EP0052: Titans Vol. 3: A Judas Among Us (Review)

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The Titans try to figure out who’s the traitor on the team.

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Graham: It’s time for the Titans to root out the traitor. Find out all about it as we take a look at Titans Volume 3: A Judas Among Us.

Announcer: Welcome to the Classy Comics podcast where we search for the best Comics in the universe. From Boise, Idaho here is your host, Adam Graham.

Graham: The Titans have been around for 50 years in either the form of the Teen Titans, the original teen from the 1960s, with sidekicks for Batman, the Flash and Aquaman to the present day. There have been a lot of iterations of this. One of the more popular ones are the Titans, which are the original Teen Titans, people who knew each other since they were kids, now fighting together as adults, young adults. The Titans disappeared in the New 52. In Titans Rebirth, it was revealed that their memories had been stolen and Wally’s return helped them to remember who they were and come together as a team with old Wally West, a big part of the action and what had happened.

They went through a lot of difficult times including Lazarus Contract, which I covered very early in the series. In which they were given cause to doubt Dick Grayson over his agreeing to, with Deathstroke, to something called the Lazarus Contract. However, what exactly that entailed, I’m still not clear on and more importantly, the heart of the team, Wally West had his own heart injured as a teen when the teams traveled back in time to stop Deathstroke. This was Damian Wayne’s decision at work. So, you’ve got the first 2 volumes of Titan stories and you also have the crossover event, the Lazarus Contract in the rearview mirror.

I really do like the first issue of this book. It’s a good starting place, even though it’s the first issue of volume 3. Issue 12, if you were reading the issues individually as they came out. It begins with Omen visiting Psimon in prison to try and get information about H.I.V.E. They are a group that was masquerading as someone who was just helping out metahumans by getting rid of their powers and quirks so they didn’t stop them from living a normal life and they had gotten, actually, some heroes to do it including Mal Duncan, the former guardian, who tried to get his wife to do it as well. She had the identity of Bumblebee. However, in the process she didn’t get her powers taken, she got her entire memory. So, she doesn’t remember Mal and does not remember her baby, which is a major problem they have to resolve. On top of Wally’s heart, Donna Troy has learned that her own background is a lie. She’s picked that up from Wonder Woman and this reflects the fact that Donna Troy’s identity has been something that writers have been messing around with for decades when she was first introduced on the Teen Titans as a Wonder Girl, which was based off of Bob Haney’s misunderstanding that there actually was a Wonder Girl from seeing covers of Wonder Woman comics when this was actually just Wonder Woman as a girl and not a separate character that he could use but it’s become more serious and it becomes more serious still. The book still has a lot of fun and I think the art is great. Some of the resolutions, the question about old Wally West and his heart, really is addressed and it does intersect some plot points. I think the biggest thing is the crossed on the team because Simon in that first issue, states that there is a traitor on the Titans and that plot plays out and adds to the sense of suspicion on the team. With old Wally, it does put him in this very interesting mental state He is at risk of dying when he uses his powers but he still wants to help people and still wants to be part of the team and he actually has a moment with Donna Troy when he kisses her and that creates some problems with Roy Harper, aka Arsenal, who is not too happy about that because he and Donna have, for a long time, had a relationship, off and on and he feels like Wally is moving in only because Linda, the woman he married in the old timeline has no memory of him and I think that’s partially true. I think Wally does find himself in a very emotionally precarious situation with his powers, with his own question of self-definition. He does get to the point of actually writing a resignation letter from the Titans to Dick and letting him know that this will be his last case but it almost becomes that way without him resigning. I won’t spoil the whole thing but it does see young Wally West coming in to kind of fill the gap and there’s some good moments between the old Wally and young Wally, where old Wally apologizes for not being more of a mentor figure and promises to do that, which I think is a good turn. I think I’m liking the young Wally more and more and I hope he’s able to really find the right help and support to become a really good hero, as I’m reading about him more and more in the book and I think it’s an intriguing idea of furthering that relationship between the two of them.

The question of who is Donna Troy, is one that I think is handled pretty well. It’s mostly left off to the side for several issues but it comes right to the fore in the final couple issues when we meet a future version of Donna Troy, who calls herself Troya, who claims to know Donna’s true origin and is coming back to undo some of what she views as a wasted life spent on caring and friendship for people who just would not last as long as her. It’s an interesting story. It begs a lot of questions about, is Donna going to someday succumb to that, what choices is she going to make in the future? She makes a choice to reject that at this point but it does set up some stories later on down the road and it gives Donna a sense of what she needs to avoid. I think there’s also progress and really a resolution on the Bumblebee’s memory plot and I think a lot of that comes with the truth about H.I.V.E and I like how so much comes together.

I like the solution to the question of who the traitor is and how that plays out. I was nervous about how they were going to handle it. If it was going to be just some stupid thing that just ends up destroying the team over some dumb plot device but I actually think they handled it pretty well and managed to give us enough suspense and also give us a solution that’s satisfied.

I think the book is a lot of fun and what I really like about it is you do have so many characters in this book it’s a big team but writer Dan Abnett is really able to make use of everyone. If you remember all the way back to my review of the Lazarus Contract, one of the complaints was that you had all these characters and you really just had 2 or 3 being used. I think Dan Abnett did a really good job getting everybody in the action, giving a lot of these characters really strong emotional takes and at least something to do throughout the series. So I applaud him on that point and it’s something I think that was better than in the first couple books which did tend to center on just 1 or 2 characters. So this was a fun book, good read, good art. I will go ahead and rate this Titans Volume 3: A Judas Among Us as classy. It’s a classy collection and a strong series even though D.C. canceled it today it for their own reasons. I think that this is just a great volume and it’s well worth a read.

If you have a comment, email it to me classycomicsguy@gmail.com. If you’re liking the podcast, I’d appreciate it if you’d give us a rating on iTunes and follow me on Twitter at classycomicsguy. From Boise, Idaho, this is your host Adam Graham signing off.

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