By Jeff Loveness, Jakub Rebelka, Colin Bell, and Michelle Ankley
When implementing religious figures in a story, there’s always the fear that the final result will feel like something out of an after-school special. It makes people detach and wonder more about how the story is trying to convince them about something rather than tell a good narrative. BOOM! Studios’s Judas, on the other hand, does nothing but. Falling to its darkest point, the series shows off the incredible talent of the creative team. From a powerful message to the gorgeous art, it’s a Biblical story that’s not only meaningful but also incredibly well done.
In its first issue, Jeff Loveness focused on the reflective tale of Judas, betrayer of Jesus. As the series has progressed, the story has shifted to include the many others that have been wronged by God in some way. But while those were concerned with the past, Judas #3 is fully in the present. The inclusion of Jesus in Hell has given the punished full reign to do whatever they like, seeking retribution for their pain. It’s hard not to sympathize with the characters that essentially serve as the collateral damage in the Bible but it’s also difficult to fully justify their revenge. This moral struggle pits the reader in the same situation as Judas, and makes their connection to the story stronger.
Guilt and doubt still play a major role in Judas, with how characters react to these feelings driving them forward. The breaking down of Judas, Jesus, and even Satan feel very real, especially in their dialogue. However a noted exclusion this time around is letterer Colin Bell’s work with quotes from the Bible, since the issue is more concerned with harsh reality rather than recounting another character’s tale. But there are still some small details included such as the transition of Jesus from god to man told with the change of his dialogue’s color. In a book that revolves around philosophical debates regarding free will, every addition heightens the narrative beyond the norm.
Jakub Rebelka’s art reaches new heights, depicting both the physical and abstract to great effect. His art style has been well suited to showing off the epic nature of the material. The pages that show Jesus taking on humanity’s sins as well as its greatest sinners are beautiful, demonstrating the character’s compassion even when being consumed. The contrast between the blue Hell and Jesus’s red divine nature as well as how the two combine create simply amazing looking sequences. Other moments serve a much more subtle purpose, letting the empty space speak mountains on loneliness and regret.
Judas #3 is another home run on all levels. Whether it’s the deeper story of redemption or the relevant use of many players in Christianity, there’s something for everyone within these pages. It wouldn’t be fair to pass over a series that’s so full of earnestness. Judas is ultimately a story of hope, a reminder of good even in dark times. As it reaches its inevitable conclusion, it will certainly be missed on the stands.