Comic Book / The Judas Contract

The Judas Contract, by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, is the most famous story arc of the Teen Titans franchise.

Once upon a time, Changeling met Terra, a teenager with a lovely face, the metahuman ability to manipulate rocks, and the social skills of Wolverine. He immediately fell in love with her, despite the fact that she was a villain robbing banks, and believed he could redeem her. The Titans discovered that she was forced to commit crimes by a terrorist group that claimed they heldd her parents hostage, though it turns out that her parents had actually died. Changeling noticed a few lies—things that did not make sense—but the Titans eventually accepted Terra as a Titan anyway. Terra took issue with the Titans concealing their secret identities, so as they came to trust her, they revealed their true identities to her.

A week after that reveal, Deathstroke captures most of the Titans by setting traps at their homes. Dick Grayson, who had resigned from the Robin persona and become Nightwing, managed to escape the trap. He soon confirmed that he was the only free Titan left, and while at Titan Tower, he was surprised by Adeline, Deathstroke's ex-wife, who revealed details about Slade's activities—including Terra's betrayal of the Titans. Adeline's son, Jericho, joined Nightwing and travelled to the country where Deathstroke had taken the Titans for the H.I.V.E. While Nightwing saved the Titans, Jericho possessed the body of his father and attacked Terra with it. Thinking that Deathstroke had turned against her, an enraged Terra went on a literal earth-shattering rampage and eventually killed herself.

The original Teen Titans animated series dedicated the bulk of its second season to a version of this storyline. After years in Development Hell, a stand-alone Animated AdaptationTeen Titans: The Judas Contract—was released in 2017. 2017's The Lazarus Contract, a crossover between Titans (Rebirth), Teen Titans (Rebirth) and Deathstroke (Rebirth), serves as a Spiritual Successor to this storyline.

The Judas Contract contains examples of:

  • All-Encompassing Mantle: Raven's cape, in the cover used above. See all that blue area? That's supposed to be her cape.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Deathstroke. He had a contract to capture the Teen Titans and deliver them to the H.I.V.E., and he accomplished it. Now, what happens with the Titans after that (even if it means a case of Bond Villain Stupidity and the escape of the Titans), it's none of his business. If H.I.V.E. wants the Titans again, they will have to pay again. No refunds.
  • Big "NO!": In the trial of Slade Wilson, when his relation to the crimes could not be proven (see Secret Identity). Gar did not take it lightly.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Wilson family. Before this, we only had Deathstroke, his quiet assistant, and that son that died on their first appearence.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Well done, H.I.V.E., the Titans have been captured, and they are held at that machine. It is time to kill them... what? Wait a whole day for the chief to appear? Well, let's wait then, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • Eyedscreen: Raven felt that Terra was evil, but she was still unsure, because her powers were not working correctly at the time. And one day, during a training session, Terra briefly revealed her true colors and tried to kill Gar. She said then that it was because his pranks reminded him of the time with the terrorists. She begged them to believe her, as Raven stared at her with a deep and deep vision, ending in an eyedscreen... but no: Raven did not realize Terra's intentions before she carried out the plan.
  • Fatal Family Photo: If Slade didn't spend so much time looking at his family photos when Terra was around, she wouldn't have recognized that blond guy that came with Nightwing. He may have had a chance to convince H.I.V.E. to let him take that guy, and leave, before they killed the Titans or the Titans escaped and turned everything into a big mess.
  • Foreshadowing: Raven's empathetic abilities being on the fritz both blinded her to Terra's intentions, and foreshadowed that she was starting to slip, as seen in The Terror of Trigon.
  • For the Evulz: The ultimate reason why Terra did all the things she did. Future writers be dammed, Terra shows absolutely no redeeming qualities in this arc. Every time she did something good, it was a calculated masquerade.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: When the Titans are not watching her, or when she has dropped the masquerade, Terra is always smoking. Because she's evil.
  • He's Dead, Jim: After she covered herself with rocks, Cyborg, Gar and Wonder Girl began to remove the rocks. With her powers, Terra may still be alive! And then, the end: Gar has found the corpse of Terra.
  • How We Got Here: The first attack of Deathstroke seen was to Dick Grayson. He escaped from him, and discovered the fate of all the others while visiting the places where they were captured.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Finding out that Terra was The Mole was a big surprise in its day. Nowadays, after a pair of decades with her betrayal as a recurring past plot element for the Titans (including new Terras), and an animated series where Terra also joined the Titans to betray them, nobody should be surprised to read that.
  • Leave Him to Me: Terra wanted to kill Raven herself, not let Deathstroke take her, because Raven could sense that Terra was evil.
  • Military Maverick: Wintergreen, in the flashback. A major that hated Slade sent him to a suicide mission, but Wintergreen defied the orders to stay back and rescued him.
  • The Mole: Terra, of course. Deathstroke feared that she may become a Reverse Mole after staying with the Titans, but no, her hatred for them (and for everything else, for that matter) was too high.
    • Changeling was dead sure that it had to be a trick, that Terra had to be a Reverse Mole (or mind controlled, or whatever), even as she insulted him and openly denied that. He even kept attacking Slade after all this, blaming him for the death of Terra (which, in a sense, is correct since Slade had hired Terra to act as part of his plan to bring down the Titans and thus put her in the situation that eventually led to her death, but he had no direct part in the death itself.)
  • Not So Different: Gar and Slade had such a moment sometime after this story. Gar defies Slade to a fight to the death, and he accepts. Both of them want to put an end to the whole thing. On one side, Gar is at Terra's grave, thinking that he must do this for her, to avenge her, so she can rest in peace. And on the other side, Slade is at Grant Wilson's grave, thinking that he must do it for him, to end the whole thing started by his unfinished contract, so that he can rest in peace.
  • Origin Story: For Deathstroke, Jericho, Adeline and Wintergreen.
  • Retired Badass: Adeline, after having two sons. But she still knows how to dispose of a terrorist gang.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: When Wintergreen was captured by the Vietcong, Slade asked the military to take him again: he was sure that he would be able to rescue Wintergreen, even if he had to make the mission alone. He was rejected. So he created the "Deathstroke" persona, headed to the Vietcong, and rescued Wintergreen all by himself.
    • See also the Military Maverick entry for Wintergreen, who was in the military at the time of his own incident.
  • Secret Identity: Exploited by Slade Wilson in court. He openly admits that he was Deathstroke once, but that he wasn't the same Deathstroke the Titans fought, and the "second" Deathstroke had taken his secret identity and costume.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Changeling will always believe that Terra was a Reverse Mole or that she was being controlled by Slade, despite all the evidence of the contrary, including Terra's own explicit remarks.
    • Cyborg, on the other hand, is not so naive. When they were all captured and Deathstroke announced that Terra aided him, he believed it immediately: now it all fell into place.
  • Super Window Jump: Deathstroke made one on Dick Grayson's apartment, to make the reveal that he knows his secret identity much more dramatic.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Exaggerated. Deathstroke watches the Titans though the camera in Terra's lens, and in turn, he's being watched by Adeline.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Jericho possessed Deathstroke and forced him to attack Terra and free the Titans, she immediately snapped and accused Slade of betrayal and cut loose with her powers. Even when she figures out Jericho's ability, she became too far gone in her breakdown to care anymore, and wanted to kill them all.