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Goddamned, The #4

    Ian Jane

  • Goddamned, The #4

    Goddamned, The #4
    Released by: Image Comics
    Released on: June 1st, 2016.
    Written by: Jason Aaron
    Illustrated by: R.M. Guera
    Purchase From Amazon

    The fourth issue of The Goddamned, again from writer Jason Aaron and illustrator R.M. Guera, continues the series' tradition of opening with a Biblical quote. This time around, it's Jude 1:11:

    “Woe unto them! For they have gone the way of Cain.”

    Cain and Aga did their best to sneak into the Ravagers' camp to save her son, Lodo, from a lifetime of slavery, but at the end of the last issue, they were found out. When this issue begins, Cain is getting the shit kicked out of him, Aga tries to free her firstborn. It doesn't work. Cain comes face to face with a behemoth, someone who can actually make him feel pain… feel anything, and he describes it as 'beautiful.' As they brawl, or more accurately as Cain takes a massive beating, Ada is knocked unconscious from behind.

    Men are crucified. Below them jackals and lions and primates fight over rancid corpse meat. The 'camera' pulls back and we learn that Cain has been nailed to a cross for nine days, yet he has not died. The leader of the Ravagers approaches him, now confident that Cain really is Cain, the man who cursed the world. Cain simply wants the giant to finish the job, but he's assured that his death is coming, just not quite yet. This man tells Cain that he will redeem the world and Cain addresses him as Noah. The Son Of Adam is hacked down from the cross and shown by Noah himself first hand all of the glory for which he is responsible. Never mind the fact that it was done on the broken backs of his slave horde. The camp is above and beyond other settlements, but it's the massive boat still under construction that stands out. Cain again calls out for the giant to kill him but Noah won't even grant him that much - instead he insists that he'll stand and watch the world be washed away, just like all the others.

    Cain is put back up on his cross, and then a small boy named Lodo shows up, tasked with feeding him - a boy Cain recognizes and who he knows he has no real choice but to help.

    Cain's anger is a righteous one in its own way. As he blasphemes his way through his conversations with Noah we get a better understanding of why he's so mad at God - if we were all made in His image, is he not just as much at fault for our sins as any other factor? Noah will hear none of it, of course, as he feels he and his family are blessed by God himself and found worthy to start the new world he's so very much looking forward to being a part of. The war of wills that erupts between the two men in this issue is very well written. It's not the physical side of what Noah does to Cain that impresses here so much as it is the back and forth, the differing worldviews that the two men hold, each shaped by his own experiences and thoughts on the merit and value of their respective Creator. Throwing the violence and torture that's a part of this story is the easy part -it's the high concept theological murmurings that stick in your craw when you get to the last page. There aren't a lot of other comics around that can make that claim. The Goddamned is a rare bird indeed, but really, such a satisfying read.

    R.M. Guera's artwork has been stunning since the first page of the first issue and this issue, thankfully, continues that trend. His pencil work is complemented in horrifyingly beautiful ways by Giulia Brusco's coloring work - the series is absolutely epic in its look and in its highly detailed visuals. There's nothing else like this out there, this series is really treading new ground in fascinating ways.

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