Ross founded the UK Anime Network back in 1995 and works in and around the anime industry.
Judas Vol. 1
Author/Artist Suu Minazuki
Good grief, where to start? Well, it's a manga that focuses on the undying spirit of Judas, but whether it's that Judas isn't made clear in this first volume. As an ethereal entity, Judas can only interact with the human world through the hapless Eve, a young boy who looks and dresses like a girl. Together they must slay 666 people in order to regain Judas' humanity...
Obvious flaws in logic and disturbing cross-dressing issues aside, Judas is a very odd manga. The title character is a muscle bound young man (even if he isn't "solid" as such) and looks more like a punk biker than a fallen disciple of our Lord. He has a sadistic streak when it comes to young Eve, who's such a wet blanket it's hard to feel any empathy for the character.
The story so far is a bit confusing. If the object is to slay 666 people, it would be possible to do it by going postal in a shopping mall, but all Judas seems to do is sit around tormenting Eve, and as such there's no feeling of urgency or purpose. The violent and disturbing characters that appear within this entry volume are stumbled across rather than searched out, but future volumes could yet pull the story into focus.
The one common element running throughout the book is the search for Eden, the everlasting paradise beyond mortal life. Those searching for the key are more than just obsessed, they're insane, conducting brutal experiments on innocents, and it's this insanity that sucks both Judas and Eve into a number of bizarre battles.
The artwork is detailed but has a retro quality to it - lots of hulking young men with washboard abs and waif like girls accompanying them, it's an acquired taste.
In all, I have mixed feelings about Judas. It hasn't caught my imagination, and I find the story a bit repellent, but those looking for a supernatural tale involving lots of violence and visceral images may well find that Judas' style suits them perfectly.
Not my bag, but those craving bloody carnage may well like it's darker tone.