Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Teen Titans Special #1 Review and **SPOILERS**

Final Clauses

Teen Titans Special #1
"The Lazarus Contract, Finale"
Story: Christopher Priest, Benjamin Percy & Dan Abnett
Script: Christopher Priest
Pencils: Paul Pelletier
Inks: Andrew Hennesy
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Willie Schubert
Cover Price: $4.99
On Sale Date: May 31, 2015

Is this an Annual or a Special?  Is there a difference, and does it really matter?  Probably not.  All we know for sure is that we're staring down the barrel of the conclusion to the, thus far underwhelming Lazarus Contract crossover.  Was it worth the wait, and the... uh, five-bucks?  Will you proudly display this trade paperback on your shelf next to your copy of Judas Contract?  Probably not for any of that, but let's take a look anyway.

What Happened?

We flashback to Grant Wilson's time getting cozy with the kids of H.I.V.E., and learn that these geeks are aware of his famous father.  They are only using poor gullible Grant in order to backdoor their way into a working relationship with the main murderer himself.

In the past, we get a meeting between past-Grant and present-Deathstroke... in the past.  Grant is overjoyed to have met his idol... until the masks come off.  Then it becomes all "Screw you dad!", and Slade realizes he didn't go far enough back in time.

In the present, the Titans... argue.  They're doing that a lot during this arc, ain't they?  Gar won't shut up about getting the Justice League involved.  That's cool though, because I'm guessing that's supposed to be as annoying as it's coming across.  The amalgamated Young Heroes then head back to Hatton Corners to enact the next step of their plan to stop Deathstroke.  They leave nu-Wally on purpose, but also without noticing that poor Jackson stepped away to... uh, stand in a puddle...

At the Corners the team is introduced to Jericho, who is using his subvocal processor to broadcast his "voice" to the Titans... which kind of robs Joe Wilson of one of his more defining characteristics.  He no longer needs to sign, and hell... at this point, what does it even matter that he can't speak?  Other than having a weird word-balloon, we can understand him just as well as any of the others!

The composite Titans all go back in time in chase of Deathstroke, and wind up standing before the originals!  Damien wastes no time before... temporarily killing Kid Flash!  He uses his Stone Palm technique to disrupt the rhythm of his heart, mess with the future, and break Deathstroke's bond with the Speed Force.

When we rejoin nu-Wally and Jackson, the former is whinging and trying to get a hold of Barry Allen.  The pair are picked up by Deathstroke's buddy Wintergreen, and he fills them in on some of the Wilson family drama.  Just as real-past-Wally is resuscitated, nu-present-Wally gets his speed powers back... and everyone conveniently winds up back in the present.

We're not done yet, though... because Deathstroke is still dead set on going back to the past.  He begins to run at the speed of light to reenter the Speed Force... where he will remain until the end of time.

Or will he?  At this point, nu-Wally shows up and whinges about the Titans not heading in to rescue their arch enemy.  He claims to do otherwise would be behaving "just like him".  False equivalence is a helluva drug.  Nu-Wally is the worst.

The Titans decide to enact a sort of Care Bears Stare, and send the Wally's into the Speed Force to rescue the man who has tried to kill them time and time again.  All but Robin, that is.  He refuses.

There's a moment where it seems as though all might be lost.  Raven, who is acting as a tether, begins to fray... empathically.  Damien and a just-arrived Jackson are able to keep her focused... and the rescue mission is a success!  The Speedsters return, Deathstroke returns, hoo-ha, the whole world works.

Or does it?  Deathstroke appears to have returned a changed man... a man, who has decided to retire his masked identity.  Considering the fact that his ongoing bi-weekly title hasn't ended, I'm guessing this is short-lived at best.

We head into epilogue-land where Damien fires nu-Wally for being a whinging tool.  We also learn that real-Wally has a pacemaker due to the "death punch" thingie Damien gave him in the past.  If he runs... he dies... or something.

What I Dug?

Paul Pelletier rules... so there's that.

Deathstroke going further and further back in time to find Grant at the most opportune time really helped to illustrate his desperation and obsession with his endeavor.  Though, I could've done without the cliche "I hate you, Dad." bits.

Damien maintaining a level-head during their confrontation with the old Titans was very true to his character.  His decision to stop old-real-Wally's heart for a moment to break Deathstroke's tether to the Speed Force was an interesting wrinkle... even if it leads to that epilogue.

The teams forgetting about Jackson Hyde was pretty funny... the first couple of times.  Once it became clear that it was going to be a running gag (at least for this story), it lost any of the charm it had.

And... as much as I don't agree with it, heading into the Speed Force to rescue Deathstroke was a very "Titans" thing to do.  I can't hold it against them when they exhibit traits like this.

What I Didn't?

Wally West... nu-Wally, that is... this kid might be the most annoying character I've read about in a long time.  He's just so butter-soft, and wimpy.  He doesn't appear to feel too terribly about knocking over the first domino here, but will jump down Robin's throat for simply suggesting they leave the... mass murderer... skipping through the timestream.  Hopefully his "firing" sticks... and they shift him over to Deathstroke so I can ignore him.

In the final epilogue, we learn that real Wally has a pacemaker due to the Damien-punch in the past.  Is this really going to be the next chapter for Titans?  Don't get me wrong, I love Wally... real Wally, that is... he was (and is) my Flash, but nearly the entirety of the Titans run thus far is all about having lost Wally... and maybe losing him again.  After a year, it's getting pretty tired.  Not looking forward to having every battle include a scene of him grabbing his chest, while his teammates gasp.

While I appreciated Damien's aloofness toward the speed force situation from a comedy aspect, I don't see him not caring about his team getting stuck there.  I mean, I might have chuckled when he patted Raven on the head... but honestly, it just felt like bad comedy.

The Wilson boys are depicted rather poorly here.  To be fair, I'm not following post-Rebirth Deathstroke, so it might be unfair for me to pass any judgment on characterization.  I will say that Jericho should never call Deathstroke "Pop".  Grant being portrayed as some loser kid who was being used didn't feel right either.  The Grant I know was a confident and headstrong young man... this just feels as though they're molding him to fit the story they want to tell.  Again, I'm not reading Deathstroke so I might be ignorant to the "new normal".

Bits & Pieces:

An underwhelming ending to an underwhelming story, which only served to plant the seeds for several underwhelming stories yet to come.  At least with it being culmination of a crossover, this Annual/Special is somewhat more worthy of it's $4.99 price tag.



  1. What else has Wally West to suffer through after being locked up in the speed force, have his ID stolen by an impostor, losing his wife and children and his whole life as a result?? Pacemaker for now a wheelchair in the future to nerf him more and make way for Barry. DC is really trying its worst and doesn't see that Wally and Barry have not a fame bone to pick they are first and foremost family. Damian although a prick did well for the first time and fired the kid butterscotch.

  2. Priest is a great writer. Whatever he'll be doing on Deathstroke will be great.

    1. I love the Deathstroke book, but this whole crossover was awful.