Judas stands face-to-face with the Fallen Angel, the Devil, the Morningstar himself, Lucifer. Judas is immediately hostile towards the Lord of the Flies, but the Devil explains his story to Judas in the hopes that he can get the Betrayer to listen to his side of the Story that has been ongoing since the beginning of time. He also shows the other people God has similarly cast out over the centuries.
Jeff Loveness and Jakub Rebelka have put forth a fascinating “epilogue” to the story of the Betrayer with Judas. It starts from the premise of whether or not Judas Iscariot was actually a villain for betraying the Christ. If Jesus was meant to be crucified, did Judas not do the right thing by turning him over to the Romans? Jesus was destined to die; Judas only helped him along the way.
The second issue expands on this by giving Lucifer’s side of the story. It’s not as akin to Paradise Lost as one would think. Lucifer has been watching God ever since facing damnation. He has put together that God is putting together a narrative, the Story. People like the wife of Lot, the proud Pharaoh Moses’s Exodus, and Goliath are all victims. They are the villains, the antagonists, and the warning signs for God’s story, and they have been unjustly punished for simply playing the role which God needed of them.
That’s a fascinating take on the Bible and Christianity. Picking apart Christian theology is nothing new, and the observations this comic makes aren’t completely original, either. However, it becomes fresh in the expansive metanarrative of our reality in Christian perception it establishes, and a personal and sympathetic focus on Judas and Lucifer give it some narrative intimacy.
It does an excellent job of establishing that sympathy for Judas and Lucifer. It is all the more enthralling when you remember that Lucifer is the Prince of Lies, and he could just as easily be playing Judas this whole time.
Jakub Rebelka’s artwork is a very clever spin on Medieval art, which was often flat and distorted to make up for emphasis. Rebelka’s style isn’t as simplistic, to its benefit. It has a similar aesthetic trend but with depth and less distortion. Plus, the black halo on Judas is a very nice touch, and it resembles the golden halos placed upon divine figures in those Medieval creations. The coloring is quite cold, different from the common depictions of Hell. The world is dead, and the color work represents that well. It is prone to dramatic shifts when a story is being told, and that can be a little visually jarring. However, the comic is quite gorgeous on the whole.
Judas #2 is a beautifully grim telling of the Betrayer and Lucifer. It questions the nature of their actions, whether they were truly their actions, and if they are evil at all. The art is beautiful and plays with the older artistic tropes in relation to these characters. This one comes highly recommended. Give it a read.
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