Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

DCU Continuity for Terra: Part 1.2 - The Material Girl: Terra in the 1980s

Terra's first appearance on the Statue of Liberty. NTT #26 (Dec. 1982)

1980s Continuity continued

Terra: First Appearance
-New Teen Titans vol. 1 #26 (December 1982): "Runaways"
Changeling encounters Terra at the top of the Statue of Liberty but she escapes. The Statue of Liberty is an important symbol in relation to her character; the second Terra makes her first appearance there as well.

Changeling pursues Terra across New York. NTT #28 (Feb. 1983)

Changeling pursues Terra across New York. NTT #28 (Feb. 1983)

Gar thinks of Madame Rouge. NTT #28 (Feb. 1983)

-New Teen Titans vol. 1 #28 (February 1983): "Terra in the Night"
After chasing her for several days across New York, Changeling captures Terra.

'Beast Boy' captures Terra. NTT #28 (Feb. 1983)

At the Tower, the first Titans to interrogate her with Gar are Wally, Raven, and Vic – together, they end up becoming the members of the team who are closest to her, for different reasons.

Two Titans cross-ships. NTT #28 (Feb. 1983)

Tara states her parents (King Viktor and his queen – not named) have been kidnapped by terrorists and are being held hostage. She says she and her brother Brion were looking for them, but got separated. She claims the same terrorist group has been holding her captive, forcing her to commit crimes to get money and weapons.

Everything is pre-set to make Gar identify with Tara. NTT #28 (Feb. 1983)

The Titans track down the gang and subdue them. The thugs say Terra’s parents are already dead (in fact, her father, a public figure, is neither a hostage nor dead; he dies in an August 1983 BATO issue). Despite Raven’s misgivings, and obvious holes in the story, the Titans consider helping her further.

Personal crusade: Logan questions Tara about the holes in her story. NTT #29 (March 1983)

-New Teen Titans vol. 1 #29 (March 1983): "First Blood!"
The team is under a lot of strain as the members squabble and private tensions rise. Gar follows Tara around the Tower, demanding that she explain parts of her story that don’t make sense. She argues with him and runs off. Off panel, he catches up with her and she relents, taking him back to the place where she was apparently held hostage and telling him more about her past.

Brotherhood of Evil attacks in Times Square. NTT #30 (Apr. 1983)

-New Teen Titans vol. 1 #30 (April 1983): "Nightmare!"
Terra joins the Titans at Gar’s invitation. Dick agrees that she can join. Dick is preoccupied with other problems with the New York mob, so doesn't pay much attention to Tara’s induction. At a run down apartment where she claims terrorists held her hostage, she puts on a new costume that she decided to wear when she was free. She doesn’t tell Gar anything more about her past, despite his repeated questions. He examines the apartment thoroughly while she’s changing, but it doesn’t tell him much. The apartment was actually set up by the Terminator as a sham.  In case the readers need any signposts that Terra's story is largely about Gar shouldering the Doom Patrol legacy, on the day she joins the team - surprise - the arch-foes of the DP, the Brotherhood of Evil, show up and kidnap Raven, who's much later tied to Gar as well.

Gar and Tara confront members of the Brotherhood of Evil. NTT #30 (Apr. 1983)

-New Teen Titans vol. 1 #31 (May 1983): "Inferno"
The Titans’ in-fighting and personal strains increase as Donna reveals that Terry Long has proposed. Raven becomes dangerously unstable.

The team squabbles in Times Square about the Brotherhood disappearing with Raven.  NTT #31 (May 1983)

Tara has in fact slipped onto the team right at the point where everyone is so distracted and upset that they don’t notice what is going on in the background between her and Changeling.

Friday the Thirteenth. NTT #32 (June 1983)

-New Teen Titans vol. 1 #32 (June 1983): "Thunder and Lightning!"
Tara and Gar are leaving the Tower to go see Friday the Thirteenth, part Thirteen: “Everyone dies in this one!” Tara grins to Vic. At the time, 80s teens were blasé about ‘exploding latex’ horror flicks. Of course Terra’s attitude foreshadows her becoming the team’s classic 1980s homicidal maniac. This scene and the ‘homicidal maniac’ motif in the NTT Judas Contract plot, warn against and pick up on themes from the huge horror film franchises that dominated the teen movie scene throughout the 80s, mainly produced by New Line Cinema. In fact, the most recent film in the Friday the Thirteenth franchise had come out on August 13, 1982: it was Friday the 13th Part III. Gar’s and Tara’s movie date is cut short, and she loudly complains about it (very unlike a sweet superheroine) on the T-Jet as they head off to battle Thunder and Lighting.

Fighting Thunder and Lightning. NTT #32 (June 1983)

This issue has perhaps the only scene where Raven and Terra cooperate briefly in the field.

Tara and Raven. NTT #32 (June 1983)

-New Teen Titans vol. 1 #33 (July 1983): "Who Killed Trident?"
Tara’s second horror-film-buff comment: “And to think I laughed my way through Terror Train!” Terror Train was a 1980 Canadian horror film, in which a college costume party on a train turns into a bloodbath as a costumed serial killer with a grudge against the frat and sorority party-goers hunts them down. Also in this issue, Terra works with Wally on part of the Trident case and thereby grows closer to him, despite his questioning her obvious lies.

Tara and Wally. NTT #33 (July 1983)

She tells Kid Flash the terrorists kept her drugged to keep her from escaping. This is the only original, non-retconned version of Terra’s story where she says she was drugged by the terrorists (she could be alluding to Deathstroke) she was with before she was with the Titans.  By the end of the issue, Wally's opinion of Tara is more favourable. Tara has managed to befriend Raven's erstwhile boyfriend.

Sweet Sixteen. NTT #34 (Aug. 1983)

-New Teen Titans vol. 1 #34 (August 1983): "Endings... and Beginnings!"
The Titans hold a surprise sixteenth birthday party for Tara. Faced with kindness and real friendship, Tara who is already depressed, gets upset. She starts a fight and demands to know the Titans’ secrets.

