TITANS VOL. 3: A JUDAS AMONG US begins with Lilith Clay at the forefront of the action. To this point she’s been an important, if supporting, character, but it is nice to see her really getting the opportunity to come into her own in the DC Universe. My hat’s off to writer Dan Abnett for launching this arc with Omen.
Like many metahumans with psi or magic-based abilities, the true breadth and scope of Lilith’s powers are just beginning to be revealed to us by Abnett. In a way, Lilith Clay carries on the proud tradition started by Raven in the Wolfman/Perez NEW TEEN TITANS tradition. She is both in charge of her powers and potentially overwhelmed by them, something which is explored throughout A Judas Among Us. For the first time, I felt as if I truly understand who Lilith Clay is and exactly what she is capable of as Omen…even though I’m not certain that she knows yet.
Much of the drama in A Judas Among Us swirls around Lilith’s revelation that one among the Titans is a traitor. While she does her best to hide this secret from her fellow teammates for fear of the internal unrest it is certain to give birth to, the secret makes it out in the end, of course, and accusations are bandied about based on nothing more than preexisting petty drama. Roy comes under a lot of scrutiny from Wally and Donna, with Nightwing hurling his own accusations at Omen, who is a very natural suspect, if you ask me.
The best Titans or Teen Titans stories balance superheroic theatrics with interpersonal drama. I’ve been a gigantic Titans fan my entire life and this is a tenant that I stand by when reading a new adventure with these characters. This is something that A Judas Among Us nails from the opening pages. There are no less than three romances focused on in this arc: Omen and Tempest, Karen and Mal, and Donna and Wally.
Lilith and Garth are very well-suited for each other, and the two characters actually feel a touch more defined by their relationship to each other. I think there’s a lot of potential with these two to become a popular Titans couple that could stand up next to Dick and Koriand’r in their heyday. Lilith struggles in A Judas Among Us with the idea that maybe “Omen,” her superhero name, is a title instead of merely an affectation. It is suggested that she will herald the coming of great strife. Garth is the first person Lilith warns about a traitor within the ranks and also her chosen confidante regarding the nature of her name. He proves a strong support for Lilith when she needs it and stands up for her when accusations are hurled in her direction.
In previous Titans: Rebirth volumes, we learned about Roy’s feelings for Donna coupled with heavy hints that the pair might make it after all. They even seem like they might be on their way to actually giving words to their feelings (in an issue drawn by Kenneth Rocafort filling in for series artist Brett Booth), until an unexpected connection between Donna and Wally West crops up. In the wake of Deathstroke’s revelations about Donna in the recent crossover event, THE LAZARUS CONTRACT, she’s in a difficult position in A Judas Among Us and is eventually forced to face down a nihilistic futuristic version of herself known as Troia.
As longtime Titans fans know, that’s a name that’s been pulled from Donna Troy’s comic book past. I always thought Troia was an interesting identity for Donna and here Brett Booth gives her what is easily the best costume she has ever had—complete with an epic cape—that I would love to see come back in a future storyline! Titans: Rebirth has always had an eye on both the future and the past of the team and having A Judas Among Us culminate in a battle with Troia as a representation of the most powerful team members’ insecurities is satisfying from a meta-narrative perspective as well as from the scale of the battle that we see in the final pages.
Booth continues the legacy of excellence that he has always brought to his comic book work. He draws an epic Wally West (both versions in A Judas Among Us!), whose anatomy seems to stretch as he makes use of the Speed Force. Flash and Troia look outstanding under his pencils. I also live for the way he draws Karen Beecher-Duncan in her new Bumblebee costume. Bumblebee is a character who’s become much better known these past few years thanks to DC Super Hero Girls, and I’m really hoping that Booth gets a chance to highlight her even more in upcoming volumes now that she has had her memory engram restored!
A Judas Among Us dives into the struggles of some Titans we haven’t seen in the spotlight up to this point in the current series, and looks utterly stunning while it’s at it. For a more mature look at one of DC Comics most important and popular teams, you have to be reading this series.