Teen Titans #8 Review

“The Lazarus Contract” had a good start back in Titans #11. Deathstroke made his presence known right away as he revealed why he kidnapped the Titans’ Flash is because he wants to save his son, Grant Wilson. With Grant’s death closely tied to the Teen Titans history this conflict with Deathstroke really hits home. Additionally, the first part of “The Lazarus Contract” also had another meeting with the two Wally West’s that now exist in the same universe. But unlike thir meeting over in The Flash a few months ago, the Kid Flash Wally finally learned that this new Flash is also named Wally West. How will that revelation play into the contract that Deathstroke offered the Flash Wally? Let’s find out with Teen Titans #8.

Story Writer: Christopher Priest, Benjamin Percy and Dan Abnett

Script Writer: Benjamin Percy

Artist: Phil Hester

Inker: Wade Van Grawbadger

Colorist: Jim Charalmpidis

Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls of 10

Synopsis: Yesterday, Kid Flash runs out of the Teen Titans Tower in San Francisco. As he runs he remembers his history and how Barry Allen has continued to keep the truth from him, including his father being the super-villain Reverse-Flash.

Kid Flash ends up making it into the city and quickly changes out of his Kid Flash costume and into civilian clothing. Wally walks around the block and runs into a guy fixing his car. They strike up a conversation and the guy shows his face, showing that he is Slade Wilson. Slade gets Wally to help him fix his car. They end up having a joy ride together and get something to eat.

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Six hours ago, at Teen Titans Tower, Raven shows concern over the fact that Kid Flash hasn’t returned from his run. Robin shows up and says that Kid Flash isn’t the only speedster missing right now since the Titans have also lost Flash. Jackson Hyde shows his surprise at how Robin always seems to know everything. Beast Boy jokes that Robin is like a small mean Santa.

Robin reveals he tagged all of his team with tracking devices, much to the annoyance of  the Titans. While Starfire tries to talk to Robin about placing trackers on the team, Robin finds out that Kid Flash tracker shows that he is in the Teen Titans Tower. Robin reaches to the back of his neck and finds Kid Flash’s tracker has been placed on him.

In the present in Deathstroke secret base, Kid Flash is stunned to learn that Flash is also Wally West. Flash says he will explain everything later but right now they can’t trust anything Deathstroke says. Before Flash can end his statement Deathstroke activates the device around Flash’s neck and knocks him out.

Deathstroke takes of his helmet and offers Kid Flash the chance to history and “fix” time. Kid Flash says he won’t help Deathstroke as he is another person that lied to him. Deathstroke frees Kid Flash from his confinement and says he never lied to Kid Flash. He goes on to say he wants Kid Flash to help save his son, whose death is what caused him to become the Deathstroke everyone knows. He then mentions that by saving his son they would be stopping the deaths of the many Deathstroke has killed in consequence of Grant’s death.

At Titans Tower, the Titans are still trying to track down Flash but are unsuccessful. A message from Deathstroke suddenly plays that reveals that Nightwing, back when he was still Robin, made a “Lazarus Contract” with Deathstroke. The Titans ask Nightwing what is going on. Before Nightwing can answer Robin tells the Titans to meet him on the rooftop.

On the roof of Titans Tower, Robin calls Nightwing a traitor. Nightwing tries to calm everyone down but Robin says he was able to salvage the footage from when his father still placed a small camera on Nightwing’s Robin costume. Donna Troy grabs Robin by his cape and tells him to show Nightwing some respect. Starfire tells Donna to put Robin down and gets ready to fight.

As the two Titans team get ready to fight one another, Nightwing speaks up and tells everyone to chill out and that he did in fact make a deal with Deathstroke. The two teams are shocked but Nightwing says he did it to save everyone. He then says that he has a plan to fix things and that “time” is the key to finding Flash and Kid Flash.

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Back at Deathstroke’s secret base, Deathstroke offers to show Kid Flash that he isn’t the only one suffering. Deathstroke reaches out his hand and causes Kid Flash activate his speed-wake power. The two then travel through Deathstroke’s history, which shows Kid Flash the history of his kids, including Grant’s death. Deathstroke tells Kid Flash that with his help they can reverse all the ugliness from the world.

They exit the speed-wake, as Deathstroke mentions that their could be another “Slade Wilson,” Kid Flash silently wonders why Barry kept the other Wally a secret from him. Kid Flash then resolves to help Slade put an end to Deathstroke and goes to look for him. When Kid Flash finds Slade he is very surprised to see lightning coming from the room.