Tara accuses Raven about her treatment of Wally. Gar steps in. NTT #34 (Aug. 1983)

They leave as she bursts into tears and Gar tries to comfort her. Tara: “Logan, lemme alone. Please.” What’s interesting about Terra’s act is that she doesn’t try to be sweet or nice to win the Titans over. She presents herself as recently aligned with criminal elements and in need of reform. She’s hard, rude, but very good in a fight, which seems to be the reason the bulk of the team tolerates her. Despite her status as a scrapper, each Titan except Raven is shown slowly warming to her.  The birthday party suggests that some of the strain she’s showing is not an act. The nicer the Titans are to her, the more they open up, the more they treat her like a friend and not a stranger, the more tense her reality becomes and the nastier she gets under the pressure of keeping up the charade. While Gar and Tara are talking further, the communications monitor buzzes.

Deathstroke wants to re-enact the Doom Patrol death arc with Logan yet again. NTT #34 (Aug. 1983)

Deathstroke is nonchalantly threatening Gar with a replay of the DP death scene again – this time demanding their lives in exchange for a “pitiful stockbroker.” He's found the open wound in Logan's psyche and is constantly picking at it.  Gar knows what he's doing.  There's no suggestion ever that Tara is aware that Deathstroke is continually recreating scenarios from Logan's past, meaning Deathstroke is the true mastermind of this 'big picture' all the way through the Judas Contract.  She knocks Gar out, and sets out to take Deathstroke on alone, to 'prove herself.' In the fight that follows, Tara plays a key role in defeating the Terminator, and he fakes his own death.  This fake fight and fake death exactly replays the fake fight and fake death engineered between the Brotherhood of Evil and the Doom Patrol leading up to Madame Rouge's betrayal.

First panel where Tara reveals she's a spy. NTT #34 (Aug. 1983)

The fight, staged to enhance Tara's credibility, works like a charm. Later, she meets Deathstroke at the apartment where she told Gar she was held hostage. Terra’s plot with Deathstroke revealed.

Tara's partner revealed - Deathstroke plays the Brain and Zahl to Tara's Rouge. NTT #34 (Aug. 1983)

-Action Comics #546 (August 1983): "Showdown"
Wolfman writes this issue. Superman, the JLA and the Titans are pitted against the new Brainiac.

Terra drawn by Gil Kane. AC #546 (Aug. 1983)

Terra helps Hawkman and Firestorm in the fight, and saves a bunch of civilians falling out of a skyscraper. She thinks: “Not bad if I do say so myself. Not that I wanna waste my life playin’ the hero.”

The Markovs: Tara's half-brother Brion. Outsiders/Blackest Night Crossover #24 (Jan. 2010)

The Markovs: Tara's half-brother Gregor. Adventures of the Outsiders #36 (Aug. 1986)

House of Markov.
-BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #1 (August 1983): “Wars Ended... Wars Begun”
OK, so Tara Markov is a spy.  But who is she?  Who are the Markovs?  The Titans titles never answer that question.  To find out about Tara's background, you have to read Outsiders titles beyond Titans continuity. While Tara is being accepted on the Titans' roster, her home country Markovia is being invaded by Baron Bedlam’s mercenaries in an attempt to overthrow the monarchy. Her eldest half-brother Gregor is the duty-bound heir to the throne, young, serious, and thoroughly versed in the politics of diplomacy and warfare; he's a courageous young royal in the classical European sense, but willing to change radically if necessary.  Her half-brother Brion is the debonair Swiss boarding school princeling turned guerrilla soldier rebel - silver spoons and swords meet machine guns; Brion is proud, undiplomatic, aristocratic, hot-tempered and nervy, even slightly unhinged at times. Both brothers are consistently depicted as bold, ruthless, fearless, and multi-faceted, just like Tara.  They are not romantic people: they are loving without being sentimental.  There's a strong sense of hard-nosed, practical realism about them - they know the score and they will do whatever it takes to meet their objectives. Aside from the obvious aim of protecting their constantly war-torn little homeland, their methods and motives as a whole family - and their ultimate foes - have never been fully explored or revealed.  One gets the impression that Deathstroke may well be one of those ultimate foes, who wants to bring down the Markovs because the country is a stepping stone to larger things. In this issue, Batman rejects the JLA and founds the Outsiders as his covert ops squad.  He follows Lucius Fox to Markovia and encounters the Markovs for the first time, just as they are in the middle of suppressing Bedlam's bloody coup attempt.  Tara's father King Viktor dies after a battle with Bedlam. On his deathbed, his final thoughts are of Tara: “Gregor? You are king now, but use your power wisely! All your lives you and your brother Brion have fought ... work together now, to save Markovia! And when our land is safe ... find your sister, find Tara! Tell her I have always loved her, as I have always loved you.”

The Markovs: Tara's father, King Viktor, dies. BATO #1 (Aug. 1983)

Thus, Tara’s father treated her, or meant to treat her, equally to his sons, despite her illegitimacy. This matches the fact that Terra surprisingly never expresses any open hatred or grievance against her father. Nor does she, contrary to Deathstroke’s claim, express hatred toward her brothers (even in thoughts to herself). Other than Viktor's death scene, the Markovs' family life before Brion gets his powers has never been shown.  We never see flashbacks to Viktor's reign, his affair with Tara's mother, his wife Queen Markov, or anything else from Tara's childhood that would help explain who the Markov siblings are and how the family got tangled up with Dr. Jace. Tara's attachment to Brion is genuine.  The only time Tara says anything negative about Gregor and Brion is to Gar Logan, right before she dies in the Judas Contract. She says that they, like Gar, have power but refuse to use it.

Brion acquires his powers through Jace's treatment. BATO #1 (Aug. 1983)

Jace enters the royal chamber at this moment of King Viktor’s death and offers to give earth powers to Prince Gregor: “Only my science can turn the tide!” Gregor declines, tells her he won’t fund her as his father did, and he’s going to use that money to buy weapons. Brion pleads, “Hear her Gregor! Her theories are irregular, but they make sense!” Jace wants to turn the royals into weapons, clearly something Viktor agreed with.  This issue introduces a brand new family legacy in the DCU, where the father saw threats on the horizon, and planned to turn his children into the equivalent of a stockpile of metahuman nuclear weapons.  It tells you about the lengths Viktor was willing to go to to protect Markovia, as well as his old-fashioned idea that the royals should be the country's preeminent warriorsGregor: “They make nonsense Brion – and they made a freak out of your sister as well!” Brion corrects him, but this scene shows that Brion and Tara were close to one another, while Gregor was not close to either of them: “Our sister, Gregor! They gave Tara great powers, and they may also give me those powers! Do not try to stop me.” As he leaves, Gregor thinks, “We both do what we must, Brion – I only pray that Markovia lives to hear our exploits!”

