Published on November 11th, 2015 | by Noel Thorne0
The Goddamned #1 Review
Oh HELL. YES. Jason Aaron and RM Guera, the creative team behind the comics masterpiece Scalped, reuniting for a new series at Image? Are you kidding me?! Sold, a thousand times… And yet. How I wish I could say I loved the first issue of The Goddamned unreservedly but I can’t. It’s pretty good although I was expecting so much more and maybe that was the problem?
Set 1600 years after Eden (meaning after Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden by God), the world has turned to shit. For their son Cain, his world is literally that as we’re introduced to him face down unconscious in a shitty pond with a kid peeing on his head! The Bone Boys left him there for dead not realising he’s immortal – now it’s their turn to eat shit and die as Cain brings them the fury of the man who invented murder!
I didn’t like The Goddamned’s premise of a gritty Biblical drama that much. I recently read Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel and Niko Henrichon’s unimpressive Noah comic and to my dismay found The Goddamned had a similar kind of approach; namely a dark and grimy Mad Max-esque world populated with atavistic humans aka “this ain’t yer granpappy’s Bible!”. Oh boy.
The difference is that The Goddamned’s protagonist is Cain while Noah’s was, duh, Noah. The former of which is a more interesting choice as Cain’s not tied down, not to mention a killer, leading to a more violent and exciting narrative. But it’s still heading in a similar direction – the title of this first arc (yukyuk) is called Before the Flood so you can guess what’s in store for this blighted world.
The characterisation is a bit simplistic – Cain is mad as hell and that’s it! – and the story is a bit one-dimensional too as Cain simply murders his way through the issue. A similar criticism could be levelled at Scalped #1 when we first meet Dash Bad Horse and look at how that series turned out – hopefully The Goddamned will become as remarkable too.
The Biblical subject matter couldn’t be less interesting and, disappointingly, it looks like Aaron’s going to work through these well-worn old stories with just a few variations on the familiar. Maybe if I were interested in Biblical stories I’d enjoy The Goddamned more but still Aaron doesn’t do much with the material to make me care anyway.
RM Guera’s artwork is as strong as it ever was though the vision is perhaps a bit lacking. The wasteland looks like any other and the character designs are one step up from generic cavemen. He draws a near-wordless, brilliant 8 page fight sequence though – Guera is a master with action.
The Goddamned #1 isn’t a bad comic but given the creative team’s past triumphs, it’s a bit underwhelming. I wasn’t offended by the religious or violent angles, I just expected a bit more than seeing Aaron and Guera turn the Biblical story of Cain into a mediocre action comic along the lines of Conan the Barbarian. However, because of Scalped, I’m willing to stick around, give these guys the benefit of the doubt and see how the series develops. The Goddamned could be a goddamned masterpiece in the making but this first issue ain’t goddamn convincing enough.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: RM Guera
Colourist: Giulia Brusco