Judas is a 2017 graphic novel written by Jeff Loveness and illustrated by Jakub Rebelka.
Judas Iscariot journeys through life and death, grappling with his place in "The Greatest Story Ever Told," and how much of his part was preordained. In a religion built on redemption and forgiveness, one man had to sacrifice himself for everyone and it wasn't Jesus.
This work provides examples of:
- Ambiguously Evil: While it was Satan who whispered into Judas' ear and convinced him to betray Jesus, it is implied by Satan that he is not in full control of his actions, forced into the role of villain by God in order to be made an example of, just as Judas, Goliath, Pharaoh Ramses II and Jezebel were.
- According to Satan, many of the villains of the Bible (himself, Judas, Goliath, Rameses and Jezebel) were all essentially on the same moral playing field as its many heroes, the only real difference being that God did nothing to help them (often actively manipulating them in the case of Rameses) because he needed a Necessarily Evil to fight. The comic does nothing to disprove this, leaving up to interpretation.
- Arc Words: There are two that repeatedly show up at key points of the story:
- "Come. Follow me."
- "This was always your story."
- The Chosen One: It is implied by the end that Judas was sent to Hell not due to his betrayal, but rather he was sent there to act as a messiah figure to those who were already damned.
- Easy Road to Hell: Many of the people in Hell were purposefully manipulated by God to be made an example of for his followers. Even Lot's wife, who's only sin was looking back when Sodom was being destroyed, is now frozen as a statue in Hell.
- Hell Is War: This is the fate of all warriors who wind up in Hell, forced to fight each other in a never ending battle.
- I Fell for Hours: Jezebel's fate in Hell is to fall forever with no bottom in sight.
- Messianic Archetype: Amazingly, for a story with Jesus in it, it is Judas who exhibits these traits. His entire time in Hell, the artistic style portrays him with a black Holy Halo similar to how saints and Jesus himself is portrayed in Christian iconography. By the end of the story, his forgiveness saves Jesus from Hell and Judas ends up becoming shepherd to the damned, even beginning to resemble him as well.
- Red Right Hand: In reflection of his sin, Judas wakes up in Hell wearing a necklace made from the silver coins he was paid in for his betrayal, resembling the noose he used to take his own life.
- Rivers of Blood: In reflection of his death at the Red Sea, Pharaoh Rameses II is forced to ride a chariot of skeletal horses along the crashing waves of an ocean of blood for eternity.