Comic Book Spotlight of the Day: Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3 – 1984 (DC Comics)

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TITLE: Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3

YEAR: 1984


Co-Creator: Marv Wolfman & George Perez

Letter: Ben Oda

Finishers: Mike DeCarlo + Dick Giordano

Colorist: Adrienne Roy

Back in the ’80s, while “X-Men” was a popular series of the time, one other superhero group bested the mutant comic book in sales and that was writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez’ “New Teen Titans” (which would be renamed to “Tales of the Teen Titans”)..

And during the Wolfman/Perez run, there was one story arc that was not only significant but it also is considered one of the best comic stories ever created and that was “The Judas Contract” featured in “Tales of Teen Titans” issues #42-44 + Annual #3.

The storyline brought back on of the most famous villains, Deathstroke the Terminator and showcased his origin but the biggest shock was that a member of the Teen Titans was shown to be a traitor and was the sexual partner of Deathstroke (Slade Wilson).  Using her position as a member of “Teen Titans” to get information and that the Terminator was working with mercenary organization, H.I.V.E.

And also, another significant milestone was Dick Grayson showcasing his new codename, Nightwing and debuting his new outfit, saying goodbye to his Robin persona.

With “Tales of the Teen Titans” Annual #3 (The Judas Contract Part 4 – Finale!), this is probably the best comic book annual that I have ever read.

Many annuals are created and typically are forgotten, but the fact that the final part of “The Judas Contract” would be featured in the third annual was shocking.

The storyline kick off with Wonder Girl, Starfire, Cyborg and Changeling locked up, while Raven is seen levitating in air and also being held captive thanks to H.I.V.E.

We learn that the capturing of the Teen Titans was in part a big thanks to Deathstroke the Terminator and his partner, which he reveals to everyone as their teammate, Terra.

Terra reveals to Changeling that their relationship was a sham and while Changeling doesn’t want to believe it, he feels that the Terminator may have brainwashed her.

Outside, Nightwing and Jericho (Slade’s son, Joseph Slade) are sneaking into H.I.V.E HQ.  As Nightwing provides the brawn, Jericho uses his ability to possess and inhabit another person’s body for a short time. And uses it on H.I.V.E.

Meanwhile, Adeline Kane, the ex-wife of the Slade Wilson has his friend, Wintergreen under gunpoint and he reveals how he became good friends with Slade Wilson and why he has helped him out (in this case, sending agents out to find the whereabouts of Robin – Not knowing that Dick Grayson had left the team temporarily to create his new identity, Nightwing).  And for Slade, the only way he would get full payment is by delivering Nightwing to the H.I.V.E.

As Nightwing and Jericho are able to infiltrate H.I.V.E. HQ, they are stopped by Terra who hands them over to the H.I.V.E.  but when Terra tells them that she caught someone with Nightwing, Slade finds out that his son Joseph is alive.  When he tries to get the H.I.V.E. to release him, Terra can’t understand why Slade is trying to.  That is until she remembers the boy’s face in Slade’s photos and reveals that the boy is his son.  As Slade looks at his son, Jericho possess Deathstroke the Terminator and immediately goes to release the Teen Titans from captivity, while Terra (who is mentally unstable), feels that Slade has went soft and thinks Slade has turned on her and now she wants him dead.

But the anger that Terra has, leads her to toss around large parts of the Earth around her.  And when Changeling turns into a fly to bump into her contact lens, she is temporarily blinded and is unaware that she has sent tons of rocks falling on top of her and accidentally killing herself.

Despite her being a traitor, the group attends her funeral and decide to keep the secret that Terra was a traitor and tells her brother GEO-FORCE (of the Outsiders) that she died in battle fighting the Terminator.

Overall, this finale for the “The Judas Contract” was fantastic.  The buildup throughout the storyline and how it ended was not only shocking but well-written.  If there is only one problem I had was that Terra wouldn’t remain staying dead.  DC tried several times to bring her back and really, for each time they brought her back, the results are just… (I’m rolling my eyes).

Sometimes, it’s just best to leave certain characters dead. Terra is one of them.  If DC wants to have a character with similar powers, that’s all great but with the multiple attempts of bring her back…it’s just too much.  And she now happens to be back in “DC Universe Rebirth” in the pages of “Deathstroke”.

But for anyone wanting to read wonderful writing and see excellent art showcasing the Teen Titans, “Tales of the Teen Titans” story arc of “The Judas Contract” is highly recommended!


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