Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra’s The Goddamned is back after a brief break. The good thing is that the book is absolutely worth it. It’s brutal, ugly, and in a completely contradictory way, absolutely beautiful.
The story of Cain in the Biblical times of horror continues, and in no way is this book for the faint of heart. It’s foul, both in language and content, and there is nothing hopeful about the state of the world. Cain seems to be the only person worth their salt in the world, and despite his thoughts to the contrary, he probably is.
Aaron is a stellar writer and is absolutely proving it in ways I’ve never seen him do before. This book is crushingly bleak in a way that is a total delight. The world is something that would make George Miller’s Mad Max feel bright, and despite that, there is a lot to love. Cain’s beginnings as the first child in the new world, the offspring of Adam and Eve, is one that is well known, but it’s obviously not as beautiful and light as some versions of this story would make you believe.
Guéra’s art is dark, rough and gorgeous, with deep and haunting colors, lots of shadows, and some real ugly mugs. There are some spots of brightness in the story, and the art depicts this appropriately, but the dark, gritty parts are where the book really makes its mark. There’s something about a story so well known, so influential, and a part of the basis for something so beloved being so harsh that really creates something special.
It’s pretty obvious that some religious issues are being worked out here, and while that’s not always pretty, it is very important. This isn’t a pretty book in the typical way. The lines are rough in portions, the colors are muted and heavily shadowed, but that’s exactly how it should be.
The Goddamned is not an easy read, but it’s one that makes you want more after each issue. Sharp, impactful, and full of very colorful language and sequences, it’s not a book that should be overlooked.