It has been four months since the last issue of this series, a wait that’s been especially difficult to endure since issue #5 contains the conclusion! It’s here this week–is it good?
The Goddamned #5 (Image Comics)
So what’s it about? The full summary reads:
“Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed.” Genesis 9:6
Why does this book matter?
We spoke to writer Jason Aaron a little over a year ago about this series, a series set in the old Biblical world, with Cain as the protagonist. His plan is to tell many different stories using different characters and if this first arc is any indication it plays around with what is said in the Bible both literally and figuratively. Almost told like a Western, Aaron is working with artist R.M.Guéra who helps to render a very hopeless, graphically violent and depressing world.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Way to not be excited kid.
If you like your comics with a heavy dose of mayhem you’ve come to the right place. As far as climactic endings go, this issue delivers plenty of action, violence, and satisfying conclusions. Aaron has been reminding us humanity is a vile and awful species that’s more monster than man as we like to think of it. This issue is an emphatic exclamation point on this idea with plenty of killing and awful truths revealed.
Even though there was a four-month gap between this issue and the last, the general entertainment and story was never lost. Aaron does a good job reminding us of Cain’s opinion of humanity quite well. The conclusion is emphatically clear and suits the story arc.
Cain continues to be a compelling character who went from reluctant hero to a guy wanting to do the right thing. That involves a lot of killing in this issue, but also a confrontation with Noah (yeah, that Noah) that readers won’t want to miss. Aaron continues to play with the idea of Cain’s powers and how they work and also how a tale like this may be how Noah’s Ark really ended. Cain’s hopelessness is infectious due to the anarchy around him, but also how the very acts of this story arc add up by the end. His argument from the very beginning has been negative questioning why anyone should bother with a God who doesn’t care or listen. Anyone who doubted Cain will most likely agree after this issue, which in effect helps flesh out this very brutal and depressing look back on Biblical stories.
Guéra’s art is dark, moody, graphic, and easy to follow. The detail is impressive, from skulls scattered about to dagger wielding baddies running around in the backgrounds. The actual Ark is interesting too, more like endless boards than a boat, conveying the trap Cain is in. Backgrounds in general are well rendered with plenty of detail right down to the dirt Cain stands on. The enemies he faces are monster-like too, with boils and grotesque faces peering out of strange masks. Guilia Brusco’s colors add a lot to the art, particularly the blues used later in the issue that do well to remind us the atmosphere is sad and depressing.
It’s hard to shake the feeling that he’s Wolverine…but way more sad!
It can’t be perfect can it?
Since most of this story is action packed violence there isn’t much character work going on. That makes the experience lighter for those looking for more development of Cain which is exasperated by the ending which seems to repeat more than anything else.
The story ends and while the resolution (or the lack thereof anyway) is fitting, I ponder what comes next. Cliffhangers are great to entice and increase anticipation, but there really isn’t anything to go on after this issue. Given the delay I’m not even sure we’ll get another issue so fans might be even more doubtful there will be more after this. That said, the story concludes nicely and you can’t ask for much more than that, right?
Is It Good?
The Goddamned is brutally violent, delivering mayhem, hopelessness, and despair in a package one should relish.