Every week, I try to keep an eye out for new series that might be of interest to me. BOOM! Studios’ Judas #1 easily made the cut. Biblical fan-fiction is a unique premise for a comic from a relatively major company, and the artwork here is just gorgeous. So, how is the issue overall?
Full disclosure: I am neither a Christian nor a Bible scholar. My knowledge of Christianity may be a bit more thorough than the average American’s, but I’m far from an expert. As such, it is entirely possible that there may be subtle cues or images with double meanings here that I don’t have the background context to fully pick up on.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed this issue very much. Writer Jeff Loveness does a great job of providing all the background information readers need; one could probably pick this up with no prior knowledge of Christianity and still understand all of the crucial plot points. Loveness constructs the narrative from Judas’ point of view, and it’s an interesting change to see the betrayer rendered as a protagonist. Judas’ thoughts are clearly conveyed throughout, and his emotions are easy to relate to. The pacing of the issue is also solid; my only qualm with the issue’s writing is that it doesn’t stray far from just feeling like an introduction. The ending promises more drama in the issues to come, so hopefully that ends up being the case.
As solid as the writing here is, it’s not the issue’s strongest aspect. The artwork, by Jakub Rebelka, is (pardon the pun) divine. From the cover to the final page, the wide variety of textures and colors present are constantly stunning. Rebelka’s style would feel at home in any high fantasy title, and it works perfectly for rendering this issue’s armors, angels, and hellscapes. Rebelka’s take on Hell is especially impressive. Rather than flaming and filled with red hues, Rebelka’s Hell is blue and almost barren; most of its topography consists of either stone or dead trees. Like the writing, this issue’s artwork has few downsides. The worst panels all look good; they just aren’t as impressively detailed as the rest of the issue is.
Overall, this is a very strong debut issue. Rebelka’s artwork is nearly flawless, and the worst panels are preferable to the usual art from many other series. This issue is also strong narratively. Loveness does a good job of introducing Judas’ character and making him easy to root for. Nonetheless, I feel a bit nervous about this series’ future due to it only having three more issues to wrap things up. If the creative team can keep this level of quality up, though, then Judas is definitely going to be a series worth looking out for.