Comic book legend George Pérez announced his retirement from comic book work yesterday. In recent years, health issues such as diabetes, heart problems and failing eyesight have scaled back his work and convention appearances. With this announcement, the career of one of the most recognizable and influential creators in comics has come to an end.
Last time, I reviewed an early issue of New Teen Titans. In it, I remarked about some changes George Pérez made over the years. I decided that rather than letting those lie, I would go and see if I was remembering right. (SPOILER: not entirely) The biggest difference is in the Inker. Dick Giordano inks George Pérez in a much different manner than Romeo Tanghal. Giordano was one of the best inkers ever in the history of comics. Whether or not he's better on Pérez than Romeo Tanghal is a matter for debate. However, the heights in the early issues of New Teen Titans were a little different than here. There wasn't much of an extreme as I remembered, but a lot of the difference is in how tall George Pérez draws Starfire's hair. Changeling is definitely shorter, or Cyborg is taller, just based on this issue. Nevertheless, let's get started by reviewing another comic from 1984, an influential year for comic books. This issue marks the start of the conclusion to a subplot that started in the second issue of New Teen Titans, marking a standard for betrayal stories in super-hero comics. Let's look at part one of "The Judas Contract."
The big release this month, at least where comics are concerned, was the launch of DC Universe. DC Universe is a streaming service hyped for its inclusion of lots of television and movies. Also included is a fair library of DC comic books going back to Action Comics #1. I like this inclusion, and it's one reason that I will most likely keep the service. There are a lot of holes, such as a dearth of Legion of Super-Heroes comics, and there's no efficient way to browse the titles available on my TV. On my phone I can see all of the available titles. Given that it just launched, I'm not terribly concerned. I trust that they will improve it. There are some gems, like both Prez series, including the excellent 2015 series by Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell. Naturally, it looks very Batman heavy right now, but with the new Titans television series set to debut soon, there are a lot of issues of Teen Titans available, including the first year of the landmark New Teen Titans series by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. I wanted to go into this early period for the series, as it was at a point in George Pérez's development as an artist that the hallmarks of his style were developing. It's also good to get a look at a team that wasn't yet familiar with each other in the manner that has come to define the team. I also decided to look at an issue I have never read., since it's usually priced out of my reach. It's the first appearance of Deathstroke, the Terminator.
Before I settled on this story of Terra betraying the Teen Titans, I really struggled figuring out what DC Comic to review this time around. My first choice was the infamous Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #106. My wife wanted me to review something from the Golden Age, perhaps even the very first DC Comic. Golden Age comics from before the explosion of super-heroes are a mish-mosh of genres and stories. Then I wanted to do an issue of Adventure Comics featuring work by Alex Toth. Unfortunately, that also featured three other stories that I didn't care for. Finally, I decided on New Teen Titans #34. This was truly the beginning of The Judas Contract. A case could be made that it began from the moment Terra first appeared, this was where the readers were let in that the Terminator had a spy inside the Teen Titans. At this moment, whatever other story was happening, readers were waiting for the moment when Terra would betray the Titans or turn on the Terminator. I also need to note that I'm referring to him as the Terminator in this review. At this time, Slade Wilson almost solely went by the Terminator. He wouldn't be referred to solely as Deathstroke until well after the Judas Contract was done. By then, it was obvious that the James Cameron franchise was stronger than the reputation of this character in the comics.
It seems like Marvel Cinematic speculation is falling towards Infinity War, the third Avengers film where all of the MCU heroes will be brought together against the plans of Thanos. It all builds on the story that started over a quarter century ago. Recently, I revisited the event that started this journey that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is building itself around.
Let's talk about where New Teen Titans turned a corner. Here is where the subplot of Terra infiltrating the Titans started building to the head that was the Judas Contract, which became the first major tragedy for the New Teen Titans. It changed them and set the stage for new characters and a shift away from the "Teen" Titans.
New Teen Titans #38 January 1984 There's a pattern here at Reviews Of Old Comics that I try to do DC one week, Marvel the next, an Independent comic the third, and then I repeat. Unfortunately, that pattern does not always hold when I go through my comics and find something that I remember as a comic that definitely needs to be remembered for what it was, an award-worthy comic book story. SYNOPSIS: Dick Grayson, aka Robin, starts recounting an investigation case that he has taken up regarding a friend and teammate in the Teen Titans, Donna Troy, aka Wonder Girl. Her fiancé, Terry Long, has hired him to uncover Donna Troy's past before she was found by Wonder Woman.
George Pérez’s Sirens #1 (of 6) Writer: George Pérez Artist: George Pérez SOLICITATION: As an intergalactic force enslaves planets across the galaxy, the legendary team known only as the Sirens must reunite to save the galaxy—but is that even possible when the Sirens themselves don’t even remember who they are? And the rest of the
GEORGE PÉREZ BRINGS FIRST ORIGINAL SERIES IN OVER A DECADE TO BOOM! STUDIOS WITH ‘GEORGE PÉREZ’S SIRENS’ GEORGE PÉREZ’S SIRENS #1 Wraparound Cover A by George Pérez GEORGE PÉREZ’S SIRENS #1 Cover B by Cameron Stewart GEORGE PÉREZ’S SIRENS #1 Wraparound Cover C by George Pérez August 19, 2014 (Los Angeles, Calif.) – George Pérez is a name
CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #11 March 1985 I've been very critical of the New 52. A lot of critics have been very quick to call it a disaster. To their credit, DC is sticking to its guns and standing behind a rewriting of the history of the DC Universe, throwing out a lot of continuity. I'm not the first person to draw comparisons to first time that DC tried something like this in 1985 with Crisis on Infinite Earths. There was criticism, too. In retrospect, DC let some personalities exert too much control and resist the changes to DC History, and didn't fully plot out how every aspect of the changes would play out. It was a valiant effort, though, but when DC had to try to fix the changes, everything that happened that had seemed so world-shattering just seemed kind of pointless in retrospect. That's why I'm content to ignore the New 52 for a while, because as is evident from the inconsistencies pointed out by many fans and critics, the time will come when DC will peddle back to fix the problems that their solution to so many problems caused.