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Comic Book / The Lazarus Contract

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A faster "wheelon".
"My name is Slade Wilson. I'm the fastest killer alive... about to change my own destiny."

The Lazarus Contract is a 2017 Bat Family Crossover between Titans, Teen Titans and Deathstroke (Rebirth), written by Dan Abnett, Benjamin Percy and Christopher Priest. It takes place in the May issues of those series, ending in Teen Titans Annual #1.

After the numerous tragedies his family has suffered, Slade Wilson has found a way to resurrect his dead son, Grant Wilson, the first Ravager who died fighting the Teen Titans. To do so, he needs Wally West and the Speed Force.

The crossover looks to clear up the Continuity Snarl of the Titans' post-Flashpoint history, as well as Deathstroke's relationship with the team, both of which were initially retconned out of existence. The story also features the first meeting between both Titans teams.

The crossover is intended to be a Spiritual Successor to the famous storyline "The Judas Contract".

The Lazarus Contract provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: An entire flashback is shown to establish that Slade was a horrible father and pretty much pushed Grant on the path that leads to his death, just in case any newcomers would feel bad for him.
  • Audience Surrogate: Aqualad. He's the newcomer to the Teen Titans and it's his first big crisis. As such, he spends most of the event on the sidelines, making the occasional snarky comment or noting how everyone seems to keep forgetting about him.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Slade shows signs of feeling this way in Deathstroke #19, stating that his Deathstroke persona is born from the death of his son Grant and showing awareness that his supervillainy has hurt his family.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Slade is convinced to stop his mercenary ways through his time-travelling actions, but thanks to Damian, the New 52 Wally West is kicked off the Teen Titans by Damian and the original Wally West is forced to retire as Damian altering the timestream caused him to be fitted with a pacemaker.
  • Blatant Lies: Deathstroke says he never lies... yes, he's lying about his own lying.
  • Broken Pedestal: Dick for Damian, after his Dark Secret comes out. They patch things up, though.
  • Brought Down to Normal: NuWally, when Slade steals his powers.
  • Bullet Time: Slade and Wally enter it in their chase, and Slade notes that they'rem now on an even playing field.
  • Call-Back:
    • Why Wally doesn't want to help Slade change the past. He sees the good it will do and sympathizes with what's been lost (he lost Linda Park after all), but he knows that Barry Allen saving his mom caused Flashpoint, so he tells Slade that he has to move past his loss.
    • The tech Slade is using to drain speed is tech he appropriated from Dr. Elias, a minor villain from the New 52 run of The Flash who has a connection to Daniel West, the New 52 Reverse-Flash.
  • Commonality Connection: When the two Titans teams meet, Donna Troy and Starfire figure they should be leading their respective teams for... some reason.
  • Conflict Ball: The Titans and Teen Titans are initially at each other's throats for... no reason, actually.
  • Continuity Snarl: Slade's use of the Speed Force when changing the past. It's been established that it's incredibly difficult to change the past via timetravel in the DCU, and it's definitely not as easy as Slade makes it seem, where he apparently did it numerous times in his attempt to save Grant. The fact that he could even time-travel without a Cosmic Treadmill is also a bit of a snarl, as it's been established that only Barry Allen and Wally West can use the Speed Force to time-travel with anything even resembling accuracy without one, and Barry's the guy who generates the stuff and had to absorb all of it into himself, while Wally is The Chosen One who mainlines the stuff.
  • Cool Car: Slade uses a sports car to set a trap for NuWally. It looks pretty sleek and has a powerful engine. NuWally describes it as "pure automotive perfection".
  • Dark Secret: Nightwing is keeping one from the Titans and Teen Titans. Turns out he agreed to train Rose Wilson and instill some morals in her at the request of Slade himself, with the condition that Slade no longer try to kill the Titans, which he could've done easily back in those days.
  • Deal with the Devil: Slade offers one: if one of the Wallys helps him go back in time to save his kid, he will never be Deathstroke again, saving all the lives he takes.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Deathstroke. The titular Lazarus Contract turns out to be an agreement between him and Nightwing for Rose to be trained and given morals by Nightwing.
  • Forgot About His Powers: When Wally is chasing down Slade, Slade says he's as fast as Wally (somehow), and that since they're on the same playing field now, he can beat Wally. Wally agrees and runs away... because he apparently forgot that he can drain speed. And no, he didn't actually forget as part of Rebirth, because he's demonstrated the ability since his return.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: After feeling down about his poor choice in father figures (Daniel West (Reverse-Flash) and Barry Allen (the Flash II)), NuWally bonds with a disguised Slade Wilson for an afternoon. When he finds out who Slade is, his response is a self-aware "Not again!"
