JUDAS #1 (of four). Boom. Written by Jeff Loveness. Art by Jakub Rebelka.
A man, one born of flesh, blood, miseries, hopes, fears and scorns, does an unforgivable thing. But perhaps, it was a thing he was meant to do. If he was destined to do it, if his sin was inescapable, then what of the man? Is he owed what cannot be given to him? And if so, what does that mean?
The story of Jesus -- from his lowly beginnings in a manger, to his ministry and, finally, to his crucifixion, death and resurrection -- is hailed by the faithful as the greatest story ever told. But Judas' part in that story as a predestined betrayer makes it -- at least from his perspective -- the saddest, most tragic story ever told, and in writer Jeff Loveness' new miniseries out next month from Boom Studios, he tells that story with grace and understanding. "Judas" is a lush epic told with a tight script and driven by a beautiful appropriation of Christian iconography. It is an achievement in creativity, storytelling and art -- the sort of thing that every comic creation should strive to be but so few attain.
It is incredible.
The story of "Judas" begins where we last saw him in the New Testament: dead by his own hand at the cruel end of the hopeless rope. From there, we get a brief biography of the man who would betray the Savior: He grew up with a loving mother, only to see her die young and alone. He followed Jesus, only to see the Son of God acting in ways that made little sense. "If you could walk on water," Judas wonders of Jesus, "why make a world where men drown?" It's a simple -- albeit nearly sinful -- question but it gets at the great problem at the heart of faith: Why do bad things happen in a world governed by a just and loving God? As Loveness posits, Judas couldn't answer that question that allowed him to maintain his faith, and that doubt led him to 1) betrayal and 2) suicide.
I could go on and on about the themes and questions at the core of this book (I find them so fascinating) but that would do a disservice to the work as a whole. Narratively, it's a great story -- the odyssey of Judas in Hell (along with who he meets there) is worth the cover price alone. And Loveness wisely relies on a sparse script to keep the book flowing and the attention where it needs to be: on Jakub Rebelka's majestic, sweeping, stunning art.
This work would not be the unqualified success it is without Rebelka's skill and imagination, and there's simply no describing the beauty of the art here. The design is so tonally right, so perfect for the project, that most of the project wouldn't seem out of place in stained glass. (That would, however, be the world's least portable comic book.) And the panels you wouldn't find in your local cathedral, those that illustrate the more insane parts of Hell, are so bizarre as to drive home how otherworldly Hell really is. Layouts are solid, clean and perfect, and the colors -- especially as Judas is musing about the apparent hypocrisy of the Savior -- tell a story all their own.
The story of Judas has been told for more than a millennium. But this miniseries is something new in tone, beauty and depth, and whether its's the greatest story ever told or the most tragic, I know one thing: The majestic splendor of "Judas" should not be missed.
"Judas" #1, from writer Jeff Loveness, artist Jakub Rebelka and Boom Studios, goes on sale December 13.
RICK AND MORTY: POCKET LIKE YOU STOLE IT #5 (of five). Oni. Written by Tini Howard. Illustrated by Marc Ellerby. Colored by Katy Farina.
In this last installment of writer Tini Howard's miniseries, we see everything that has gotten us to this point as one brave(ish) Morty trying to figure his place in a Morty-vs.-Morty-vs.-All-of-the-Ricks world lays siege to the Council of Ricks in order to gain freedom for all Mortykind. His fight, though, is supposed to be a mental one, and it's fun to see Morty forced to rely on his brain to beat the assorted Ricks in his path.
From the beginning, this miniseries has been pure, uncut fun, and the conclusion is no exception. (The "Full House" reference was a winner, by the way, and "Sticky Popsicle Hands Morty" is now the one I want for my collection.) But the neat thing here is the big picture question: What amount of free will does our Morty (and by extension any Morty or any of us) have? A nice end to a solid and fun miniseries.
"Rick and Morty: Pocket Like You Stole It" #5, from writer Tini Howard, illustrator Marc Ellerby, colorist Katy Farina and Oni Press, goes on sale Wednesday.
RUGRATS #2. Kaboom/Boom. Written by Box Brown. Illustrated by Lisa DuBois. Colored by Eleonora Bruni.
I can't get over how perfectly conceived this comic revival of the modern classic kids' show is. All of the characters (Tommy, Chuckie, et al.) are here, but the time period has changed from the mid-90s to the mid/late 2010s. The babies, therefore, are dealing with contemporary "problems," as we saw in the debut with parents constantly snooping on them via nanny cams and other surveillance tech.
That story continues in #2 (again, this book is serialized, and I love that) with the babies looking for any way to get things back the way they used to be (when they could actually sneak around for cookies and perpetrate other mild mayhem). With some accidental help from Grandpa Lou, the babies figure out a plan--which we'll see in issue #3. (
"Rugrats" #2, from writer Box Brown, illustrator Lisa Dubois, colorist Eleonora Bruni and kaboom, goes on sale Wednesday....Read more