Sometimes a series requires a few issues to really understand what the creators are going for. I was lucky enough to pick Jason Aaron’s brain and learn this series was created to be an epic that goes on for quite some time while introducing some familiar biblical characters along the way. This isn’t Cain’s story alone, but right now he’s the main protagonist.
So far he’s carried the story well — but can he continue to do so in this third issue?
The Goddamned #3 (Image Comics)
This series opened with Cain waking up in a pool of human feces. He pulled himself out and proceeded to kill anyone who walked into his path. He wants to die but can’t due to God banishing him to walk the Earth forever. Though he has a cold heart it opened for a woman who lost her son, a son who was captured and made a slave in Noah’s traveling band. Following this band, Cain has set out to save this woman’s child.
Why does this book matter?
Jason Aaron has been on fire when it comes to basically every series he’s written and this is yet another. The mythical nature of the story is right there on the page, but so is an epic quality that would make Charlton Heston jealous. Meanwhile artist R.M. Guéra has matched Aaron’s quality and kept the action high paced and the scope larger than life. Fitting for a comic based on biblical characters.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Opening with two very well known characters we haven’t yet seen in this series is a bold move. I won’t spoil it but they are biggies from the Bible. Even more bold is how they speak: like a bitter, married couple who despise one another, which is at once surprising and exciting. Jason Aaron is in a sense rewriting characters we thought we knew and his take on them is intriguing. Religious folks might be upset, but it shows you in a few panels how far he’ll be able to take this series.
Cain is looking haunting here.
Meanwhile Cain’s story continues to progress. Though he may have killed Abel and created murder in this world he’s not such a bad guy. He’s bitter and angry, but who wouldn’t be after wandering the Earth never to die? He’s mostly interacting with the woman who lost her child and while she’s desperate and upset she’s also got an edge to her Cain that respects. As they talk–and at first Cain is reluctant to do so–you can see a bit of human interaction reminds him we aren’t all so bad.
Noah’s band gets a bit more time in this issue as well and damn are they monstrous. Sure, they have cages of animals just like in the original tale, but they also feed said animals humans they’ve enslaved. God’s chosen one is a real monster. Plus, not only do they make children feed the animals, but they look grotesque and inhuman in appearance as well. Aaron and Guéra are doing a lot to make you hate these characters and in effect make you want to see Cain destroy them.
Speaking of Guéra, this issue looks just as fantastic as the previous issues. There’s a lot of both humanizing and dehumanizing going on with Cain (for instance where Guéra casts him in haunting shadows). He’s a ghost in a sense and you can see that throughout the issue. Meanwhile there are creatures and beasts that are so much fun to look at. They’re things of nightmares, like the Night Riders who have green eyes and look like goblins riding some type of camel. There’s a lot of imagery in this issue that solidly shows a humanity that probably shouldn’t be allowed to keep on living.
Creepy monsters. But what are they riding?!
It can’t be perfect can it?
The pace is top notch, there are new monstrosities revealed and we continue to see a world not worth living in. Sounds like a win all around!
Is It Good?
Never boring but always haunting, exciting, surprising or all three at once. The Goddamned is why we read comics: there are no limits as story and chances dance on a razor’s edge.