Review: Judas #1

Judas_001_A_MainJudas Iscariot journeys through life and death, grappling with his place in “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” and how much of his part was preordained. In a religion built on redemption and forgiveness, one man had to sacrifice himself for everyone…and it wasn’t Jesus.

Any story that takes on the subject matter that this comic is presenting runs the risk of being drowned by people refusing to read it, or reacting before they’ve read it, which robs the story of its chance to be given a fair critical chance. Although one could argue that the very nature of the subject matter can leave it ripe for just such a reaction. The preview text of the comic was interesting enough, so I figured  I’d give the Boom Studios  published comic a shot.

Written by Jeff Loveness, and featuring art from Jakub Rebelka, Judas #1 is an ambitious comic. You’ll notice that the issue is comprised almost entirely of an internal monologue from the man in the title, which gives the comic a feeling more like an illustrated novel than a traditional comic book. It’s dangerously close to being a pretentious way to utilize the medium, but as the comic never quite crosses that line it remains an introspective look into one of the most reviled men in history (or fiction, depending on where you stand).Judas_001_PRESS_5

The combination of the art and the lack of specific speech bubbles work strongly in the comic’s favour, elevating what could easily be a controversial story people read because they want an opinion on it into a comic you should read as an example of what comics are capable of doing. There’s a level of promise here that belies the “pretty good” feeling I had while reading the issue, even though I enjoyed the comic; indeed, it was upon further reflection (and a second read through) that Judas began to open up to me as being more than just a comic courting controversy simply for telling a story that, frankly, has no reason not to be told.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, and assuming you’re at least passingly familiar with who Judas is (as in he’s the dude who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, which led to the Crucifixion), then you’ll be able to appreciate the comic’s study of the man who sold out Jesus, and the effect that act (whether preordained or not) had on him. Is this a man deserving of forgiveness, or redemption? Has he been unfairly judged by people in the two thousand odd years since the betrayal? I’m looking forward to seeing how the series handles these questions in the coming issues.

Story: Jeff Loveness Art: Jakub Rebelka
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review