Teen Titans Essential Tale: "The Judas Contract"
from Wizard #0, 2003
transcribed by Bill Walko
If anything, "The Judas Contract" shreds superteam ideals by asking, "Who do you trust?"
Co-plotting creators Wolfman and Perez craft an all-new art of deception with their iconic version of the Teen Titans.
In fact, a true appreciation of this
tale (which DC recently collected into a TEEN TITANS: THE JUDAS trade
paperback) comes from knowing that it comprises only a patch among a
larger, more sinister tapestry.
Approximately a year before "Judas
Contract" begins, a snarky young girl named Terra joins the Teen Titans
under peculiar - and as a result, sympathetic - circumstances. At first,
the earth-manipulating teen fights them, claiming she's a pawn of
terrorists who have kidnapped her parents. The Titans resolve the issue,
but not before learning the kidnappers had killed Terra's parents long
ago without her knowledge. All alone in the world, Terra seeks refuge
with the Titans.
Over the course of the next year,
Terra's sarcastic 'tude wins her teammates over. They let her in on all
of their secrets - their real identities, their personal lives, their
day job - severything. The lead-in to "Judas" serves up the ultimate
whammy: Terra serves under the employ of the Titans' No. 1 nemesis,
Deathstroke the Terminator... and has been from the start. And now the
pair - hired by the nefarious organization known as the HIVE - know
exactly how, where and when to strike at the start of "Judas."
And pounce they do, systematically
taking out each Titan, one by one, for eventual execution at the hands
of the HIVE. With one exception: the ex-Robin, Dick Grayson, who
outmanuevers the far superior Deathstroke to escape and plan his
team-mates' liberation in a then-new guise of Nightwing.
The ensuing battle for the Titans'
freedom comes at a high cost, and Terra's duplicity cuts too deep, as
one Titan perishes by story's end. Perhaps the deepest wound went to
Changeling (now called Beast Boy) - before "Judas," he believed that he
and Terra had a blossoming romance; instead her deception devastated him
with a broken heart.
"The Judas Contract" proves that
innocence can be lost at any time, and things aren't always what they
seem. The teenage life still walks its road of hard knocks...but for the
Teen Titans, "Judas" left them a world more dangerous than ever.
ALSO CHECK OUT: If it's got the names
"Wolfman and Perez" on the cover, then it's gotta be good. And the
following three examples kick ass. Pick up the first four issues of New Teen Titans (vol. I) and see how these Titans ain't a Junior JLA. New Teen Titans (vol. I) #20
serves as a touching one-shot story where Wally West (then going by Kid
Flash) writes his parents describing what it means to be a Titan.
Finally, the "Who Killed Trident?" storyarc in Titans (vol. I) #33 presents a unique murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the end.