Titans fans have been waiting for “The Lazarus Contract” for nearly a year. Announced by Deathstroke writer Christopher Priest back in August of 2016, the story was initially going to be an updated New 52/Rebirth telling of the New Teen Titans storyline, “The Judas Contract.” That classic tale saw the team taken down systematically by Slade Wilson, with the help of traitor Tara Markov, in fulfillment of his son Grant’s original contract with The H.I.V.E. Grant, of course, was unavailable to do it himself, as the powers that The H.I.V.E. gave him also killed him during his first outing against the Titans.
What “The Lazarus Contract” turned into in the nine months between its announcement and its release is more of a direct sequel to “The Judas Contract,” with Deathstroke now looking to resurrect his dead son. The ‘contract’ in question, then, is an offer that Slade makes to Wally West – take Slade back in time to save his son, and erase all of the bad deeds that Deathstroke has committed in the intervening years. And Slade doesn’t seem particularly concerned about which Wally West takes him up on the offer.
After the cliffhanger at the end of last week’s Titans #11, this week’s Teen Titans #8 could’ve gone in a couple of different directions. Thankfully, the issue’s storytellers (Priest, Titans scribe Dan Abnett, and Teen Titans writer Ben Percy, who handles this issue’s script) are expedient in addressing how the younger Wally West came to be face-to-face with his older counterpart. They also do a nice job with the interplay between the two Titans teams. Percy puts the parallels between the two teams on display in a series of quick pairings that also serve to set up the relationships between the characters.
All eyes are on the Wallys West this week, though, with Kid Flash the clear focal point of this issue. Wally has been hit with some pretty startling revelations over the past few months, and the choices he makes in this issue are indicative of a kid who’s struggling with the weight of it all. The real enigma of the issue is Slade – is he sincere about this endeavor, or is he after something else? It’s likely we’ll know for sure after next week’s Deathstroke installment, but for now it’s highly entertaining trying to suss it out without knowing what he’s thinking.
With strong character-driven action and another solid cliffhanger, Teen Titans #11 brings “The Lazarus Contract” to its halfway point with a full head of steam. This story has the potential to become a classic Titans story. Here’s hoping the back half is as strong as the front.