Meaning of earth powers.
Brion returns with Jace to her lab to receive his powers. Jace hints that there is a legend about these powers that relates to “our forefathers,” possibly meaning the Markovians or to the Markovs specifically. She says they will be, “Perhaps the same as your meddling half-sister’s, perhaps different! But the Geo-Force you will receive comes from the earth itself ... the same earth that nurtures us, feeds us, the earth our forefathers sprang from, if you believe the legends!” She blasts him with the geo-ray and declares him their country’s “Savior!” Brion acquires his powers.  He bounces around the lab, feeling great. The mercenaries invade the lab and they fight (GF shows off his powers a bit). They shoot him dead and bury him in an unmarked grave. But his fist emerges from the grave.

Brion rises from the dead through contact with earth. BATO #1 (Aug. 1983)

House of Markov / Meaning of earth powers.
-Who’s Who in the DC Universe vol. IX (November 1985): “Geo-Force”
Over a year after Terra receives her powers, Markovia is attacked by Baron Bedlam and Brion receives his powers through Jace’s treatment. There is some confusion about the source of Brion’s powers – do they come solely from Jace’s formula, from the earth, or from genetics – or a combination? “According to Dr. Jace, Prince Brion received his abilities from the earth itself.”

Dr. Jace’s treatment can give anyone these powers temporarily, though only blood members of the Markovian royal family may retain them permanently. Once a non-member of the Markovian royal family has received these temporary powers, a second exposure to Dr. Jace’s treatment is fatal.” No explanation has been given as to why only a member of the House of Markov can sustain Jace’s treatment. Does it have to do with the design of Jace’s specific treatment – or something to do with the Markovs’ pre-existing genetics? Are Markovia’s royal family already latent mutant metas or a long-standing elementals - a family of old earth deities? Markovia's people are also strongly tied to the earth, hinting that perhaps the whole country is a kind of geo-counterpart to Atlantis. Does the fact that only the Markovs can wield these powers explain why the royal family has been decimated through deaths and murders in recent continuity?

Meaning of earth powers.
-BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #2 (September 1983): “Markovia’s Last Stand!”
Contact with the earth lets Brion rise from the dead, which implies he is now immortal. He rises out of the earth, but his memory is gone. This scene confirms that his sister may have the same ability and associated amnesia that follows. Gregor, his army and citizens’ militias square off against Baron Bedlam’s tanks and mercenaries in the capital. Bedlam has forced Jace to give him earth powers as well. Brion comes to his senses when he sees Bedlam attacking Gregor on top of a tank. Bedlam: “My men killed you!” GF: “But they made the mistake of putting me in the earth – which nurtured me, and brought me back!” Bedlam says he has even better powers, and almost wins the fight. GF: “It is not powers alone that win the day, Bedlam, but the measure of the heart that holds them!”

Only members of the House of Markov can bear these powers. BATO #2 (Sept. 1983)

Bedlam collapses and Jace tells GF, Batman and Gregor: “The Geo-Force has left him, it can be retained only by blood members of Markovia’s royal family! Further ... if he tries ever again to possess the power, it will kill him!”

Revealing scene about Geo-Force. BATO #2 (Sept. 1983)

Batman: “I hate to turn him over to a world court!” GF: “Then don’t!” Brion shows here that he can be deadly if crossed. He has no problem killing his enemies. He hurls Bedlam over the ramparts of Castle Markov to the citizens below, who tear him to pieces. Batman: “I like the way your mind works!”

Revealing scene about the people of Tara's country. BATO #2 (Sept. 1983)

House of Markov.
-BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #3 (October 1983): “Bitter Orange!”
Gregor is crowned king. He mourns before his father’s sepulchre, which reads “King Viktor I - 1920-1983.” Brion takes his leave to go to Gotham with Batman and the Outsiders, but promises he will return. Brion: “Gregor may think me mad, but each of us serves Markovia as he sees fit! I will one day return, as Markovia’s champion.”  Brion has become a superhero.  The Markovs' embrace of old and new worlds and past and future is complete.

Tara's half-brothers mourn before their father's tomb. BATO #2 (Sept. 1983)

-New Teen Titans Annual vol. 1 #2 (1983): "The Murder Machine"
Meanwhile, back in New York, a very dark annual explores the evolution of Robin as a character and helps explain why the whole Judas Contract unfolds right under his nose without him noticing. The annual also shows the culmination of many story arcs in which the Titans combat organized street crime in the city rather than supervillains. Robin becomes drawn into a complicated plot with a new anti-hero, The Vigilante (secretly New York’s District Attorney, Adrian Chase, who has turned renegade costumed vengeful killer).

Robin becomes darker. NTT Annual #2 (1983)

In scenes that anticipate some of his future struggles as leader of the Outsiders in the 2000s, Dick begins resorting to Batman’s tactics, acting pre-emptively against criminals and engaging in intimidation of criminals.

The Titans intimidate the mob. Tara remembers Riviera holidays with Brion. NTT Annual #2 (1983)

Robin walks a fine line between stopping and committing crimes. He asks the Titans to help him frighten the New York mob. Gar automatically supports him as his friend, no matter what. The others are more circumspect, including Tara. Again, Tara does not play nice girl as part of her act with the Titans; she doesn’t try to be sweet and good like Donna or Kory. As a Titan she’s fairly close to her real persona and she stresses her recent criminal status. Tara: “We’re gonna lean on ‘im? I didn’t think you straights did things like that.” Mercenaries, including Cheshire are called in by the mob to take the Titans down.

Tara and Kory. NTT Annual #2 (1983)

The team is ambushed in an abandoned warehouse where they’re searching for evidence. Terra almost burns to death when she’s attacked by a pyrotech-specialist. She saves herself by burying herself in earth.

Tara's sole reason for staying alive: the plan. NTT Annual #2 (1983)

Changeling is cut up by a knife-wielding maniac. Kid Flash is poisoned by Cheshire, saved only by Raven's last minute healing.  The other Titans come close to being killed as well. The Vigilante picks the mercenaries off one by one, killing all but Cheshire, who escapes.

