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The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract Paperback – June 17, 1991
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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About the Author
Marv Wolfman is the former Editor-In-Chief of Marvel Comics. He is a longtime comic writer who had long runs on Tomb of Dracula for Marvel, which is where Blade the Vampire Hunter made his first appearance and New Teen Titans for DC Comics. Blade was later adapted to film form with Wesley Snipes in the starring role. Wrote the landmark DC Comic series Crisis on Infinite Earths. Created the character 'Bullseye' for Daredevil comics. Created the current iteration of Robin (Robin III/Tim Drake) for DC comics. The character has remained popular for nearly twenty years and has its own self-titled long-running series
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However, my interest in "The New Teen Titans" was piqued recently when DC Entertainment announced a direct-to-video animated movie based on the team's most well-known storyline, "The Judas Contract." Simultaneously, DC Comics issued a new edition of the standalone trade paperback which first appeared in 1988.
For either new readers or for those, like myself, who ignored the Titans the first time, this new edition of "The Judas Contract" is an ideal introduction.
By today's standards, it's modest in terms of length-only four issues, three of "Tales of the Teen Titans" and a "Teen Titans" Annual. But it does not lack for either action or drama.
The story owes its title to a contract which the Titans' archenemy-Deathstroke the Terminator, aka Slade Wilson-is trying to complete on behalf of his dead son, Grant, for an organization of evil called H.I.V.E. This subplot had been in the background of "The New Teen Titans" from its beginning in 1980. But new readers won't feel adrift without having read prior "NTT" issues or collected editions, as writer Marv Wolfman explains the situation well enough-and pays it off-without resorting to blatant exposition dumps.
Wolfman also reveals Deathstroke's history, which he'd kept shrouded in mystery throughout those previous issues and collections, by introducing readers to his embittered ex-wife, Adeline, and their surviving son, Joseph, who is able to control people's motor functions through eye contact. In the course of the tale he adopts his own superhero identity, Jericho-thus pitting son against father.
Along with his fellow Titans Cyborg, Raven and Starfire, Jericho was important in establishing the Titans as its own entity, rather than a Justice League knockoff. In addition, Adeline has since influenced Deathstroke's evolution from villain to antihero.
The "Judas" of the title is Tara Markov, aka Terra, a teenage girl with the power to manipulate earth and earth-related materials who had appeared in "NTT" for two years prior to this storyline and had become as good as family to the Titans, though not an official team member.
Wolfman also connected her to another team book of the time, "Batman and The Outsiders," by establishing her as the sister of that team's Geo-Force. So she seemed a superstar in the making. However-spoiler alert-she was really a psychopath who had partnered with Deathstroke out of mutual hatred of the Titans and infiltrated the team in order to destroy them.
The story's one weakness is the rationale-or lack thereof-for Markov's actions. Wolfman doesn't give her any reason to hate the Titans. "No one taught her to hate, yet she hates...without cause, without reason," he writes in the story's climax. "Don't look for reasons which do not exist-plainly, Tara Markov is what she is..." He might as well have written, "The story's almost over, I haven't come up with a good rationale for my villain's actions, and I can't be bothered now." It doesn't damage the story, but to those like myself who believe people have reasons for their actions, it's annoying.
Wolfman also gives the Titans added angst-and further establishes them as their own unit-by having Wally West, aka Kid Flash, retire from superheroics and return to college and having Dick Grayson abandon his Robin identity-which Dick says will always be the back half of Batman and Robin-and do some soul-searching before adopting his own crimefighting identity as Nightwing.
Through his detailed artwork and his distinctive page layouts, Perez gives "The Judas Contract" the same epic quality he'd given "The Avengers" and would later give "Wonder Woman." He's aided by three inkers-Dick Giordano, Mike DeCarlo and Romeo Tanghal-but the transition between them is so seamless the reader won't notice, and be taken out of the story.
"The Judas Contract" won the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for Favorite Story of 1984. After reading this collection, it's easy to see why.
Seriously, read this comic. It's the Titans' finest hour.
get this with the terror of trigon graphic novel.