  • Indy Ploy: Damian displays a ruthlessly cunning imagination by temporarily stopping a younger Wally West's heart when they run into him in the past to prevent his meeting with Deathstroke in the present... resulting in Wally needing to get a pacemaker and New!52 Wally being kicked off the team.
  • Instant Expert: Slade, after attaining the Speed Force, is instantly able to use it to rework his costume with a lightning motif. This is a skill even Barry Allen still doesn't have.
  • Legacy Character: The crossover re-establishes Ravager as one, as Rose Wilson had been using the name over in Deathstroke but it wasn't clear if anyone else had ever used the name. This crossover's first scene established that Grant Wilson, at the very least, did.
  • Light Is Not Good: NuWally's lightning is red, which has been traditionally associated with evil speedsters. Slade's, once he steals his powers is the traditional yellow lightning. Doesn't make him heroic, however.
  • Let Them Die Happy: In the initial flashback, Slade tells Grant that he managed to kill the Teen Titans before he dies.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Slade blames the Titans for killing Grant when they even try to explain that it's whatever H.I.V.E. did to him that killed him. He doesn't care.
  • Morality Chain: Christopher Priest stated he believes Grant's death was what made Slade completely lose any standards and moral compass, making him fully become Deathstroke we know.
    Christopher Priest: Grant has always been the key to Deathstroke. Before Grant's death, Deathstroke was no angel, but he was more or less an agent of change who took assignments which were typically about taking out bad or corrupt people more so than, say, killing The Pope. His son's death unhinged him, after which Deathstroke could fairly be considered "evil" in a way he hadn't actually been before.
  • Moral Myopia: Slade has a big one. Wintergreen even notes this to Jackson Hyde and the younger Wally West, as noted under The Unapologetic below.
    Christopher Priest: Both Grant and Tanya represent the hole in Slade's heart, the space he keeps trying to fill and the engine that fuels Deathstroke. This creates a kind of ends justify the means myopia. He has an enormous blind spot to the suffering he causes others (as regularly seen in this book), so, for him, steamrolling the Wallys is just another day at the office.
  • Mundane Utility: As seen in the Teen Titans annual, Aqualad can use his hydrokinesis to keep the rain off a friend's head.
  • My Greatest Failure: Slade sees Grant's inability to save Grant as this. Noticeably, he doesn't see his abuse of Grant (which led to Grant becoming a mercenary and getting killed) as any kind of failure whatsoever.
  • Never My Fault: Slade refuses to admit his part in driving Grant in the direction he went, instead blaming the Titans. Jericho says it's one of his defining traits: he'll never accept responsibility for his failures.
    Jericho: It's how he processes his emotions: find someone to blame.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Attempted, but averted. The two teams eventually end up running into the Titans as they were when they were the original Teen Titans when they go back in time to stop Deathstroke, ironically in the same beat as trying to avoid exactly that.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted, as Wally West II finally finds out about Wally West's existence. He's confused, to say the least.
  • Save the Villain: When Slade, having temporarily tapped into the Speed Force without a tether, runs into the Speed Force itself, the younger Wally West runs in after him. It takes the efforts of both the Titans and the Teen Titans to bring them both back out again.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Slade's goal is to prevent Grant's death.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the original "The Judas Contract" storyline. The name even invokes it.
  • Super-Speed: Slade gains it in this story thanks to getting some Speed Force from Wally II.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Despite the importance of the Speed Force in Slade's plans and the fact that Slade is about to try and change the past like he did, Barry Allen isn't targeted by Slade and never shows up to help, with Wally not even considering him. Given how NuWally refers to recent events, it's possible Barry was travelling through time with Batman in The Button, but there's no mention of him either way.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The cover of the Annual (the one shown) depicts Slade stealing the powers of Wally West II, despite solicitations and the final issue in the initial arc of Titans implying he would steal them from Wally.
  • The Unapologetic:
    • Slade's inability to simply apologize for his failures in his series end up causing the events of this crossover. Wintergreen even lampshades it.
      Wintergreen: Among his dysfunctions, Slade struggles with intimacy. Having totally ruined relationships with his daughter and surviving son, rather than simply saying "I'm sorry" — he concocts a scheme to change the past. Or, put more succinctly — the entire planet is at risk simply because this man is incapable of hugging his children.
    • Damian Wayne isn't much better, though the consequences are less drastic. When Nightwing tries to get him to apologize for his rudeness around the younger Wally, saying that they need to work together as a team, Damian simply accepts the words of Nightwing as an apology, rather than admit he did anything even remotely wrong.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Damian doesn't hold back in telling off NuWally for stupidly trusting Slade, even a little bit after finding out who he is.