Publisher: DC Comics
Story: Priest, Benjamin Percy, Dan Abnett
Script: Dan Abnett
Artwork: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Release Date: 10th May 2017
Deathstroke has decided that the return of Wally West holds the key to bringing his son Grant back from the dead, and in the first chapter of “The Lazarus Contract” – a crossover which will unfold in the pages of Titans, Deathstroke and Teen Titans – he decides to make his move.
The early portion of this issue sees the Titans trying to hunt down H.I.V.E. while Slade Wilson recovers from his recent operation, and the story is structured in such a way that no prior knowledge of either title is required in order to enjoy this new crossover. Yes, existing readers will likely get a little more out of the event, but kudos to Priest, Percy and Abnett for making sure the crossover is both accessible and self-contained.
Abnett is on script duties here, so the dialogue feels authentic and true to the series so far, with the same mixture of banter, bickering and familial support that has made this book such an enjoyable read to this point. Once again, Wally is very much the focus here as he becomes the target of Deathstroke, and it has to be said that – without slighting the other members of the team – the series does seem to flow a heckuva lot smoother when Mister West is in the spotlight.
The artwork – from the regular series partnership of Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund – is lively and energetic throughout, particularly during the scenes with Wally being “put through his paces” by his unseen (but not exactly surprising) assailant. There’s the same glossy, chunky feel here that is commonly associated with Booth’s pencils, although mercifully his wild, fragmented layouts are kept under control for the most part. Brett and Norm also do a great job with Deathstroke himself, presenting him as the slick, toned mercenary we all know and love.
The final pages feature an intriguing twist on the story, taking the “Lazarus Contract” in a wholly unexpected direction as it moves forwards. As set-ups go, this is a commendable opening issue, and my interest has certainly been piqued about just how this situation is going to play out. Another enjoyable chapter in the ongoing Titans saga then, and the introduction of Deathstroke as an antagonist only sweetens the deal.
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