By Jason Aaron, R.M. Guéra & Giulia Brusco
The team from the Vertigo Comics’ classic Scalped work together again to bring a fresh and haunting biblical story with The Goddamned. Set 1600, years after the creation of Eden, Earth has become a hive of scum and villainy. The land and its resources are ravaged and scarce. A naked man wakes up in filth and sets out to retrieve what has been taken from him. As the issue progresses, Aaron and Guéra reveal that this particular man, of course, is far more than what he appears…
Lately, audiences have been exposed to stark, gritty reinterpretations of famous Bible tales (Noah, Exodus: Gods and Kings) with varied success. This creative team looks to create a narrative within the gaps of these stories. The grandeur of some of those accounts is not lost on Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra; they take what they’re creating and give it a Conan-esque sensibility that really gives the material an edge (no pun intended). The man who appears to be the main protagonist is given this issue to show that he is a haunted, deep character who is not to be taken lightly. Once his identity is revealed, it’s so satisfying that it will hook readers for the second issue. Of course, it definitely helps if one is familiar with the Bible and its contents.
Guéra takes the time to really paint a bleak picture of this world. He depicts very detailed, expansive backgrounds and settings that honestly convey how much man has ruined their Eden through their sins. Giulia Brusco’s color work heightens that theme/tone. It’s beautifully disgusting. R.M. seems to be tapping into a bit of Frank Miller, in particular, Ronin comes to mind when reading this comic. This issue also exhibits how well Guéra is able to illustrate action and slow sequences. He maintains a strong kinetic pace that doesn’t let readers catch their breath until the payoff panels/pages. Brusco makes sure that every panel is visible and necessary; no detail is lost and readers can follow seamlessly.
Without a doubt, The Goddamned is a fascinating comic book with a lot of potential. Image continues to take chances and diversify the type of stories they publish. This is definitely not a comic for a young readers, so please be aware of that. With that caveat in mind, this is definitely one of the highlights for this week. Go pick it up!