Confrontation with the mob. NTT Annual #2 (1983)

The Titans then confront the mob; but the conflict only finally ends when Vigilante kills one of the top mob bosses, leaving the public to speculate about this new costumed anti-hero. Reporters ask whether superheroes now kill their enemies.

-New Teen Titans vol. 1 #35 (October 1983): "Siege!"
Vic’s ex-ish girlfriend Sarah Simms has a crazy ex-boyfriend, Mark Wright, who tries to kill a bunch of people in a sporting goods store when she breaks up with him. Vic, Gar and Raven confront him. Gar asks the police detective for time as Raven tries to soothe Wright and free his hostages. This is an early display of Gar’s signature leadership style – he develops a quiet ability to stabilize a group, get people to calm down and cooperate by appealing to their emotions.

-BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #4 (November 1983): “One Man Meltdown”
Brion shows Metamorpho his new house which he’s just had built on the palisade heights overlooking Gotham: “My family is by no means poor and when I return to Markovia, it will serve as quarters for the staff of our Gotham embassy.” The view reminds him of “the land, the water, the sky ... I draw my powers from them, and I sometimes think that this is all I need.”

The Markov siblings reunited. NTT #37 (Dec. 1983)

-New Teen Titans vol. 1 #37 (December 1983): "Light's Out, Everyone!" TT/Outsiders crossover
Dr. Jace is kidnapped by the Fearsome Five, and her background with both sets of siblings – Shimmer and Mammoth and Tara and Brion is a huge factor here. The fact that Jace showed a scientific interest in siblings is critical and has never been explained. Shimmer describes their childhood in Australia. They were mutants, and Jace found her and her brother when the locals tried to attack them. She brought them to Markovia and trained them. Even then, Jace was famous for perfecting “a method of genetically infusing people with great powers.” When the Fearsome Five kidnap Jace, both Tara and Brion receive emergency signals from her.  This means Tara has maintained contact with Jace before and during the Judas Contract. This fact again raises the question of whether there is any connection between Jace and the Terminator. Tara runs off without telling the Titans what’s wrong, but the Titans follow, and Tara encounters the Outsiders who are also searching for Jace.

Robin's Titans meet Batman's Outsiders. NTT #37 (Dec. 1983)

They briefly fight until Tara is reunited with Brion. This crossover with the Titans ensures that the Titans finally trust Terra, because they meet her brother and Dr. Jace. However, Changeling wonders about the fact that Tara and Brion have the same costume, when she said she had made her costume alone.

Jace's mudmen. NTT #37 (Dec. 1983)

The two teams’ cooperation is made more intense by the fact that Batman and Robin are their respective leaders, and Robin finds himself falling behind Batman’s dominant lead, just at the point when he is about to break out from under Bruce’s influence. Psimon tortures Jace and forces her to make an army of mudmen out of indigents found on Gotham’s streets. The Titans and the Outsiders clash with the Fearsome Five and the mudmen. The issue ends as the overcome superhero teams are dumped in the waters off Gotham to drown.

I've let you down again. BATO #5 (Dec. 1983)

-BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #5 (December 1983): "Psimon Says" TT/Outsiders crossover
The issue opens with both teams unconscious and dropped in the coastal waters offshore Psimon’s laboratory-fitted island near Gotham. Terra forms a clump of earth to catch everyone, but then can’t maintain strength to heave it up. She thinks, “S-sorry Brion ... I’ve let you down againnn.” It’s never explained what she means by this. Brion lifts the mass and saves both teams. Gar flirts with Halo; he tricks her into thinking she was hurt, then reveals the trick and she attacks him: "You creep! I was worried about you!"  This little scene shows why Gar's so attracted to Tara, who is not a nice girl.  Halo and Tara are the same age, and the contrast between the two is like night and day.  But Gar isn't quite as nice as Halo, either.  Maybe dating Tara is rubbing off on him.

Tara meets Batman. BATO #5 (Dec. 1983)

In Gotham, both teams rest at Outsiders HQ. Tara is rude to Metamorpho, but genuinely dotes on Brion, showing unusual respect and concern for him, serving him tea and cakes. Both teams return to Titans Tower in New York to interrogate Dr. Light and then attack the Fearsome Five. Tara and Brion battle siblings Shimmer and Mammoth. As the teams part after successfully fighting the villains, Brion tells Tara he’d like them to get together without saving the world. She says she’ll try but is very busy with the Titans. He embraces her: “There’s always time for family, Tara!” Tara thinks: “But you’re more than that, Brion ... now you’re one of the Titans’ friends! I have to betray them – and I don’t want you to go down with ‘em!”

Last farewells. BATO #5 (Dec. 1983)

-World's Finest Comics #300 (February 1984): "A Tale of Two Worlds", or, "Planets In Peril"
A JLA-related problem puts the Titans in a time-tossed arc that puts them in the year 5708. The Titans section is done by Perez and Wolfman, and is set just before the start of the Judas Contract. The Titans leave the Tower, and see New York’s futuristic skyline and the Gordanians invading earth. Tara crushes a Gordanian space ship with a incredible column of earth pulled from the East River riverbed; the panel shows her powers are developing rapidly. Green Lantern appears and the Titans are tossed back to their own time. Vic: “Everythin’s back to normal?” Kory: “Maybe it was a dream!” Tara, looking at a blasted tree on Titans Island that was blasted in the future as well in the present: “Yeah. And God didn’t make little green apples.” (That’s from a song about recognizing real love. The lyrics say if you don’t recognize love as it really is, then you don’t believe in dreams, your childhood ideals, or God. That fits Tara, because she doesn’t believe in dreams, she sees herself as accepting reality, no matter how weird or hard or horrible it is. It’s also a typically two-sided thing for her to say, because the song is about finding that belief in dreams and love, not rejecting it – that is, believing in the unbelievable.) The Outsiders also appear in this issue. When the JLA asks for help, Geo-Force shows his short temper and snaps at Green Lantern, “You dare ask my help – after your so-called ‘Justice League’ refused to aid my country Markovia?” Black Lightning calms him down and they agree to help. They are bounced from the present, to World War II, battling aliens and alongside Second World War G.I.s. GF protects Sergeant Rock: “This man will someday free Markovia! I will not permit him to come to harm!” They’re brought back to the present, where Superman and Batman resolve their bitter disagreement that led to Batman founding the Outsiders.

