Few characters in the history of DC Comics have been more irredeemable than Terra from the Teen Titans. First appearing in Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s New Teen Titans #26 in 1982, Terra joined the Titans early in their history during The Judas Contract only to attempt to tear the team apart from within as part of a plot by Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke the Terminator. While the Teen Titans animated series depicted Terra as a tragic antagonist pressured into betraying the Titans, the comic book version of the character was far more sinister…and irredeemable.

DC has tried to redeem or at least make Terra more sympathetic over the years. However, none of their attempts have been able to outshine her initial betrayal. The Judas Contract is so memorable an event that any attempt to redeem Terra has ultimately failed.

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Terra ultimately died at the conclusion of The Judas Contract. She believed Deathstroke had betrayed her when Jericho freed the Titans from H.I.V.E. She went berserk, unleashing her earth-bending abilities in full force. However, this only managed to bring the whole H.I.V.E. complex down upon herself, ending her life.

Terra would eventually return in the Post-Crisis continuity as both a zombie and as a time-traveling clone. The zombie emerged during Blackest Night, where she tried once again to eradicate the Titans. The clone came from a possible future and joined the Team Titans, an alternate future version of the Teen Titans.

This heroic Terra couldn’t escape the legacy of the old Terra. To make matters worse, the villain Time-Trapper teased she wasn’t from the future at all. Her fears were substantiated by Terra’s empty coffin and a genetic test conducted by Terra’s half-brother, Geo-Force. However, in part due to how stressful this process was to Terra, everyone lied to her and assured her she was really a clone. This Terra ultimately died fighting Black Adam, sacrificing herself for the greater good.

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Terra later returned in the New 52 reboot, once again as a hero. However, despite her heroic return, she could not escape the legacy of her predecessor. This is despite her entire New 52 storyline existing as a counter-argument to everything the original Terra did. For every sin the original Terra committed, the New 52 Terra tried to do the opposite. Yet, even then, Terra ended up EXACTLY where she left off.

Terra here is a member of The Ravagers, a team that survived the events of The Culling, where several teenage superheroes were put into a death-battle by an insidious organization known as Harvest. Among Terra’s teammates in The Ravagers was Garfield Logan, also known as Beast Boy. Terra and Beast Boy developed intense romantic feelings towards one another. Unlike the original story of The Judas Contract where Beast Boy had a one-sided crush on Terra, this relationship was mutual.

However, the story of The Ravagers ends in tragedy. Deathstroke is tasked by Harvest to eradicate the Ravagers once and for all. Deathstroke is given an Abeo Blade — a weapon believed capable of killing anyone struck by it. Terra seemingly sacrifices herself to save Beast Boy from Deathstroke.

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However, while Beast Boy watches Terra disappear before his eyes, the reality is that the Abeo Blade is not a killing weapon, but rather a teleportation device. Deathstroke disassembles the Ravagers, delivers the children to Harvest, before taking Terra, along with his daughter Rose Wilson, from Harvest as part of his contract. Ironically, Terra, despite doing everything right in this other continuity, ultimately ended up as Deathstroke’s tool.

Every action taken by the heroic Terra in the New 52 was influenced by her time as a villain. At this point, there appears to be no escape from her legacy as the betrayer of the Titans. It seems as though the DC Rebirth iteration of Terra serves as a strange middle-ground between villainous and heroic Terra.  Terra reappeared as a member of Deathstroke’s team Defiance. Once again, Terra served as a servant of her original boss. However, the team ultimately disbanded in Deathstroke Annual Vol 4 #1, shortly after it was founded in Deathstroke Vol 4 #20. No matter how much DC tries, every new story just further ties her to her legacy as the undercover traitor who almost destroyed the Teen Titans.

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