often-reprinted tale, I find that Giordano's style gives the proceedings a dark, gritty tone which serves the story extremely well.

Finally -- note that the credits have changed slightly this issue beyond Giordano's appearance. Len Wein is no longer editing THE NEW TEEN TITANS. His successors are Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. Now, legend has it that part of the reason Wolfman jumped ship from Marvel to DC around 1980 was because the new editor-in-chief, Jim Shooter, had the unexpectedly sane and perfectly reasonable idea that writers should not be their own editors. Yet here we are again.

Don't get me wrong -- I doubt the stories will suffer going forward with Wolfman editing his own scripts. Wolfman and Wein are friends from way back, and in all likelihood Wein had allowed Wolfman to edit TITANS anyway, acting only as a figurehead. But still -- shouldn't we keep the illusion alive? Didn't anyone at DC circa 1984 find it incredibly amateurish to credit a writer as his own editor?

Apparently not, given the credits listed above.

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