“The Lazarus Contract,” Part 04
Writer: Christopher Priest
Artist: Paul Pelletier
Major spoilers ahead
“The Lazarus Contract” closes off here in this Teen Titans Annual – even if the cover marks it as a “Special” instead of an annual. After a solid first three issues, I was slightly concerned as to how this crossover would wrap up, but as I read the final pages, it occurred to me that DC had already spoiled all of it with their solicitations, but more on that in a bit. This final issue sees Slade confront Grant in the past (who quickly dismisses his father and refuses to accept his arrival), while Wally (Teen Titans) realises he’s lost his powers, and Wally (Titans) tries to track Slade down by confronting Jericho. Essentially, the story ends with Slade realizing the error of his ways and putting down the Deathstroke mantle for good. There are also two epilogues that deal with the aftermath and will play into the next issues (and likely arcs) of Teen Titans and Titans, wherein Wally (Teen Titans) gets fired by Damian, and Wally (Titans) learns he can no longer be The Flash. So there is a lot to digest there, but firstly: the spoilers that DC dropped.
In the solicitations for Deathstroke #21, we see Slade on the cover with his own version of the Teen Titans, one of whom is Wally West (Teen Titans). The description reads that Slade has emerged from the Speed Force “a changed man” and gathered his own task force for justice, including “former Teen Titans, Kid Flash and Power Girl.” Former? Does this imply Wally stops being a member of the Teen Titans? Well, yes. It does. In the first epilogue of Teen Titans Annual #1, we see Damian fire Wally, so now we know exactly how the next issue of that series is going to go. Speaking of, Wally is absent from the covers of Teen Titans #10 and #11, reaffirming his departure from the team. It may seem like a lot to go on about for a whole paragraph, but the ending of this crossover has insane ramifications moving forward for not only Teen Titans, but Deathstroke and Titans too. This is the second time recently I’ve been spoiled by solicitations, and it cheapened the ending and made it sort of worthless in my eyes.
On the positive side of things, this issue had huge amounts of heart and told a very moving story for not only Wally (Teen Titans) but Slade as well. It was a very satisfying conclusion to the entire crossover event and a necessary catalyst moving forwards for all of the books involved; while we may only get some one-issue aftermaths, the ramifications of this crossover will be felt for a long time to come. As always, the art is consistent and beautiful to look at, and complemented the touching story extremely well. All in all, this crossover felt necessary, but still enjoyable, not that the two are intrinsically linked in any way. I would highly recommend picking up this four-book arc if you are interested in reading any of the three titles it encompasses, as it makes a great jumping on point for new readers in a lot of regards.
A solid ending to a solid crossover, “The Lazarus Contract” and its aftermath will certainly be felt in each of the three books upcoming arcs. The oversized annual as a closing issue worked wonders in wrapping up the story, and was an all-round enjoyable read.
Images courtesy of DC Entertainment