-New Teen Titans vol. 1 #39 (February 1984): "Crossroads"
Terra’s sexual relationship with Deathstroke revealed. Perez mixed up the symbols around Terra, making her both juvenile and over-experienced. She was a chain-smoking and beer drinking teen slut in a bean bag chair, with heavy make-up, high-heeled slippers, and a short-short bathrobe. After she has sex with Wilson, she debriefs on the Titans’ latest case, then cunningly plays for keeps in a training session. Deathstroke realizes she is out to kill him and barely outmanoeuvres her geokinetic onslaught. This scene is very important – she's definitely trying to kill him.

Parallel scenes: Tara tries to kill Wilson. NTT #39 (Feb. 1984)

Tara’s deepest feelings and motives are concealed beneath her words and actions. As the Judas Contract progresses, you can see the strain she is under beneath her sniping, hateful bravado. She keeps asking Slade, “How much longer do I hafta play this game?”

How much longer? NTT #39 (Feb. 1984)

Her vicious comments about killing the Titans in her sex-driven debriefings with Slade sound more and more like big talk to impress him. She has only just turned sixteen and he is the most dangerous killer-for-hire on earth, who is much older and more experienced. And they’re sleeping together. She obviously feels she has to prove herself to him. You can’t help wondering if there is some sort of subconscious ‘accidentally on purpose’ thing going on when she tries to kill Slade in their training session in NTT #39. It doesn’t make her good, but if he died right here, her increasingly insane reality would become slightly less insane. The whole Judas Contract would go away.

Parallel scenes: Tara tries to kill Gar. ToTT #42 (May 1984)

The scene was meant to make the readers think she might turn against Deathstroke, which she finally does, but not because she is ‘good after all.’ This scene foreshadows the end of the Judas Contract, when she again tries to kill him. It also parallels her later training session with Changeling in NTT #42, which appeared in an issue that came out three months later. These two fight scenes foreshadow the fact that she will turn on Slade and Gar equally. The Titans reveal their secret identities to Terra. Except for Raven, each of the Titans has been shown warming to Tara in different scenes, starting with Gar and Wally (Raven’s later and current love interests – it’s symbolically strange and significant that the two girls form a romantic quadrangle opposite these two heroes). Then Starfire and Donna, and finally Dick accept her.

Tara and Dick. NTT #39 (Feb. 1984)

After Dick shows he trusts her, Victor noticeably warms to her. Wintergreen, observing her friendly exchanges with the Titans here, wonders out loud to Slade if Tara could turn on them. Deathstroke doesn’t think so. Wally resigns and leaves New York; he’s the only member of the team who will not endure Terra’s betrayal directly. Dick gives up being Robin.

-BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #7 (February 1984): “Cold Hands, Cold Heart!”
After being frozen solid by a villain, GF is thawed out with no ill effects. Brion tells the doctor: “I – I am apparently becoming something more than human!” and thinks “But what?”

-BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #8 (March 1984): “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle”
Christmas in Gotham and Brion is alone. He spends several days trying to reach his brother but all lines to Markovia are busy.

-New Teen Titans Annual vol. 2 #1 (1985): "The Vanguard" [Flashback]
Jericho reviews old case files. This flashback shows the Titans in a space story arc helping Superman and encountering an alien group called the Vanguard. Terra is very uncomfortable in this environment – it’s nothing she ever expected. She constantly clings to Gar and asks to go home, while thinking how she’ll kill him. The other Titans, including Gar, are not as phased by their situation, and the contrast in attitudes really shows. Tara later rallies and is good in a battle, again showing how her growing skill with her powers sits uneasily with her emotional instability. Another contrast is Terra 2’s later work on a space mission with Green Lantern and the Darkstars, where she performs well.  These crossovers expose Terra to all the top heroes in the DCU prior to her betrayal of the Titans. Around the time the Titans fully open up to her, she meets Batman, then Superman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and the JLA. This means that the Titans' trust of Terra is not just an in-house thing.  Terra's been admitted to an exclusive club.  Terra 2 later meets Wonder Woman who approves of her, but Terra 2 is never taken around in the same way to meet the DC pantheon, the way Terra 1 is now.

Private tutorials at Gar's house. NTT #40 (March 1984)

-New Teen Titans vol. 1 #40 (March 1984): "Lifeblood!"
We get a glimpse of how much time Gar and Tara spend together and how deeply she's wormed her way into his private life: Gar's father is paying to educate her. Dayton arranges for Tara to join Gar to receive high school classes through private tutors. Together, they successively traumatize six tutors in Dayton Estates’ library.

Private tutorials at Gar's house. NTT #40 (March 1984)

After the last tutor resigns, Dayton threatens to send Gar to a public high school. On the way to a press conference, Gar asks Tara again to level with him.  He tells her he knows she's been lying and he wants her to open up to him. She says she might.

What's wrong? NTT #40 (March 1984)

This is one of several scenes set up to make readers think that although she is spying on the Titans for Deathstroke, she is privately wavering. The press conference involves ongoing publicity smears the Titans are struggling with, because of journalists who are Brother Blood’s followers. Brother Blood is expanding his plan to spread his churches worldwide. Dick infiltrates his church as a recruit and the first story in several arcs where he is brainwashed and entangled with Raven in the Church of Blood begins here. The issue ends with the Titans going after Blood. They are captured and Blood induces Dick to prepare to kill them.

Extent of Tara's powers: She drills a hole through Zandia's island shelf under Blood's church. NTT #40 (March 1984)

Tara engineers the team's escape. NTT #41 (April 1984)

-Tales of the Teen Titans #41 (April 1984): "Baptism of Blood!"
Tara in Blood’s church: “This is crazy! You’re crazy! An’ I’m even crazier for just standin’ here waitin’ to die ... when we can smash our way outta this stained-glass nuthouse.” Vic: “Y’know somethin’, Blondie may be right. Where does it say heroes gotta be stupid?”

This is crazy. The team's leader is a brainwashed hostage. NTT #41 (Apr. 1984)

In a sign that Vic has warmed to her, Cyborg saves Tara’s life twice in battle and generally watches out for her. Her responses to him again make the audience think she might side with the Titans against Deathstroke. Dick resists his brainwashing and the government of Zandia attacks Blood’s church. Brother Blood dies.

