The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract by Marv Wolfman

thejudascontract_coverTitle: The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract
Stand-Alone: Yes
Writer(s): Marv Wolfman
Illustrator(s): George Pérez, Dick Giordano, Mike DeCarlo & Romeo Tanghal
Publisher: DC Comics
Format: Hardcover – Deluxe Edition
Original Release Date: January 1st 1990
Pages: 200
Genre(s): Comics, Science Fiction
ISBN13: 9781401275778
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Are you unfamiliar with the Teen Titans? These young heroes have been dealing out justice in the shadow of the Justice League all their life. Their camaraderie is iconic and their passion, unquenchable. Being young and inexperienced, their development has always been impregnated by a touch of innocence and a whole lot of trial and error. With members like Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, Cyborg and Raven, the Teen Titans have been a peculiar group of heroes with their own set of flaws, but also a powerful team that finds their footing thanks to their unparalleled friendship.

But what exactly is The Judas Contract about? This is the ultimate and quintessential Teen Titans story about new beginnings and betrayals. Collecting The New Teen Titans #39-40, Tales of the Teen Titans #41-44 and Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3, this story features the origin story for both Nightwing and Deathstroke, the introduction of Jericho and Tara Markov, as well as the retirement of Kid Flash. However, it is the betrayal of a Teen Titan that highlights this story arc and identifies it as a classic canon DC story worth visiting as the events that unfold will shock the Titans to the core and bring them to experience something that they are likely to not forget anytime soon.

What readers need to keep in mind while picking up this story arc is that it was created in the 1980s. There are plenty of implications in that fact alone and one of them is that it struggles to survive the test of time. The artwork alone is an indisputable indicator of the era in which it was all thought up, but it is far from being a flaw in this case. The style portrays colourful and detailed looks at some of our heroes original designs and begins to focus a lot more on facial expressions and movement to convey the drama in constrast to the previous era’s art style.

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The artwork also conforms itself to the traditional panel structure and makes it easy to observe how extremely dialogue-heavy the story is. In fact, it’s safe to say that Marv Wolfman was very fond of the telling-rather-than-showing style, but what made it much more difficult to read was all the internal monologue that were impossible to believe. As much as I wanted to believe that those were the words they uttered to themselves in the mist of danger and what not, I was too baffled by how much cringe it instigated in me to overlook it.

It still remained that it was fun discovering the personality of all these Titans through the eyes of Marv Wolfman. They all had their own stories to tell, and some were even carrying over emotions from past events. What however struck me the hardest was the sexual touch that was lingering throughout the banter in this story arc. Some of these characters are teenagers, yet they make jokes that seemed a little bit too exuberant and spicy. Although Starfire has always been portrayed as a beautiful innocent orange-skinned alien, and I expected to see that being focused on here and there, the rest sort of came out of the blue.

While the plot revolves around a major betrayal that could potentially lead the Teen Titans to their demise, the execution took away a lot of the tension and suspense that you would expect from it all. In fact, there are no surprises in this volume. Everything is pretty predictable. This forces you to seek enjoyment and appreciation elsewhere, leaving you feeling a bit underwhelmed. Ultimately, The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is a story to pick up to enlighten your knowledge on an iconic event, but it is far from being the most impressive story to grace the DC universe.

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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

This story arc also got an animated adaptation—with some modifications loads of improvement! Check out the trailer above!

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28 comments

  • There are a few good comics from this era, but this one doesn’t look to belong to this category 😉 I have a general problem with DC’s attempts to create heroes resonating specifically with the younger audience – Teen Titans being a good example of that failed effort 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • No doubt about that. I still love visiting the classic stories, even if they aren’t incredible and beyond reproach (like this one). Sometimes reading the “not so good” ones helps us better appreciate the “great” ones, you know? 😀 Hey, hey, hey now. DC is the best. The Teen Titans are amazing (the animated TV series, for example). The idea of the Teen Titans is a solid one, but you just have to pick up the right material to fall in love with the gang. Besides them, there might not be a bunch of heroes for youngsters to connect and see themselves as, but that’s what leads them to LOVE the other icons of DC (Supes, Bats, Wonder Woman, etc)!!!

