Titans #11: The Lazarus Contract
Credit: DC Comics
Back in 1980, legendary comic book creators Marv Wolfman and George Perez created one of the most popular characters in DC comics: Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke the Terminator. Introduced as the father of mercenary Grant Wilson, a.k.a. the Ravager, Deathstroke very quickly became a fan favorite, as well as the iconic archenemy of DC's young superhero team, the Teen Titans.
Deathstroke, referred to initially as simply, "the Terminator," first appeared in comics in the New Teen Titans #2. From this first appearance, Deathstroke has been considered one of the most prolific and dangerous killers in the entire DC Universe. His son, the Ravager, was contracted by the evil organization HIVE to take down the Teen Titans. However, the Ravager lost his life before completing the contract.
After the death of his son, Deathstroke vowed revenge against the Teen Titans and took up HIVE's contract to eliminate them. He finally came face-to-face with the Titans to complete the mission in 1984's highly renowned storyline the Judas Contract. This storyline was a four-issue story created by Wolfman and Perez that has gone down in DC's history as arguably one of the most important stories in the history of the Teen Titans.
Not only did this story provide readers with the origin story of Slade Wilson, a former military man who undergoes government experimentation and eventually becomes a contract killer, but it also marks a monumental change in the history of one of DC’s most beloved characters: Dick Grayson, the original Robin.
Throughout this story, Deathstroke visits each of the Teen Titans individually to abduct them and deliver them to HIVE. He easily takes down Victor Stone/Cyborg, Kori'andr/Starfire, Donna Troy/Wonder Girl, Garfield Logan/Changeling (later known as Beast Boy) and Raven, but he is unable to capture team leader Dick Grayson. After his escape, Dick faces Deathstroke on his own terms under his newly formed identity: Nightwing.
Fast-forward to 2016, DC’s company-wide Rebirth event creates not one, but two teams of youthful heroes: the Titans (Nightwing, Wonder Girl, Flash, Omen, Arsenal and Tempest), and the Teen Titans (Robin, Starfire, Raven, Kid Flash, Beast Boy and Aqualad).
This past Wednesday, comic fans everywhere saw the release of Titans #11, Part 1 of the storyline the Lazarus Contract. Not only is this story's title a clear allusion to the famous storyline that brought us Nightwing, but Titans #11 confirms that Deathstroke will be the main villain of this plot.
This time, Deathstroke will be going up against two teams of Titans, numbering twelve in total. However, knowing Deathstroke, this battle may not be as one-sided as it seems. Case in point: only one issue of the story has been released so far and we've already seen Deathstroke capture both the Flash and Kid Flash in broad daylight. He has also seemingly caused a rift in the relationship between Nightwing and Omen.
From the buildup to the Lazarus Contract in the previous issue of Titans, we do know that HIVE is, once again, somehow involved in the plot of this story, but the exact role they are going to play is yet to be fully revealed. All we know from part 1 is that Deathstroke intends to use the Flash to travel back in time and save the Ravager’s life.
The Lazarus Contract story will continue in next week's Teen Titans #8, followed by Deathstroke #19 and will finally conclude in the Teen Titans Annual #1. (Fun fact: the four-part Judas Contract story concluded in 1984's Teen Titans Annual #3)
Have you picked up Teen Titans #11 yet? What do you think will happen? Let me know in the comments.