In the beginning (well…not that far back) God said let there be Comics. And there are, and they are good.
An exceptionally good comic is Book-of-Genesis-inspired The Goddamned, the new Image series by Scalped creators Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera. With issue #3 about to arrive, now is the time to climb aboard this story “ark” for what promises to be a Revelation-ary ride of biblical proportions.
So, why should you be reading it? Here are three goddamned-good reasons:
#1: The creative team. ‘Nuff said.
With their five-year run together on Scalped, this team has demonstrated an unshakeable ability to work to one another’s strengths, creating stories and characters of substance.
Man-with-the-golden-pen Jason Aaron is on a roll these days; rather, he’s continuing a roll begun nearly a decade ago with his 2007 Eisner-nominated Vietnam War miniseries The Other Side. And, his recent work on Star Wars and Southern Bastards is some of the best in the industry. He shows no sign of slowing down: his gift for grit and full-tilt storytelling style are in full effect on The Goddamned.
R.M. Guera’s art is simply incredible. His landscapes echo the cinematic sweep of Moebius, while battle scenes crunch and bleed with kinetic action. Every panel is rich with detail, giving depth to the world and making the story come alive on the page – bolstered in no small part by the exquisite coloring of Giulia Brusco.
Overall, it’s Guera’s ability to set the narrative pace and tell the story visually, allowing Aaron to use words minimally and to great effect. These guys are in-synch on this title like a pair of beasts-of-burden fleeing the Flood.
#2: Let’s face it: the Bible – the Old Testament in particular – is epic storytelling at its best.
Full of violence, moral quandary, catastrophe, and the fundamental Manichaean battle between light and dark, the Old Testament is a well-spring of strong and exciting plot material. But, The Goddamned is no mere re-telling of the Genesis story – issue #1 opens with the protagonist rising from a shit-pond after a night of hard drinking!
The series promises to take readers into a new way of imagining the tales we’ve all known since Sunday School, and it will no doubt continue to overflow with Hobbesian nastiness and brutishness. Here’s hoping it’s not also short.
#3: The Goddamned is an ancient allegory of the Modern World.
Beneath The Goddamned’s primal veneer, there is something deeper at work. Cain’s fabled fratricide results in him being cursed by God with immortality; and, he’s then condemned to wander the hellish post-Eden world, seeking a way to undue this divine justice – in other words, to die. His quest leads him through the darkest nights of the human soul, forced to bear witness to the ugliness brought about by his own hand.
Aaron and Guera seem to use this as an allegory for our current world: a suffering planet ripping itself apart and becoming uglier by the day due to the sins of humankind. In essence, we are all the goddamned; and this series could be, at heart, a warning for us to examine both ourselves and the world we’ve created, to think about holding ourselves accountable for our own fall from grace.
Hollywood has tried, with varying degrees of success, to bring the Bible to Pop Culture, to make it “hip”. Perhaps this is to capitalize on those American movie-goers whose backsides warm church pews as well as theater seats. Yet, the results have ranged from the heavy-handed (The Passion of the Christ), the campy (Jesus Christ Superstar) to the overly bombastic (Noah).
Aaron, Guera, and company may have found the keys to the kingdom, however. They’re having fun with this millenia-old tale and telling it in a fresh and exciting way. They strip away the layers of dogma and the soul-saving agenda, and instead reduce the Good Book to the bare bones of what it really is – a damned-good story.
So, skip the sermon on Sundays. Stay home and read The Goddamned instead.
The Goddamned #3 hits comics stores on February 24, 2016.