Four Color Comments: Teen Titans: The Judas Contract To Finally Be Animated…Too Little. Too Late

Not going to do it right, then don’t do it. At San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend, Warner Bros Home Entertainment announced that one of their upcoming projects would be […]

Not going to do it right, then don’t do it.

At San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend, Warner Bros Home Entertainment announced that one of their upcoming projects would be an animated version of one of the most beloved stories of the Teen Titans, the Judas Contract. At first, I was excited about it, until reality hit.

It was first announced that an animated version would be made back in 2006. This never happened. In 2008, then DC comics senior VP of creative affairs, Gregory Noveck claimed the project was canceled due to a lack of a “broad fanbase appeal”. I can’t say I agree with that all. Noveck just had no clue.

I even asked Bruce Timm several times myself, and got “corporate” answers from him. Excuses from lack of interest, to it had already been done in the Teen Titans cartoon.  I love Bruce Timm, but he had no clue, just like Noveck.

Now here we are in 2016, and it’s finally happening, but it shouldn’t be, because they are going to screw it up.

How?

Well, not sure if you saw the trainwreck that was Justice League Vs Teen Titans, but at the end we got this little tease:

Yup, Terra.  A prelude to what will probably be the Judas Contract. So what’s the problem? Well in that film, these were our Titans:

Raven, Starfire, Beast Boy. Ok, those three are fine. Not a problem. Cybrog is part of the Justice League, but as we saw, he likes to hang with Titans. Damian Wayne? Not thrilled, but I’ll get to why later. Main problem with this line up, that poser, punk ass, Blue Beetle. DC Comics poster boy for a bad idea that won’t go away. I’ll save the anti-Jaime Reyes rant for another time.

The main plot of the Judas Contract is that Deathstroke’s son tries to be like his father, and takes on a contract from the criminal organization H.I.V.E. to kill the Teen Titans. H.I.V.E. gives the kid powers, but they end up killing him in the end. Deathstroke blames the Titans for the death of his son and then begins to plot against them.

Deathstroke finds Terra, a girl with powers to manipulate the earth. Terra gains the trust of the Titans and infiltrates their ranks. Terra learns all of the Titans secrets and passes them on to Deathstroke. This makes it easier for Deathstroke to capture the Titans, with one exception, Dick Grayson, who just recently gave up the identity of Robin.

Grayson is contacted by Deathstroke’s ex-wife and estranged son Joseph. This leads Grayson to take up the new identity of Nightwing and Joseph becomes Jericho. They stage a two-man operation on H.I.V.E. headquarters to free the Titans. They succeed but at a cost. Terra ends up losing all control and kills herself in her fury. It’s a hollow victory for the Titans.

It was truly groundbreaking for it’s time. It’s a powerful story that still holds up today. Writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez really on top of their game with this one.  Plus, it was the first appearance of Nightwing.

Unfortunately, though, you can not link it to the current DC Animated Universe.

First off, Nightwing is already an established character. Grayson becoming Nightwing was one of the most memorable points of the Judas Contract. What are they going to do? Have Damian become Nightwing? No. Just no.

Then there’s the constant omission of Donna Troy AKA Wonder Girl.  Troy is the heart and soul of the Titans. It’s that simple, but it doesn’t seem like those over at Warner Animation have a clue, because if they did, she’d be in the animated universe. Hell, Troy has barely been used in most of the animated DC Comics stories. Only real time had to be in 1967 Teen Titans cartoon, that’s not counting the Super Best Friends shorts.

Finally, there’s Deathstroke, who we were introduced to in the animated feature, Son Of Batman. Totally a shadow of his comic counterpart. Plus why would he screw with the entire Titans, just to get back at Damian? Makes no sense to me.

I understand that this is an adaptation of the story, but I’m a die-hard Titans fan. My first introduction to comics was the original team of Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Speedy. It was the New Teen Titans comics that got me into serious comic collecting, so yeah, I don’t want this screwed up. To keep this story in the current DC Animated Universe WILL screw it up.

So if you’re not going to do this epic story line right, then don’t do. Go back to the drawing board and do it the way it was meant to be done. Correct and true to the story.

Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

About Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

An avid comic collector/reader for over 40 years and self-proclaimed professor of comicology, Brian original started up the site Pendragon's Post to share his voice. Well that voice has been shared, and evolved into The Fanboy Factor. Brian is an advocate for remembering comic roots, and that we don't forget what was created in the past, and encourage everyone to read it as well. When not swimming in geek culture, he can be seen corrupting..introducing his young son to comics, much to his wife's chagrin.