Monday, April 20, 2015


Co-Creators/Editors: Marv Wolfman & George Pérez
Embellishers: Dick Giordano w/Mike DeCarlo
Letterer: Ben Oda | Colorist: Adrienne Roy

Note: This issue does not have credits in THE NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS volume 2. The above credits are pulled from the DC wiki.

The Plot: At the H.I.V.E.'s base in the Rocky Mountains, the captive Titans are hooked into a machine which will drain their powers for the H.I.V.E.'s use. Deathstroke observes and reveals to the Titans that Terra is on his side. Elsewhere, Adeline confronts Wintergreen, who describes to her the day Slade Wilson became Deathstroke, rescuing him.

Meanwhile, Nightwing and Jericho break into the complex and find their way to the Titans in disguise. But they're forced to reveal themselves and are defeated by Terra; however Jericho soon possesses his father and frees the Titans. A battle ensues in which the majority of the H.I.V.E. operatives are defeated, Deathstroke is captured, and Terra is killed.

Later, the Titans and Outsiders hold a funeral for Terra, and the Titans keep her villainy a secret from the world at large.

My Thoughts: I said before that "The Judas Contract" was an intentionally created classic, and I think, having finished the storyline, that it's safe to stand by that assessment. The saga of the H.I.V.E. and Deathstroke's contract with them dates all the way back to the series' earliest issues, and it finally comes to a conclusion here. Deathstroke is at last captured and the H.I.V.E. suffers what is almost certainly a crippling blow.

The H.I.V.E. isn't out of the picture entirely yet, however -- it turns out they have a leader named the H.I.V.E. Master who has been overseeing something called Operation: Waterworks during the events of this story. Wolfman name drops both the Master and the Operation a couple times this issue, clearly planting a seed for something to be followed up later.

But for now, the biggest event to come out of "The Judas Contract" is Terra's fate. I couldn't remember when the storyline started if she would redeem herself somehow. I think I was getting my memories crossed with the TEEN TITANS cartoon series, where Terra did indeed "turn good" in the end. But Terra here is unrepentant and, Wolfman's narration assures us, quite insane. She hates the Titans simply for using their powers benevolently, and she joined up with Deathstroke essentially to teach them the folly of their ways.

I'm unsure what we're supposed to feel for Terra by this story's conclusion. She's obviously pure evil, constantly going on about how she hates the Titans and wants to kill them. I suppose, as the narration over her death suggests, we're expected to mourn for the person she could have been, rather than the person she turned out to be.

It's also confirmed this issue that Terra and Deathstroke have indeed been lovers. Eww. She's sixteen and he served in the Korean War, which circa 1984 would probably make him around fifty-something years old. Did I say "eww?" Because if I didn't: Eww. This makes Terry and Donna look quaint by comparison. Eww, just eww.

I have to note as well that I'm surprised DC and the Comics Code Authority allowed Wolfman to come directly out and have Terra declare that she and Deathstroke were an item. Statutory relations feels like a taboo topic for a comic of any era, much less one from thirty years ago.

Finally, we have Terra's funeral. It's attended by the Titans, Terry Long, Batman, Robin (Jason Todd), the Outsiders, and Dr. Jace. I realize Wolfman and Pérez were probably pressed for space, and this story might not have been the place for it anyway, but it seems odd to me that this is the first appearance of Batman and Nightwing in the same scene together and nothing is made of it. And by the same token, this is the first time any of the Titans have met Robin's successor in costume (though Starfire met him as Jason Todd). This feels like it should've been addressed as well.

But the bulk of the scene is dedicated to Geo-Force giving a small eulogy for his sister -- certainly the right way to go, and it reveals a couple tidbits we never knew before (at least not from this series; these facts could've been revealed in BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS): she was actually his half-sister, and she was exiled to America by her father for fear of a scandal. This helps to explain Terra's less formal speech patterns and the reason she wasn't particularly close with her brother -- though it seems these facts would've been much timelier during the OUTSIDERS crossover.

So that's "The Judas Contract" -- a story which very much lives up to its billing. This may be the apex of the Wolfman/Pérez NEW TEEN TITANS run -- I've certainly seen it described as such elsewhere -- but if nothing else, they've built up a tremendous amount of momentum by now. ANNUAL #3 is the final issue in the NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS volume 2. When I reached the end of volume 1, I was suffering from a bit of "Titans fatigue" and I needed to take a little time off before beginning volume 2. But now, as I close this tome, I'm ready and eager to dive straight into volume 3.


  1. Wolfman and Perez did an uncommon thing keeping Terra a villain to the end. Some would argue that there really isn't much motivation for why she is what she is, but then to paraphrase TDK Joker: some people just want to see the world burn. Wolfman's answer that there is no answer is rather relevant these days. It's sad seeing how in denial Gar is, jumping to Terra's rescue believing she has broken free from mind control only for the gal to set him straight. "Why?" A similar response Donna makes when Terra reveals the whole terrorist-hostage past was a fake.
    Y'know, perhaps Tara's feelings for Brion were actually genuine, and that her rants in this issue were due to insanity.
    I'm rather confused by what Perez is getting at with Terra's death. Is she attracting all the rocks to herself, or are they falling on her?
    Although the ending implies the other heroes were in the dark about Terra, BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS Annual 1 would reveal Batman told Brion and the gang the truth. Brion, heartbroken over this, nevertheless pledges that it changes nothing in his brotherly love for her. However, her betrayal and death causes him to forsake his brown costume. Fortunately, Batman made a green-and-yellow suit for him to wear from then on. I don't think Brion puts on the brown suit until he had a recent reckoning with Deathstroke just before the New 52. The latter tried to make Brion his disciple, with Geo-Force confronting him at the alley where Joey got his throat slashed. Eventually, Geo-Force slashes his own throat with a sword, shocking Deathstroke with deja vu, leaving him vulnerable to getting himself stabbed by G-F (both survive). The reason I'm relating this story is that it actually uses the panels of Perez's depiction of Joseph's hostaging and injury from the TotTT#44.

    1. I'll have to look at the death scene again to see what you're talking about. I think at the time I felt like she had snapped so badly that she was pulling them to herself without realizing. But if that was the case, you'd think Wolfman's narration would mention it.

      Having read much further since I wrote the above, I've learned that Changeling stays in denial over Terra for quite a while, continuing to believe Deathstroke corrupted her all the way up into the "trial" issues in the fifties. I like that; it would do a terrible disservice to this storyline and to his character if he'd simply reset back to normal an issue later.

      Interesting info about Geo-Force. I know I've seen the green costume, but I never realized he kept it for so long. I'm aware, though, that he's back in the brown by the time of the TERRA mini-series from Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Amanda Conner in 2008 or so, which introduced a new Terra. I read that a while back as part of a Power Girl-a-thon, and plan to post about it at some point this summer.