According to the Bible, it’s all Cain’s fault for inventing murder. He gets credit for committing the first one and he had the gall to do it to his brother. God punished him making him wander the Earth, forever alone. The story ends there, but what if it didn’t? Writer Jason Aaron explores that in this new series: The Goddamned.
The Goddamned #1 (Image Comics)
The book opens 1,600 years “after Eden” which is a compelling start to say the least. There’s really no way to know when this is taking place since we don’t know when Eden started, but it’s safe to say this story is very old—like, ‘before cities of any kind formed’ kind of old. That gives the book an atmosphere that’s chaotic and unruly, like the wild wild west.
Why does this comic book matter?
I’ve read somewhere in the early days humans lived very long—like 900 years long—at least according to The Bible. That makes our protagonist quite old, quite invincible and a superhero in his own right by my guess. So you’re telling me this story is delivering a Biblical superhero and it’s written by the very hot (Star Wars, anyone?) Jason Aaron? Sign me up.
What’s more awful about this time period: the shit pools or the kids with filthy mouths?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This comic is unabashed about showing the protagonist fully nude whilst killing and maiming with impunity, so there’s that. As far as the writing goes, to say this is a quick read is subjective—there certainly isn’t a ton of dialogue, as much of the issue is action. That makes this an action packed extravaganza! The fight sequences are well choreographed too and fun to read as some unconventional weapons are used—axes and the like—to murder and hack.
Who doesn’t like a self-hating hero who’s also incredibly good at fighting? Like Martin Riggs from Lethal Weapon, the protagonist is miserable but very good at what he does, which sets up an intriguing protagonist to enjoy. He almost loafs through the issue taking every step wishing he were dead, always knowing God hates him, but he continues on anyway.
The world we’re exploring is horrific, strange and interesting. I’m not a Bible expert, but I know there were monsters in that book and it appears Aaron is sparing no expense at showing the horrors of a world still teeming with them. Rotting bodies being picked apart by vultures seem to be so common nobody bats an eyelash at them. Hell, the protagonist literally wakes up in a pool of shit to start the story. If there were ever a symbolic message about this world and its character’s place in it, that is it.
Those elements work well, plus for a comic with a lot of action there appears to be a lot going on. This is partly due to artist R.M. Guera creating a cinematic feel throughout. The story unfolds very fluidly, with great pace and when you step back and look at the entire page, it’s composed as if to be viewed as a whole. Guera’s style reminds me of Eduardo Risso’s work on 100 Bullets as it’s thickly inked to give every character and location a dark, seedy side. Giuilia Brusco’s color, meanwhile, pops in the eyes, especially since much of the setting is cast in browns and yellows to show how desolate the Earth has become.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Anyone who has a problem with nudity should probably steer clear of this as our protagonist lets his penis fly most of the first quarter of the book.
There’s a lot of violence and while I didn’t find a problem with how long it runs it does take up a majority of the comic. That said, its purpose is to show a side of our character as we hardly know him when the blood starts flying.
Almost as bad as The Gap.
Is It Good?
It has the sensibilities of a western, the action of a kung fu movie and a mysterious protagonist you’ll be dying to learn more about. Look for it in comic book stores and Comixology November 11th.