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In 1984 Marv Wolfman and George Pérez created one of the most memorable stories ever to be associated with the Teen Titans. Now the title of this story was called 'The Judas Contract', and as it's name suggests, part of its general premise revolves around a Judas, a betrayer, a turn-coat, who essentially backstabs the Titans and leaves them at the mercy of some of their old foes. Funnily enough, I can say exactly the same thing about the following comic book created in May, 2017, by those loveable goons: Dan Abnett, Brett Booth, Benjamin Percy, and Mike McKone. Want to know why? Then please check out this adventure published by DC.

TO QUOTE Norman Cousins: 'Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live'.

Issue 11 of the Titans, also known as part one of 'The Lazarus Contract', comes across as a fairly focused introductory story centered on Deathstroke trying to get his revenge on the titular team. Now, as some of us might recall, many years ago Deathstroke's son, Grant Wilson, also known as the mercenary, The Ravager, was hired by a group of terrorists named the HIVE, in order to take down the Titans in exchange for a set of superpowers, similar to his fathers. Unfortunately these powers caused him to have a heart-attack and he ended up biting the biscuit while fighting the aforementioned team. For some unexplained reason Deathstroke saw this going down, so now, all these years later, he finally decides to take his revenge.

And how does he do that exactly? Why of course, he takes it upon himself to kidnap and then torture one of their members, namely, Wally West, and he goes about doing this at the exact same time the Titans are trying to find, shock-horror, the HIVE.

A coincidence? Yeah. It does seem fairly coincidental, doesn't it? And to be completely honest with you, to me, this particular aspect did dent the story in terms of plot. 

Obviously my distain doesn't have anything to do with the artwork provided by Brett Booth. As always, Brett's glorious illustrations were a pleasure to behold, especially the way in which he manages to express emotion through each of his characters faces, as well as his dynamic panel layouts, which I always find very pleasing to follow.

What my gripe is actually referring to involves some of the flaws found within the story's general plot. One part of me doesn't understand why Deathstroke is blaming the Titans when it was the HIVE who indirectly killed his son. Another part of me doesn't understand why Slade took so long to get his revenge, keeping in mind that he's already encountered a few of the Titans during his previous adventures, namely, Nightwing. And while I'm on the subject of Nightwing, why is he lying to his team, when deep down inside he knows that lying doesn't get you anywhere?

None of this makes any sense to me, not one little bit, even though the rest of the story was pretty suspenseful to follow. One of my most favorite scenes would have to be that one where Deathstroke gave Wally his truth serum (I seriously thought 'verbal laxative' was a great name for this product), and this was closely followed by him trying to use Wally to pervert the nature of time itself -- thus Wally inadvertently becomes this story's 'Judas'. Honestly, I think these last two garnishes gave the general narrative a much more innovative take on things, particularly where originality is concerned.

Now I'm sure many of us Titan fans can figure out that this four part 'Lazarus Contract' crossover event is a blatant rip-off of the recently released DC animated adaptation, 'The Judas Contract', which, let's face it, can't be topped in a retroactive manner. Yet the one thing this current creative team can do, is try to respect the original source material by adding to its overall mythos, rather than trying to cash in on it. Know what I mean? 

That aside, on the whole I thought this was a pretty decent start to an ongoing story. The art was great, the plot was tense, and all in all I did enjoy some of the intriguing questions it posed. Such as, can time be perverted by Deathstroke? Where have the HIVE gone? Who is Lazarus? And does this mysterious figure have any connection to a certain R'as Al Ghul? To be continued.

If you set yourself on a long, arduous, mission, in order to get back your long, dead, son, what type of inspirational song would you want to play in the background, just to spur you on? Why of course, what could be better than Will Smith's gag-tactic pop inspired slice of cheese, 'The Two Of Us', which in no way has any direct relation to the Beatles song of the same name. Wink-wink! 

Essentially this story is about misguided revenge and the need to rectify an old wrong. And to me, nothing says this more than Count Dracula himself. Think about it, as you know it makes sense, albeit without the blood, the biting, and all of that Victorian malarkey.

At the end of this issue Deathstroke introduces Wally to another Wally who doesn't know his real name. So, for the sake of politeness, let's see if you can figure out who this second Wally is out of the following eight options? Could it be...

  1. Wally Weaver: Dr Manhattan's old pal.
  2. Wally Cox: The esteemed actor and comedian best known for his roles on TV.
  3. Wally Amos: The first African American talent agent in the history of the William Morris Agency.
  4. Wally gherkin: Which is basically a gherkin.
  5. Wally West: You know, the other one.
  6. Wally Wood: Famous comic book artist that specialized in Science Fiction and Disney characters.
  7. Wally Yachts: A yacht building company based in Monaco.
  8. Where's Wally: Seriously! Where is he? The thieving scum still owes me money.
Nuff said.

TITANS #11 TITANS #11 Reviewed by David Andrews on May 25, 2017 Rating: 5

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