Review: JUDAS #1

JUDAS #1
Written by Jeff Loveness
Art by Jakub Rebelka and Colin Bell
Published by BOOM! Studios
Release date: December 13, 2017

Judas #1 is sorrowfully beautiful. It presents the story of a character that has been questioned, hated and ignored for centuries. Judas takes a story that many people already know and grafts onto it a deeper meaning. This gives birth in the reader’s mind questions they may not have had before. It’s a perfect combination of a familiar story, with skillful writing that expounds upon the subject and artwork that awakens a sense of divine from within.

Judas’ story has always been everyman’s story. His very human actions are identifiable with every person even if it is buried deep within. Jeff Loveness, through the character of Judas, is vocalizing questions that every person fiercely struggles with. These questions are not about Judas, but every human’s own personal journey with what they believe. Even if outwardly they display the perfect example of a strong faith, inside every person struggles with these type of core questions about what they really believe. Loveness’ writing reaches within and connects with these doubts to give the reader a personal connection with his story. He has framed the story with Biblical quotes that along with the artwork gives the book a very holy feel to it. Judas’ dialogue, though, is very human and not divine at all. It is the vocalization of humanity and Loveness has perfectly portrayed that in Judas’ struggle. Though there exists a Gospel of Judas, Loveness’ story and message of Judas is more beautiful and in touch with humanity. The flow of the story is perfect as Loveness takes the reader from flashbacks to the present to the eternal. It is a lovely correlation though our own personal journey and this chapter of the story ends with a impactful reveal. Issue #1 could absolutely be a stand alone story that doesn’t need anything further to make it any better. However, whatever Loveness has planned for the readers is sure to be stunning if it is anything like the first issue.

Jakub Rebelka’s artwork couldn’t be more perfect for this story. If the reader has had any experience at all with a Christian church then this story will more than likely take them back to that. The imagery that Rebelka has rendered in the pages of Judas #1 is deeply rooted in illustrations seen in a Christian setting and especially that of parables. This is an excellent choice for this story as a parable is simple story used to illustrate a deeper spiritual meaning. Judas  is at once both simple and deep both in the writing and the artwork. Just a flip through the pages reveals a soft, organic style of art that makes the observer feel comfortable  and at peace. A further study of each panel, though, reveals so much more. Rebelka has created details in the background of each panel that act as a rorschach engine for the reader’s mind to decipher.

The characters are portrayed as being earthy both in style and color. It drives home the intention that these are real people; these are humans that we can identify with if nothing else at a very basic level. Their facial expressions are the same looks of worry and doubt that we make ourselves when no one else is looking. Layered on top of this humanity is the thick dressings of religiosity. So thick in fact that it seems to weigh the characters down. The colors in Judas are passionate. They soak the pages in the feelings of the characters and lays bare their emotions. Moments of humanity are in deep earthy colors and then immediately contrasted with ice cold tones of death and emptiness. Rebelka’s interpretation of the afterlife is skillfully created and given a host of horrorful inhabitants that is only surpassed by the shock of the final page. To top everything off Colin Bell has done a lovely job of lettering the issue. The style is as organic and vulnerable as the questions be asked by Judas. 

Judas #1 is without a doubt a book that should not be missed. It is absolutely Loveness best piece of storytelling to date and Rebelka’s art compliments it like a perfectly paired frame. The reader does not have to be religious at all to enjoy this story. It is a story of and for humanity at it’s core and should be experienced by all.

The Verdict: 10/10

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