Teen Titans: The Judas Contract Is A Montage Of Bad Public Services Announcements

by Benjamin Hall

[***Trigger Warning For Various Topics Including Suicide And Non-Consent! Warning Of Spoilers For the Movie Teen Titans: The Judas Contract.]

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is an animated movie that essentially adapts “The Judas Contract” comic story arc [Found in The New Teen Titans #39-40 (1984) and Tales Of The Teen Titans #41-44, Annual 3 (1984)]. However, whether it is a successful adaption is not what we will be looking at here. Instead, I will be pointing out all the possible public service announcements (hereafter called PSAs) that I think could have been included.

The reason this occurred to me to discuss is because the adapters make Tara’s death a suicide in this version, and then have Beast Boy discuss it in a PSA-sounding way. Thus, these two things made me realize that the script had several less than ideal messages one could take away from it. What follows is a description of the scene, the possible negative PSA, and what kind of change would have negated the bad PSA.

Our first example comes about during the opening scene when Starfire first interacts with Dick Grayson (then Robin). In this initial meeting, she learns the English language by kissing Grayson. So the possible PSA title could be “It’s okay to be kissed without permission” (which, obviously, is never true). This could have easily been fixed by either removing the opening scene, since it isn’t really connected to the plot, or changing the method of learning English to a stolen enemy translator.

The final moments of a second scene depict the cult leader super villain, Brother Blood, being interviewed by a reporter. In scene three, he has killed the same reporter, and this is apparently after a live interview. Therefore this PSA could have two titles “Be obvious when killing” or “Lethally assault when slightly insulted.” They could have changed this by suggesting that the interview happened several months earlier. While another way it could have been changed would be just having some story-related reasons for the death.

Next, in what is referred to on the Blu-Ray’s scene selection as “scene three” is Terra causing an earthquake while asleep. She is then woken by the rest of the Teen Titans, who are concerned enough to attempt a makeshift intervention. There are two possible negative PSAs found in this moment. The first is “Simply give up when doing an intervention” and the second is “Don’t deal with your trauma.” Though the former is found only in that moment, it could have been changed with a little more runtime. The latter is more of a through line for Terra throughout the movie. For that reason, it’s hard to give a suggested change for this example.

In conclusion, though these negative messages seem to exist in the movie, it presents enough of an actual anti-suicide message that I can’t fault others for liking it.

Benjamin Hall

Among Benjamin Hall's many credits he is the creator and writer of the comic Time Trio; a writer/editor of various works for Sequart Organization; Blogger for Rippersspot.blogspot.com; a columnist for Comicon. He holds a Bachelor's in film studies and a Master's Degree in Media Communications. He is also an Aspie.