Did Jesus's Robe Impart Judas Iscariot With Super Powers?

As has usually been the case with DC Comics, who took great pains over the years to obscure exactly what God The Spectre was serving, there isn't any overt reference to the New Testament in today's Phantom Stranger #0.

Still, since we already figured out that Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio have transformed the formerly anonymous supernatural hero into Judas Iscariot, seeking redemption for his betrayal of Christ, the events in the scan at right are pretty easy to explain.

Yes, folks, it appears that it isn't the pieces of silver around his neck (as some had expected) or even just his encounter with the cosmic forces who punished him that gave Judas the powers of the Phantom Stranger. Rather, it's the Holy Coat of Trèves, the robe worn by Jesus, then stolen from him and given away by lot at the Crucifixion, that seems to grant the directionless Judas with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal man. Bleeding Cool scanned the page and asked if anyone knew about any other holy relics in the DC Universe, and yeah--there were some, but all of those appeared before The New 52.

The robe in question was, according to John 19:23-24, not torn up to be shared among the Romans because it was of a single piece with no seam. It's difficult to tell from the art, but it's possible that's a property of the tunic that's retained here.

It's an odd choice, and one that's not laid out in any real detail in-story, but it's sure to get people talking.

Aside from the obvious religious context of the story that's likely to generate conversation and controversy outside of comics, there's the additional fact that many comics fans have wondered whether Superman's costume has been retconned as key to his power set, or at least enhancing it. DC executives and even Superman writer Dan Jurgens have been somewhat evasive in interviews, saying essentially that it was a story that had yet to play itself out. Now, though, we've got one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe seemingly granted his powers by a symbolic article of clothing.

It's also likely worth noting that Dr. Occult, another member of DC's "Trenchcoat Brigade" with a mysterious backstory and a galactic worldview, derives much of his power from the Symbol of Seven, a magical device that he once wielded as part of the Sentinels of Magic, a group created by DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns during Day of Judgment, his first big crossover for the publisher and which also includes the Phantom Stranger. During their tenure as a team, they protected the Spear of Destiny, another holy relic from the New Testament, from falling into the hands of The Spectre.