By Jeff Loveness, Jakub Rebelka, and Colin Bell

Seeing characters find a second life in the hands of new creators never gets old. Judas, the new mini-series from BOOM! Studios, is no exception. In its first issue, Jeff Loveness and Jakub Rebelka have created a book that in many ways is a continuation of the titular character’s journey from the Bible while also serving as a beautiful and thoughtful look into one of Christianity’s greatest sinners.

Loveness combines traditional Biblical elements such as the thirty pieces of silver and Judas’ suicide along with other developments to create a sympathetic lead. For instance, we see him bury his charitable mother that fell ill and steal for the poor. It’s apparent that Judas has a kind heart and soul, appropriate for someone chosen to be an apostle of Jesus’s message of love. Even when Judas questions his teacher, there are good intentions behind his doubts. It firmly establishes him as a living character beyond what we’ve heard of him and it only makes it harder for the reader to see him be punished.


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Ultimately, the issue brings to mind questions that theologians have actually furiously debated over the years: Does Judas deserve to be damned? Since he was destined to betray Jesus, does this make him entirely responsible? Judas firmly places this idea at the forefront, adding to the sorrowful and tragic tone. It inspires feelings of waywardness like the wandering spirit of the main character, and touches on themes of grief, destiny, and redemption.

The sprinkling of Bible quotes throughout the narrative fits perfectly with the subject matter. Not only do they describe the action present in the story, but they also parallel Judas’s journey with heavenly figures. Monsters in Hell are juxtaposed with descriptions of cherubim (a high rank of angels) and Judas himself is given a verse that references Jesus. Thanks to letterer Colin Bell, they are each given a style that make them stand out as sacred text. Fans of Preacher will also appreciate Bell’s choices for Jesus’s dialogue. His words are given a shade of red similar to the “Word of God” spoken by Jesse Custer in that series.

Meanwhile, artist Jakub Rebelka seems as if he was born to illustrate this title. From the filled-in dark halo around Judas’s head to the necklace he wears comprised of the 30 pieces of silver, his design is very consciously emulating classic Christian artwork. Judas’s thick lines and smooth painted colors would feel right at home on the walls of your local church. This style is beautifully paired with a dual color palette, warmer colors for the past and cooler colors for the present in Hell. Pages with contrast between the two balance inviting and emotionally isolating imagery quite nicely. Other touches like the visual representation of doubt, displayed by erratic, encroaching black lines, help to convey the oppressive nature of a higher power. 

Judas is a visually stunning, emotionally complex take on a very real human being. If religious tales aren’t your preference, know that it’s primarily a character study, making it more Biblical spin-off than Bible story. While more meaningful with religious context, there’s plenty there to connect to. Very personal and ending on an interesting note, Judas is well-worth the trip to Hell it delivers.

About The Author Former Contributor

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