After tracking down the combined power of Flash and Kid Flash’s Speed Force, Nightwing and Robin lead the two Titans teams to an underground location near Garden State Medical Center. As the two teams go through the tunnel they all start bonding, with Tempest offering to mentor Jackson and Starfire mentioning to Donna how they should be in charge since they are more level headed.

Robin also mentions to Nightwing how crazy he is for trusting Deathstroke. Nightwing fires back by saying they trusted Robin back when he was worse and that trust can help save people.

The Titans end up finding Flash and wake him back up. Just as Flash jumps back up he mentions that Deathstroke also has Kid Flash. Before the teams can do anything a burst of lightning knocks them all down.

Deathstroke then shows up with the Speed Force flowing through him and Kid Flash on the ground apologizing for what he just did. End of issue.

The Good: Teen Titans #8 does a solid job continuing “The Lazarus Contract” story from where it’s big brother title, Titans, left off. With Kid Flash learning that the other Flash he met is also named Wally West, the attention of this issue was appropriately placed on him. At the same time, the missing sense of grandeur in “The Lazarus Contract” is keeping the story from being special.

Since his introduction, the New 52 Wally West character development has been a slow burning process. He has definitely proven to be a character that stands apart from the classic Wally West everyone knows. And now with the both Wally’s existing in the same universe and each being part of Titans team we are able to see more of those difference between the two more clearly.

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That is where Teen Titans #8 shines the most. Unlike the Flash version of Wally, whose problems lie more on still feeling out of place for the memories he has that others don’t and romantic woes, Kid Flash Wally is largely dealing with trust issues. Basing the character on that helps differentiate the two Wally’s since the classic version of the character has such great trust and connection to Barry Allen. While this may have easily made Kid Flash come off as unlikable, Benjamin Percy does a very good job getting us to understand why Kid Flash has such trust issues with Barry, in comparison to his counterpart.

That justification makes seeing Kid Flash and Deathstroke come to some sort of understanding a much more powerful thing. Because while Deathstroke is a well known villain we saw how he was able to use his natural charisma to get Kid Flash to buy into his plot. Playing into Kid Flash’s trust issues shows how well prepared Deathstroke was coming into this story as he already knew what he should be targeting. Using Kid Flash’s own Speed Force powers to further convince Wally to come to his side was an even better move.

Deathstroke and Kid Flash’s scenes played in well with the scenes we got between the Titans and Teen Titans. Robin revealing the secret Nightwing was keeping from his team was a good move by Percy. Though we didn’t learn what Nightwing’s deal was with Deathstroke when he was Robin, it was something that we didn’t need hanging over the two teams. Instead, by partially revealing Nightwing’s secret we are able to focus on Deathstroke’s current contract with Flash and Kid Flash.

The scenes between the two Titans team also help further cement the family aspect of the franchise. While both teams are knew they have quickly become close to one another. At the same time Percy pairing the two teams off was great. I particularly like Tempest offering to help Jackson Hyde with discovering what he can really do. It is a reminder of the friendship the two had in Young Justice and will help further cement Jackson’s place in the DCU, particularly with Aquaman’s Atlantis.

It was great to see Phil Hester draw a DC comic once again. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen his artwork in a DC title and he is certainly at home with a book like Teen Titans. Hester delivers on the youthful energy you expect a title filled with teenage superheroes to have. He did an especially good job whenever he had a chance to draw Robin and his various expressions when certain things didn’t go his way. Hester also did a great job in the big moments, like seeing the Speed Force flowing through Deathstroke.

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The Bad: As enjoyable of a read that Teen Titans #8 is the plot revolving around Deathstroke trying to bring his son, Grant Wilson, does feel small and not something worthy of a heavily advertised crossover. What “The Lazarus Contract” needs is more of a true villain that is not leading one of the three ongoing titles in this series. Without a one true villain or evil organization like HIVE to act as the thing for the Teen Titans and Titans to overcome “The Lazarus Contract” does not feel as special as it should be.

Overall: Teen Titans #8 does a good job bringing the team into the conflict started over in it’s big brother title, Titans. The dynamic between the two Titans teams played in well with how Deathstroke was able to get into Kid Flash’s head. Unfortunately “The Lazarus Contract” crossover is still being kept back by the fact that the scale of the story feels too small for a crossover involving three different ongoing titles.