Last month, Judas got off to a great start. Artist Jakub Rebelka delivered beautiful, multi-textured artwork and writer Jeff Loveness introduced the series’ biblical premise in such a way that even someone with no past knowledge of Christianity could easily understand it. With that said, it’s one thing to build momentum, but it’s another to successfully utilize it. Does Judas #2 live up to the potential of the series’ debut?
As far as its writing goes, this issue is solid. The entire issue consists of Judas conversing with Lucifer, and thankfully, their conversation is interesting enough for that not to necessarily be a bad thing. Loveness dives deeper into the series’ biblical inspirations as Lucifer recounts the stories of specific people who were forsaken by God, like Goliath and the wife of Lot. These references help to make the comic’s world feel more fleshed out, and play into the recurring theme of God framing individuals as villains when it most suits him. This issue ends with a fantastic twist on the Christian mythos that makes so much immediate sense that I’m shocked I’ve never seen it before. Drawing on specific portions from the Bible while reworking them in new ways, Loveness successfully crafts a story that feels innovative, rather than just derivative.
Of course, no discussion of Judas would be complete without addressing its artwork. Once again, Rebelka impresses. The colors throughout are beautiful, well coordinated, and shift appropriately to match tonal and context changes. The variety in page compositions throughout is also nice, as are a few instances where pages with parallel plot events mirror each other visually. The similarities and differences between panels depicting two individuals who fell from grace are particularly fantastic.
With all that said, Judas #2 is not without its flaws. The most glaring of these is its pacing. I mentioned before that Lucifer’s conversation with Judas is well-done–and in and of itself, it is. But this mini-series is only set to be four issues long, and the plot only seems to start picking up at the very end of this issue. We’re halfway through Judas, and while what we’ve gotten thus far has been good, I’m not convinced that it’s been enough given how little page-time is left. The issue’s artwork also has some issues, particularly where Lucifer’s face is concerned. It doesn’t seem quite consistent enough, and some of the character’s facial expressions are (presumably) unintentionally amusing. There is also a somewhat disappointing lack of different textures compared to the first issues. The differences in amount of detail between some panels throughout seem less intentional and more like a matter of time-crunching. That’s not to say that the art is bad–by and large, it is very impressive. But there are still weaker moments here.
Overall, Judas #2 is a good issue. More biblical figures get incorporated into the narrative successfully, and the ending twist is fantastic. The artwork is also solid, with great colors and compositions. Unfortunately, the series does seem to be moving a bit too slowly, and the art doesn’t always stay consistent in the level of detail it depicts. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this issue and would recommend it to anyone interested in comics with biblical themes and influences.