Tara and Victor. NTT #41 (April 1984)

Tara’s powers leading up to her death: In NTT #40 and ToTT #41, Tara becomes exhausted after over-extending her powers – but in other recent issues (ToTT #39; World’s Finest Comics #300), she shows she is immensely powerful. Prior to her death, Tara’s powers seem to fluctuate. They are either intensifying and waning because she is being drugged (this is how Deathstroke initially reacted to the serum he was dosed with). Or her mental breakdown is affecting her ability to control her powers which are at the same time growing exponentially. Or both.

-BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #9 (April 1984): “Enter: The Masters of Disaster!”
Brion starts graduate work in Earth Sciences at Gotham Community College: “How different from Markovia! There, the schools are disciplined ... quiet. But here, this is madness!” He meets Denise Howard, another student, and his future girlfriend and wife. She is studying Natural Sciences and shows him around.

Brion meets Denise, his future girlfriend and wife. BATO #9 (Apr. 1984)

-Supergirl vol. 2 #20 (June 1984): "Celebration" [No longer in continuity]
Terra appears in a group shot Titans cameo.

-Tales of the Teen Titans #50 (February 1985): “We are Gathered Here Today ...” [Flashback]
At Donna’s wedding after Tara 1’s death, a young wedding guest mistakes Gar’s old girlfriend, Jillian, for Tara and asks her about an interview Tara and Gar did with the Titans for People magazine, “You gotta have a great life!”

-BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #11 (June 1984): “A Sword of Ancient Death!” Brion and Katana are cornered by muggers in a dark alley in Gotham. Brion: “Don’t worry, Tatsu, we have a similar custom in Markovia! The peasants request money ... and we give it to them!”

Gotham muggers encounter Tatsu and Brion. BATO #11 (June 1984)

Markovia's still on the gold standard. NTT #40 (March 1984)

Then Brion tosses some gold coins on the ground for the muggers. The muggers see that the money has Brion’s face on it, and they go after the two Outsiders. Brion is puzzled: “You defame the currency of my native land?” Then he and Tatsu pound the crap out of them and he picks up his coins, another lesson learned about life in Gotham.

Tara and Donna. ToTT #42 (May 1984)

-Tales of the Teen Titans #42 (May 1984): "The Judas Contract, Book One: The Eyes of Tara Markov"
Donna invites Tara to be one of the bridesmaids at her wedding; Gar and Tara kiss after having spent the day visiting the various Titans in their homes; Raven’s suspicions of Terra. In a moment alone with him, Tara plays the girlfriend to Gar, dispensing some advice about his insecurities, which actually matches how she sees the world.  She's relatively compassionate and pulls up close to him. This is very different to how she behaves with him when the others are around, where she's hostile, insulting and dismissive.  In public, she refuses to kiss him; in private later, she kisses him.  She's creating a secretive dynamic to their relationship.  It's a safe bet that she's been doing this with him all along.  They are a couple who are one way in public, another way in private.  This explains why Gar endures her public abuse, ignores it, or simply insults her back - because he thinks he knows her better, deep down.

In public. ToTT #42 (May 1984)

In private. ToTT #42 (May 1984)

As this day (the last day where the Titans have any faith in Tara) progresses, Perez disturbingly makes Tara look more and more like the Disney rabbit Thumper.

Thumper. ToTT #42 (May 1984)

He even has Gar turn into Thumper when Vic falls skating in Central Park with Sarah. In the next panel, one of Sarah’s kids shouts: “First one to leave is dead meat!” while Tara watches them. It’s not just foreshadowing Tara’s death.


Thumper. ToTT #42 (May 1984)

Considering the book was aimed at young adolescents, by drawing Tara as a symbol of innocence, Perez’s imagery is saying to his readers: ‘your childhood is about to die. The Titans’ innocence is about to die. And whatever remaining virtues Tara and Slade had left will die too.’

When Tara responds to Gar’s romantic advances in Issue #42, everything starts to unravel. It’s interesting that she gives in to him, because she doesn’t have to. She could easily keep Logan hanging with her schoolgirl hugs and she’s involved with Slade. But she knows the Judas Contract will be executed soon – she’s running out of time. So why does she do it? From her point of view, she thinks Logan will die soon. Whether there is some fleeting impulsive awareness of ruined love, or this is “the biggest act of all,” when they kiss, the emotional stress and sexual tension she is under go off the charts. Slade isn’t the one, after all, who has to go out there and live the lie, day in, day out. Tara is.

Garfield winning - almost. ToTT #42 (May 1984)

A training session with Changeling parallels Tara’s session with the Terminator in NTT #39 and foreshadows her turning on both the Titans and the Terminator. Terra attacks Changeling, knocking him out and trying to kill him with a blast of magma after he demonstrates superior control of his powers. Although Changeling is rarely centre stage in the Titans’ lineup, this square-off between Tara and Gar shows why Changeling is a top tier hero alongside his teammates. Barely trying, he points out Terra’s vulnerabilities as a fighter. She’s great at long range attacks, but anyone who can move in close to her (literally and figuratively) can defeat her. He doesn’t hurt her, but he repeatedly shows he can reach her, like touches in fencing. Each touch means he could kill her if he wanted to. The message is loud and clear: he’s kicking her ass. She’s spewing venomous insults, but he gives as good as he gets, and he humiliates her personally in front of the team, while making fun of her weaknesses. The two have had draws before and since in minor skirmishes, but aside from a scene at the end of the Judas Contract, this is the only time Terra has ever defeated Logan in hand-to-hand combat (both times involve her losing control emotionally). Terra’s weakness in combat is not due to any limits in her powers, which are immense, according to Deathstroke. She’s totally in control when attacking Terminator in their sparring session, but she loses it fighting Logan. The fact that Gar can freak her out, destabilize her, and reach her in combat is tied to her hidden emotional wreckage and mental instability. It also shows that part of Gar's power as a hero lies in his heart – his emotional strength.

