Graphic Novel Guest Review 83/365: The Goddamned

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days!  Or hit up #GN365 on Twitter.

The NSFW Image Guest Review Weekend keeps on coming, and ends today with Adan Alvarado’s review of The Goddamned!

Title: The Goddamned 

Author(s): Jason Aaron and r.m. Guera

Publisher: Image (2015)

Age Rating: Adult

Each chapter of The Goddamned begins with a tone setting verse from the book of Genesis. This is after all a series about Cain, and his path to… redemption? The series opens shortly before the Deluge, and introduces Cain as the immortal, drunken, violent, inventor of murder. He lives a nomadic existence roaming a rapidly decaying earth he had a hand in creating. Each day is spent searching for a way to make it his last. He fights Leviathans, and searches for Nephilims, and just when he finds one, he has a change of heart.

On the flipside of Cain is Noah, God’s loyal and chosen servant. Noah is a man so sure of he and his family’s lot as divine representatives that he finds no irony in preaching about the malevolent impact of sins, while allowing dogs to tear the limbs off the sinners. Noah is not in the business of compassion; he’s in the business of retribution. Noah exists as a not so subtle , but necessary literary foil to Cain. If readers are going to root for a selfish and cold protagonist, the righteous antagonist has to be a real dick.

I’ll be the first to admit that the road The Goddamned seems to be headed down is not all that inspiring or original, but the vehicle we’re traveling in has enough gizmos and gadgets to keep us entertained. The dialogue is blunt, gratuitous, and effective. Cain is not only the inventor of murder but the perfector of blasphemy. Aaron has Cain spouting water down points of Calvinism one minute, and calling God a “cunt” the next. Just as it has before, Guera’s work compliments Aaron’s direct approach through reciprocity. Many of the panels are messy, violent, and perfectly capture the depravity of a fallen species.

The word I’d used to describe The Goddamned is juxtaposition: chaos and calm, violence and compassion, faith and doubt. Aaron uses this juxtaposition beautifully to point out some contemporary societal flaws. At one point in the third chapter Adam and Eve stand just outside of Eden with their two healthy children overlooking a beautiful and lush landscape. Yet, the two can’t see all that they have; they can only hate each other, for what they have lost.

-Adan Alvarado

Thanks for the review, Adan!  I have not read The Goddamned, but it sounds a lot like the dark trips I liked to take with Dexter or Walter White.  Looking forward to reading it!

Happy reading!

Eric

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