The second installment of Judas from BOOM! Comics had this cover and a variant cover with art that felt like a nod to Dante’s Inferno or Paradise Lost. Though the variant cover was well done, I wanted my collection to all be the same style covers.
If you missed my post on the first issue, you can read that here before you read this post.
What is Judas up to in these pages? We find the unnamed being who I can only assume is Satan (or Lucifer, or the devil) welcoming Judas into a bleak wasteland of darkness. The accusations from the last issue carry through into this issue, though they transition from Judas to Satan. “YOU WERE IN MY HEAD!” Judas screams.
Satan calmly teases out the notion that he alone has the truth of the story. The only story. The story where God has compassion on all except those who He needs to be villains in His story. Pharaoh. Goliath. Jezebel. Lot’s wife, who wasn’t even given the dignity of being named. After several pages, this culminates in Judas returning to his original blameshift which feels just shy enough of a trite “The devil made me do it” to give it some gravity. Then comes an extremely interesting panel.
That old liar has spent pages telling Judas how the fall of villains in the only story were due to God’s sovereignty, and when Judas tries to turn the tables on him, Satan conveniently leans on man’s responsibility and spins that right back at Judas, shifting the blame again away from himself. Unbelievably clever, and so subtle I had to read it several times to catch it. It just didn’t sit right, and felt like I had read the panel too quickly. Wow, Jeff Loveness.
The story then continues with the war in heaven that Satan waged against God, and his fall like lightning to the wasteland the story now occupies. “There is no escaping your story,” he leads. There is an ace up his sleeve, from his perspective at least, as the issue comes to a close in a way that seems more supported by Christian culture than Scripture. I didn’t see it coming, but wasn’t surprised to see the cliff hanger of Jesus being in hell after his crucifixion. I’m anticipating which direction the next two issues will go, but I am looking forward to seeing if and how Judas 4:4 handles the resurrection. The resurrection is what we’re all waiting for anyway, whether we know it or not, isn’t it?
Reading this series is like reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. It is diabolical. However, unlike The Screwtape Letters, I do not know the authors intent with his medium. If he is trying to get the reader into the mindset of Judas and the devil, then I think he has succeeded brilliantly, even if some of the dialogue makes me wince. In all honesty, I don’t know his full intention, but that is how I’m going to interpret this unless I have further reason to believe otherwise.
As with the last issue, Jakub Rebelka illustrated the book in such an engaging way that every illustration begs you to linger over it for just a little while longer, taking in the richness of each line, each point of contrast, each use of color.
Halfway through the series, Judas is highlighting the strengths of graphic storytelling.
If you’re reading Judas, how has the series landed with you? Let me know in the comments. I’m interested to see what conversation it sparks.