Garfield winning - almost. ToTT #42 (May 1984)

This training session is held on the morning after their first and only kiss, and Gar also teases her about their one moment of intimacy. He pushes the buttons that get to the heart of her duality – her emotions and her powers. Her emotions, chaotically lost in a fractured reality, are now boiling down to hatred for everyone and everything, but especially Gar, the person she’s wronged the most. She’s had enough. And her powers, formerly her only point of pride, control and stability, are now subject to her emotions – so they’re out of control too. Gar’s beating her because she’s genuinely having trouble concentrating and sparring with him.  
Raven senses Tara's overwhelming hatred as this fight unfolds. ToTT #42 (May 1984)

Her emotional and mental control, and corresponding ability to continue with this sick con job, are slipping. She almost gives everything away in her deadly counter-attack. By now, inside her head she’s already past the point of no return. The betrayal is real, the game is almost over, and the only way out will be death, she thinks, for Logan. But if Gar died at this moment, he would never know what hit him; he would endure no moment of betrayal. Tara knows there’s no way out, no going back, no way these people, especially Gar, could ever forgive her - not that she necessarily wants that. But if she wants to kill him, it means she wants to kill the tiny possibility that she could have lived the life Logan offered her. The mood is very different from her training session with Slade, where she tries to kill Deathstroke and she’s almost jubilant when she comes close to succeeding. In this scene with Gar, she’s enraged, filled with hate, nihilistic, and badly shaken. Maybe in this scene, Tara is recognizing on some level that she wants to die, or that she is going to die.

Whoops? ToTT #42 (May 1984)

In this session, she couldn’t be telling the Titans more loudly what she is. The scene screams, ‘I’m a psychotic traitor.’ She’s not even trying to hide her poisonous nature and she’s mentally exhausted. She’s walking very close to the line of ‘accidentally’ blowing it and revealing everything, which again, would make it everything stop. The Titans could just put her away in a nice padded cell somewhere. It would all be over and she wouldn’t have to do it anymore. This sparring session foreshadows the death scene. It reveals Gar’s access to Terra’s concealed vulnerabilities, which is a metaphor for the secret logic of their whole relationship. On the surface, she pulls all his strings, but beneath that, he can really get to her. This appears again at the end of the Judas Contract. When she loses control of her mind and powers completely, Gar is the only person able to attack her. Because of this, he’s the last person to physically engage with her before she dies. His attack triggers her suicide. This is how Terra 2 later dies at the hands of Black Adam (when Gar, who is leading a team she’s on, is emotionally distracted by Raven). It’s also how Gar later destroys Black Lantern Terra (when she and Gar are fighting over what he feels for her).

Running back to daddy. ToTT #42 (May 1984)

If Gar hadn’t unnerved Tara, she wouldn’t go running to Slade. But right after this scene, she does run straight to Slade and they immediately have sex. Her vulnerability masquerading as blasé lust speaks volumes. Slade realizes that it’s getting too much for her - and possibly suspects she did this on purpose. He doesn’t let her return to the Titans, and he decides to set his plans in motion the next day.

-Tales of the Teen Titans #43 (June 1984): "The Judas Contract, Book Two: Betrayal!"
The Titans are captured; Dick Grayson is the only Titan who escapes. It looks like Perez is using some scatological imagery in relation to Tara’s earth columns, she’s symbolically riding a cascade of shit to capture Raven.

Parallel scene: Tara captures Raven. ToTT #43 (June 1984)

Parallel scene: Rouge captures Rita. DP #108 (Dec. 1966)

Adeline and Joseph Wilson are introduced. They follow Slade as he executes the Judas Contract. Adeline: “He must be desperate ... fighting like that in public. Slade’s been getting sloppy.” Deathstroke fears that Terra is setting him up, then discounts it, but knows she is unstable and could turn on him. His big issue is control of himself and those around him – and Tara’s the only person he’s ever worked with who can’t be controlled. That scares the hell out of him, because this is also the only time he’s needed someone else to do a job. The regular pedophilial sex probably hasn’t been helping, and his nerves are shot.

-Tales of the Teen Titans #44 (July 1984): "The Judas Contract, Book Three: There Shall Come a Titan"
Adeline Wilson recounts Slade’s family history to Dick while Joseph, newly introduced, stands mute. By sharply veering away from the main action at this point, Wolfman is saying loud and clear that Slade is his main focus for character development. The family back story interjected at this point makes Wilson more sympathetic. There’s no scene where we see what’s happening with Tara and Slade as they transport the Titans to the H.I.V.E. complex. It’s huge that Terra gets no spotlight in this penultimate issue of the JC. Wolfman suddenly surrounds her with silence. If the Judas Contract had been devoted to building Tara as a character, if she had been about to turn good after all, this issue would have been about her shrouded background and her history in Markovia.

Instead, we see Dick take the codename Nightwing with a new costume. Joseph takes the codename, Jericho. In the introduction to the Judas Contract trade paperback Perez stated that Jericho’s name came from “an unused character who was to have appeared in the original 1960s Titans series.” Jericho refers to the biblical battle in the Book of Joshua (6:1-27). It involves the fall of the walled town, Jericho, in the land of Canaan (now Lebanon, Israel and Palestinian territories), which the Israelites successfully defeated. Before the battle, the Israelites sent two spies into the town, who were helped by a woman in the city. In a decisive victory, the Israelites destroyed the city, killed everyone in it, and cursed anyone who would try to rebuild it: “Cursed be the man before the Lord that riseth up and buildeth this city, even Jericho; with the loss of his first-born shall he lay the foundation thereof, and with the loss of his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it". (Joshua 6:26). If Wolfman intended any parallels to this story, the woman with H.I.V.E. connections who harbours the spies here is Adeline, the two spies are Dick and Joseph, and Jericho city is the H.I.V.E. complex. Jericho's codename implies that if Slade goes back to a life of crime after this mess, he will not just lose Grant (his eldest son) but he’ll lose Joseph as well (his youngest son).

Later, Joseph will become Slade’s karmic figure. Slade’s bad son, Grant, got him into this vengeful plot against the Titans in the first place. But whatever price Slade pays for whatever he has done to Tara, will be paid through his beloved good son Joseph. As Tara falls, Joseph rises and becomes a true member of the team. But both Tara and Joseph are ultimately sacrificed for the sake of Slade’s larger characterization.

Ugly: Terra reveals her betrayal to Logan. ToTT Annual #3 (1984)

Original account of Terra’s death.
-Tales of the Teen Titans Annual #3 (1984): "The Judas Contract, Part 4: The Finale"
The whole Judas Contract is revealed by Deathstroke and Terra to the captured Titans. Nightwing enters the H.I.V.E. complex with Jericho to mount a rescue operation. Terra captures them. Joseph takes over his father and attacks, causing Terra to attack Deathstroke. She thinks she is the one who has been betrayed!

