Villainy is re-examined and religious narrative questioned in this bold and uncomfortably thought-provoking graphic novel about Judas Iscariot.
Judas’ status as villain of the Christ tale is an almost universally unquestioned fact, until now. Loveness’ (Venom, 2018, etc.) haunting continuation follows Judas post-suicide into hell, where he meets the devil and learns that he is a pawn in a much larger game of doctrinal chess, designed to elevate Christ at his expense. This story’s success lies in the author’s use of plot holes in the New Testament to make Judas a sympathetic character enslaved to forces beyond his control. If mankind has free will but God knows all, then Judas’ “villainy” is an inevitability rather than a fate he was ever capable of avoiding. Rebelka’s (Namesake, 2017, etc.) chilling illustrations provide the perfect lugubrious backdrop for hellish conversations. The color palette of muted blues and vibrant reds brings Satan’s kingdom to life, evoking the horror of eternal damnation and the vastness of a kingdom plunged into a darkness that its inhabitants might not deserve. Before encountering Jesus again, Judas runs into Jezebel, Goliath, and other Old Testament villains whose fates force readers to question God’s reputation as merciful father. This book is not for all readers, but all who read it will be challenged and enriched by the questions it raises.
A provocative look at history’s most notorious villain. (Graphic novel. 15-adult)