      P.S. I will never admit to any flaw in the DC world!!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • I am not sure I am ready to tackle the Titans in comics but I sure do enjoy them on CN. I love how they occassionally air the various series showing the evolution of the animated series. It’s a shame about the predictability factor. I do think I could totally watch the animated adaptation of this story arc though. Great review Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The animated series was AMAZING!!!! I used to watch it as a kid too. It’s how I discovered them after all (which I think is how most people know them too).

      Oh yes, the animated movie will always be something I’d recommend here (in fact, most of the time, I’ll always recommend them as they are really well-done!).

      Thank you for reading, Danielle! ❤

      Like

  • Aww I remember watching Teen Titans on TV about 10 years or so ago? Sorry this comic didn’t quite work for you, but I did like the trailer😁

    Liked by 1 person

  • I enjoyed the animated version. For me with the plethora of comics if I’ve consumed a story arc in one format I don’t bother pursuing a different one because there are too many stories out there to get follow different formats and riffs on basically the same story, so I won’t both reading the actual comics.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s no real or urgent need to visit the original story arc if you’ve seen the animated movie honestly. Fans of the movie could check it out of curiosity, and comic book fans will find it fascinating in its own rights too. There’s definitely so many wonderful story arcs out there that should be prioritized over this one too (if a person doesn’t want to put in too much time in comic books)! Thanks for reading, Kay! I appreciate it. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Lashaan: this isn’t my medium but I had to drop a quick comment and say thanks for the really interesting posts about something I know very little about. Years ago, I spent a lot of time with comics but I was a Marvel Guy. Always fun to read content from someone who’s really knowledgeable and who cares about his subject. Thanks, Brian

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey there Brian, I have to say that you definitely revitalized me with a lot of energy with your comment. I am extremely happy of hearing your kind words about my posts AND even more for seeing you take the time to say what you just did. I know a lot of folks either never tried the medium, don’t want to or have abandoned it, but I still feel like it isn’t something that should be overlooked. They even make for a nice break in between the huge SFF books I might pick up too! Thank you so much for reading and dropping this comment on me. I live for these moments. 😀 Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  • Great analysis Lashaan, I only really heard about this arc when the animated movies came out (which I haven’t seen). I’m not really a fan if the Teen Titans although it would obviously be great to read this purely for the origins of Nightwing and Deathstroke and it gets some plus points for being written by Marv Wolfman and having George Perez and Dick Giordano providing some of the art.

    The over-wordiness of older comics can be a turn off though, especially when a lot of it is often superfluous and unnecessary. It’s great to see how comics have evolved over the decades to strike more of a balance between dialogue and visuals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks man. Yep, me too. I did however hear about Deathstroke being a Teen Titans villain first before going up against other heroes, like Batman though. This was when Deathstroke was added into the Arrowverse and people complained about how the show (Arrow) stole a lot of Batman’s lore. It was nice to finally find out what his original original story was though (quite different from what you’d imagine). It’s definitely a story arc worth visiting, but I don’t think you should go into with super high expectations. Definitely agree about the evolution of comics. What Tom King gives us nowadays is COMPLETELY different from what we get Marv Wolfman’s story. That’s for sure. 🤣

      Like

  • It’s so funny that you revised this, I just started watching Teen Titans Go! On Netflix for a “background show” (that show you put on while you’re doing other things and won’t be paying full attention) definitely a weird show for kicks and giggles and nothing like the original Teen Titans… More of a spoof version.
    But, this definitely is a new look for them! They look to 80s gritty! I kind of love that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am sort of ashamed of Teen Titans Go! to be honest hahahah The original animated series was amazing, but when I heard about Go!, I had a nice face-palm moment about it. They even got a movie recently too… Hopefully it entertains the kids out there though. 🤣 Hahahah Starfire and Nightwing are definitely those who go through A LOT of phases through the year. Their costumes in particular too! Thanks for dropping by! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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