The closer Tara gets to death, the more she refers to love, something the life she’s chosen will deny her. She looks for it where she won’t find it. She continually calls Slade “Honey,” and doesn’t know about the first Ravager or why Deathstroke took on the H.I.V.E. contract. She thinks she and Slade are in this for each other – “Why did you lie to me, Slade? It could have been so good for us.” When she sees him constantly looking at the pictures of his son Grant, the night before they leave, she starts to suspect that there’s something bigger going on here. Is Slade getting weak? She can’t make sense of it. The truth is that none of what is happening is about her. The Judas Contract was always about Slade’s vengeance against the Titans for his son’s death, enacted through his manipulation of Gar’s history in the Doom Patrol.

But since Tara thinks she is the key player in the whole Judas Contract, Slade’s lover, the big bad spy, Gar’s troubled girlfriend, the iffy team member, it’s difficult for her to grasp that all her hard work being a duplicitous little bitch really means nothing to Slade. It would be a lot for anybody, good or evil, to absorb the fact that one of their closest associates thinks they are nothing but a means to an end (which is a sign of just how sociopathic Slade is). Tara is Slade’s tool, and she’s acting out a role in much larger histories she knows nothing about. Strangely, although she was a spy, Tara never spent much time actually finding out about the two men closest to her and really understanding what was motivating them. Even though Gar was willing to tell her, she didn’t listen. When Slade sees Joseph at the H.I.V.E. complex, she realizes this is about Slade’s family. The pieces start to fall into place. It dawns on Tara that this whole nightmare was never about her. At the end of Annual #3, she screams to everyone that she and Slade were lovers, that she thought Slade loved her. But he only loves his family. She viciously rejects Gar’s pleas, because that will justify the path she took, which is her love for Slade. She’s telling Logan, ‘it was never about you and me – it was about me and him.’ Her appeal to love at this point is puzzling for a character who claims to be motivated by pure hatred. But it shows that Tara’s violent insanity is tragically draped over a vacuum of neediness where love should have been.

Biggest act. ToTT Annual #3 (1984)

Raven unsuccessfully attempts to calm Terra as she grows more and more hysterical and aggressive. She turns back on the Titans. Terra berates Changeling: “You, my damned brothers. All of you possessing power while refusing to use it.”

Last attack. ToTT Annual #3 (1984)

She throws in some Social Darwinism – the ultimate evil in evolutionary arrogance. These attitudes from Tara come straight out of the mouth of Zahl in the DP death arc. He’s an old Nazi who can’t believe that the DP would really sacrifice themselves for lesser mortals. In the end, her attempt to kill both Slade and the Titans and finally killing herself makes the story about her – she’s not just a footnote in Slade’s family history.

Last attack. ToTT Annual #3 (1984)

Logan is the last person to attack Tara.  Was her kiss the biggest act of all?  Was this all one-sided?  And was Gar's influence on Tara negligible?  Up to now, Gar has refrained from attacking Tara.  Now, he only needs to engage her in a mild attack and she goes haywire - one touch from him proves the catalyst for her suicide.  He hits her - and her mind crumbles like a house of cards.  This means that Gar has power over Terra.  Gar goes for her eye, a constantly recurring symbol around Slade, Tara and Jericho - the window of the soul, the heart of perception - and misperception

Tara's suicide. ToTT Annual #3 (1984)

Gar's the first person to find her body with Donna. The issue ends with her funeral; Changeling and Geo-Force gather with the Titans and Outsiders before her grave. This scene seems to be in New York (no mention of location), but her grave is later placed by writers in Valhalla Cemetery in Metropolis, the famous graveyard of the DCU’s heroes.

The funeral. ToTT Annual #3 (1984)

Different account of Terra’s death.
-Last Will and Testament (2008): [Flashback]
Retconned the meaning of Terra 1’s death: Terra was drugged and thereby driven mad by Deathstroke. She killed herself not by mistake, but on purpose. Her suicide, in Brion’s perception, lines up with the Markov version of the idea of ‘death before dishonour.’ Suicide is the last resort of Markovian royals when they are defeated in battle and all is lost. This issue may also or alternatively suggest instead that she killed herself because all was lost and suicide was the only thing she could take back from Deathstroke’s control. But this retcon depends on Brion’s point of view, and he’s not of sound mind when he thinks this – he’s possibly drugged, certainly on the verge of death.

Different account of Terra’s death.
-New Titans Annual #11 (1995) [Flashback]
About two and a half years in continuity after Terra 1’s death, Terra 2 unearths Terra 1’s coffin and finds it empty. Terra’s body is either removed from her coffin by unknown people, or she revives because of her earth powers and leaves her grave at some point after the funeral. Time Trapper finds Terra 2 just before – (She dies as Terra 1? She resurrects herself? The Stratans send her to the surface? – He never finishes the sentence because Terra 2 cuts him off). He wiped her memory, and she became Terra 2. Time Trapper sends her into a future with Mirage and Deathwing as planted agents from the present. All three join a future version of the Titans, called the Team Titans.

Different account of Terra’s death.
-Terra miniseries (2009) [Flashback]
Possible retcon. The Terra mini implies, but doesn't absolutely confirm, that Terra is removed from her grave and her DNA harvested by scientists in Terra 3’s underground city of Strata.  This procedure provides genetic material for Terra 2 and 3.  Given the Stratans' fear of the surface, it seems unlikely they would remove her body from the grave, so they may have had help.  It also doesn't explain where Terra 1's body is now.  See part 3.3 of this continuity for more on this.

Because of Tara's parallels to Madame Rouge, the retcons and different accounts of her death, the readers still do not have a definitive answer about the meaning of Tara's death or its larger context.  They also don't know what happened to her body after her funeral, other than it's certainly not in her grave after a certain point.




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  1. "Raven’s later and current love interests – it’s symbolically strange and significant that the two girls form a romantic quadrangle opposite these two heroes"
    Didn't Tara try to hit on Joseph as well during JC?

  2. Excellent.. I read Titans when I was a kid... Terra was my favorite character.... I hope that she comes again