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Goddamned, The #1

    Ian Jane

  • Goddamned, The #1

    The Goddamned #1
    Released by: Image Comics
    Released on: November 11th, 2015.
    Written by: Jason Aaron
    Illustrated by: R.M. Guera
    Purchase From Amazon

    Jason Aaron's latest creator owned comic to be published through Image Comics opens with a quote from Genesis 6:5-16 that says:

    “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the Earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on Earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”

    We cut from this cheery scripture quote to a wasteland we're told is 'Somewhere on the edge of the desert.' Carcasses of both animal and man rot in the hot sun while a one-armed boy pisses off of a rock precipice. This is 1600 years after Eden. The garden was a long time ago indeed, it would seem. This place is a shithole.

    The boy's piss lands in the dirt, and under the dirt where it lands is a man who wakes up, none too pleased about how he's been stirred from his slumber but happy to be alive regardless, if completely confused about where he is and why. He tells the boy 'I was drunk. That's the last thing I remember.' Turns out this kid knows more about things than the man - the man showed up and tried to buy fire but his lack of scares was a red flag to the Bone Boys who cut his throat and left him for dead. When the kid asks him 'Why you don't got no scars?' the man tells him 'Because God's a fucking asshole, that's why.' Aaron isn't mixing words here, this is pretty rough, challenging stuff. Then the man tells the kid to stay out of the village until the screaming stops.

    Our stranger, still as naked as a jaybird, strolls on into the village where the Bone Boys are drinking the 'strong water' they stole from him, and he starts busting heads. He kills one of them and then in typical pack style, the others set upon him. There's a massive brawl, and once the man has killed everyone he needs to kill, he gets the rest of his belongings, clothes himself, eats and then sets on his way. He tells the boy to leave. The boys asks to come along with him, but is told no.

    As 'our hero' strolls through the wasteland his internal narration tells us how his parents were born to a perfect garden but how they were kicked out after only a few weeks. Vultures swarm in and pick the flesh off of bones. We learn how he and his brother came along and that, for a while, they were a family… until he got as angry as he is. In fact, his brother made him so angry that he killed him. Since then? Things have gone to Hell and he's walked the Earth, or what's left of it, for 1600 years cursing God in every way he can searching for something that can end the curse of Cain, the man who invented murder.

    R.M. Guera's artwork shows a very heavy early Barry Windsor-Smith influence, but it doesn't really ape that style so much as it does channel its beautiful ferocity. There are elements of Frank Miller's work on 300 mixed in here too. Not only does it work, it works beautifully. Aaron's script, using The Bible as its basis for the savagery that it depicts, pulls no punches and Guera's style has an appropriately chaotic look to it that at the same time offers up some gorgeously rendered 'wide angle' shots that really open up the book in a big way. While this first issue focuses on only a few characters, there's a huge scope to what's unfolding here and without the right sort of illustrative style in place to depict that this could have backfired and come across as nothing more than an exercise in blasphemy. Thankfully that's not the case. Not that blasphemy doesn't factor into the story, it does - this is a book called The Goddamned after all and it is about a man rejected by God - but even this early on in the run you get the definite impression that we're working towards something more than just a bloody, nasty rehash of the story of Cain and Able.

    What exactly that is remains to be seen but there's every reason in the world but there's every reason in the world to have faith in the creative team behind this. Giulia Brusco's colors complement the illustrations perfectly and together the three people who have brought this story to light have managed to create a world of horrible beauty. It's not somewhere you'd want to live, but, so far, it's a fascinating place to visit.

    In addition to the story proper this forty page first issue also features a few pages of Guera's character sketches. Issue #2 comes out December 16th and you're God damned right (ha!) we'll be first in line for that one.

    • Andrew Monroe
      Andrew Monroe
      Pallid Hands
      Andrew Monroe commented
      Editing a comment
      This hooked me just enough to see what happens next issue. I like the concept - or what I can gather it is so far - I can't see Aaron going shock and blasphemy for cheap thrills...I have faith (ha!). Oh, who am I kidding...I just wanted to say to the comic store clerk, "Add The Goddamned to my pull."

    • Ian Jane
      Ian Jane
      Ian Jane commented
      Editing a comment
      Aaron's building towards something more than just shock value, I agree. This is off to a really interesting start and I loved the artwork.
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