The Judas Contract
The Judas Contract, written by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, was a four part story appearing in Teen Titans #42-44 and concluding in Teen Titans annual.
The story has aged extremely well over the years and remains one of the most important Teen Titans stories ever created. Not only does it give the reader a backstory to Wade Wilson, Deathstroke, it also introduces his son Joey, and marks the first appearance of Nightwing.
The Judas Contract
The Judas Contract picks up immediately after both Dick Grayson and Wally West announce their retirements. This is important for Dick as even though he is retired, he is still involved with the Titans.
About a year before his retirement, the Teen Titans had introduced a new member to their group. What they don’t realize is that the new member, Terra, is working alongside arguably their most dangerous foe, Deathstroke.
It wouldn’t take long for the Titans to realize that something was off with their recruit. During a harmless training exercise, Changeling (Beast Boy), who has a crush on her, sends a few playful jabs Terra’s way. Terra doesn’t see it as playing and counters with a devastating attack that nearly paralyzes him.
Even though suspicion is high, Terra continues to gather information on each member of the team. Once she has completed her infiltration she gives the information she has acquired to Deathstroke.
His first target is that of Dick Grayson. He pays him a visit at his apartment and before Dick could ask how he knew who he was, Deathstroke tosses him across the room. Dick stands up and runs full force at his opponent. With a simple flick, Deathstroke swats him aside and into the nearby window. Now falling, Dick removes his jacket and uses it as a way to break his fall.
He quickly calls the Titans team but no one answer.
Dick makes his way to the apartment of Donna Troy and Kory Anders. When he arrives things are displaced. He realizes that Deathstroke must’ve been there already.
To capture the two, Slade sent a box filled with energy to Starfire. When she opened it, she absorbed the energy until she couldn’t absorb it anymore. At full capacity, she exploded.
To take down the powerful Amazonian he created a chemical mixture that he added to her Dark Room. His chemical mixture, now combined with the normal chemicals renders her unconscious.
Cyborg is his next target and although a powerful adversary, Cyborg proved to be just another victim. Dick deduces that to dispatch of the walking computer, Deathstroke electrified a chair that he was sitting in.
With all but one of the members captured, Deathstroke returns to the H.I.V.E. Immediately the H.I.V.E. notice that Dick Grayson isn’t there and begin to criticize Deathstroke. In fact, he asks for payment and they tell him that he is one member short.
Dick returns to Titans Tower and learns that each of his friends have been captured. He is approached by the ex-wife of Deathstroke, Adeline Kane and her son, Joey. She tells him that Terra had been working with Deathstroke and that she had collected personal information on each member. Dick is left angry and speechless. He simply cannot believe that Terra was working for Slade Wilson.
Dick races over to the phone where he calls Garfield Logan. His butler tells Dick that he hasn’t seen him all day. The scene flips over to show Garfield laying on top of a pile of envelopes. Yes, Deathstroke had been there and laced the envelopes with poison.
Dick shifts his attention back to Adeline. She proceeds to explain Deathstroke’s history and how he became who he is.
Her son, Joey Wilson is a person incapable of speech but looks to help in any way possible. He, like other members of the Titans, possesses abilities. His abilities allow him to possess other beings.
Dick quickly realizes that he can never truly escape the call of duty. As such, he races upstairs, gathers a new costume, calls himself Nightwing, aligns himself with Joey, now Jericho, and makes his way to H.I.V.E.
Upon their arrival, the two heroes learn that the Titans have been strapped to a machine that drains them of their life force. Good intentions couldn’t help the two and like their counterparts, they too are captured.
Deathstroke sees that his son is one of the captured and implores his employer to release him. They have nothing of it and Jericho uses the moment to possess his father. The now possessed Deathstroke frees each of the Titans. Terra sees Deathstroke’s affection for his son and assumes that it makes him weak.
A giant skirmish ensues and at its conclusion, Terra brings the mountain down. Each member of the team was able to escape with the exception of Terra.
The Judas Contract concludes with the Titans hosting a funeral for their fallen member.
If you haven’t read The Judas Contract I strongly suggest that you do. It pushed the boundaries of storytelling and will live on in comic lore forever.