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The Lazarus Contract: Blast From the Past

The Lazarus Contract: Blast From the Past

By Meg Downey Friday, May 26th, 2017

An old enemy and a classic storyline return in “The Lazarus Contract,” a four-part crossover taking place this month in TITANS, TEEN TITANS and DEATHSTROKE. In this series of columns, writer Meg Downey breaks down each new chapter, uncovering things you may have missed.

This week part three of “The Lazarus Contract” hit the pages of Deathstroke and things are finally starting to fall into place.

...Which may or may not be a good thing for just about everyone involved.

You know the drill: Expect spoilers from here on out, so if you’re not caught up on “The Lazarus Contract” event, get there by reading TITANS #11, TEEN TITANS #8, and then this week’s DEATHSTROKE #19. And be quick about it, the whole event comes to a close next week in the TEEN TITANS ANNUAL #1 and you are not going to want to miss it.

Alright, time to break it down.

If you’re new to Deathstroke, the first thing you’re going to notice about this week’s issue is the title cards—don’t worry, that’s normal for this book. Deathstroke is a story that’s told through a series of smaller vignettes, which makes it a totally unique reading experience. Speaking as a very recently converted Slade Wilson fan, I can’t recommend DEATHSTROKE VOL. 1: THE PROFESSIONAL enough if you’re keen on this style of storytelling, or if you’ve ever had even a passing interest in the Wilson family. It’s amazing.

But anyway, back to the issue at hand. So we’ve got Slade with his newly acquired super speed facing off against the Titans’ Wally, the only member of either Titans team who’s still got the ability to chase him down. But of course, Slade’s not at all intimidated by having a Flash on his tail.

In fact, Slade’s so not intimidated, he ends up calling Wally out in what might be my favorite moment of this entire event so far: Slade at top speed is still one of the most deadly people alive. Wally at top speed? He’s just a guy who runs fast.

Talk about a reality check. I really can’t blame Wally for not wanting to pony up for that fight. If I were in his super fast shoes, I would have run, too.

From here, we start to see the details of the actual Lazarus Contract unfold. It’s through a flashback that we see young Dick Grayson confronting Slade after Grant’s death and striking a bargain—one to protect the life of his daughter, Rose.

If you’ve been reading Deathstroke, you probably know that this deal was...apparently at least sort of successful. Present day Rose has mentioned being trained by Nightwing before, but it doesn’t look like it did her all that much good in terms of keeping her on the straight and narrow like Slade was hoping for. And now that memories are slotting back into place, things in Slade’s mind aren’t really adding up.

Funny how pieces stop fitting together when someone tampers with the literal fabric of space-time and the universe, huh?

So, we’ve got Slade, even more off the deep end than usual, now super speed enabled and primed to go changing the past to get his son, Grant, back from the dead. Meanwhile, we’ve got Wally making a Hail Mary play and trying to enlist the help of a different Wilson son: Jericho.

A quick, fun history lesson: Joey Wilson, aka Jericho, was one of the main featured players in this event’s spiritual forefather, “The Judas Contract.” Though this particular version of Jericho is pretty different than the classic, ’80s version—again, check out Deathstroke proper if you want to know just how different (it’s worth it!)—he’s still a pretty critical building block to Slade’s whole story.

As a lifelong Titans fan, it’s pretty thrilling to see him on the same page with Wally and being potentially brought further into team business after such a long time away. I don’t know how things are going to end for him, but, man, I won’t lie. I really hope we see more of this in the future! Jericho’s return to the Titans roster would be amazing.

But in the meantime, there are more pressing matters to attend to, because Slade’s just accelerated through time and found himself exactly in the last place anyone wants him to be right now: intervening in Grant’s death.

What’s that going to mean for the present? How does Slade intend to keep Grant’s body from giving out from H.I.V.E’s toxic serum? Does Slade even have a plan, or is he so blinded by his own grief and confusion that he can’t see the path ahead of him?

Let’s theorize wildly in the comments below! I’ll see you all in TEEN TITANS ANNUAL #1 for the conclusion!
 

Meg Downey writes about Rebirth for DCComics.com and covers DC’s Legends of Tomorrow for the #DCTV Couch Club. Look for her on Twitter at @rustypolished.

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