Review - The Goddamned #1 (@ImageComics)

"And the earth was filled with violence."

Citizens of Earth are a violent people at times. Sure, there's the capacity for goodness in all of us, but that doesn't stop some from taking advantage of those weaker than them. The Goddamned #1 from Image Comics imagines a world with brutal warriors imposing their will in blatant ignorance of the one warrior who can stop them. The issue is written by Jason Aaron, illustrated by R.M. Guéra, colored by Giulia Brusco and lettered by Jared K. Fletcher.

It's 1,655 years after Eden and life on Earth has already gone to hell. The world of man is a place of wanton cruelty and wickedness. Prehistoric monsters and stone-age marauders roam the land. Murder and destruction are the rule of the day. Humankind is a failed experiment. This is life before the Flood. The story of man on the verge of his first apocalypse. Welcome to the world of the Goddamned.

The fall of man isn't really a surprising concept when it comes to fiction, but focusing on the fall after that of Eden is pretty inventive. Aaron tells the tale through the eyes of Cain and Noah, both of whom rely on their reputations in history as the driving forces behind their decision-making. Both characters are essentially unhinged warriors, struggling against the odds of survival with a reckless abandon. The majority of the issue follows those two in setting the stage for the remainder of the series and that stage is nothing if not violent. There's very much an approach taken by Aaron that flaunts the presence of God as he relates to Cain and Noah, with Cain content to embrace a violent lifestyle that essentially makes it a sport to take God's name in vain.

Guéra's visuals are pretty haunting in a very visceral way. Cain is illustrated completely nude in parts of the book, but he never feels vulnerable because of that. The other characters prevalent in his world are reminiscent of cavemen, their savage appearance accented by dangling eyeballs, skulls and bones of presumably previous victims. There's a madness in the inhabitants of the would that Guéra conveys through contorted facial expressions and exaggerated body movements, underscoring the lawlessness of the world after the fall of paradise. Brusco peppers reds and pinks throughout that bolster the violence of Cain's world, even as he acknowledges his role as a murderer.

Cain inhabits a truly lawless and violent world in The Goddamned #1 akin to that of the wild west style colony settled on a forgotten planet in the far reaches of space. The title of the book is fitting on multiple levels and reminds the reader that not everyone affiliated with God is blessed. Aaron's script is aggressive and angry, carrying Cain through a wasteland of inhabitants content with killing. Guéra's illustrations empower this narrative, as even Noah bears the look of a grizzled warrior with a clear nod to Vikings for inspiration. The Goddamned #1 is a very tightly written book that delivers its message via a very gory hellscape.

The Goddamned #1 is in stores now.