Review: The Goddamned #3

Having a kid changes you. And I don’t just mean because, all of a sudden, you’re beset by all manner of responsibility (although that is definitely part of it). In the context of an entertainment review, what having a child does is make you more tender, your nerves rawer and exposed. It makes you more penetrable, and less objective to, say, a sad story about family. I used to be impervious to such things. But now? After having a child of my own? Totally pervious. In a way, that idea of family, that connection to it, is what lies at the heart of The Goddamned #3 (though admittedly reversed). This book is, after all, a redemption tale about the world’s first murderer: the cursed Cain. And in this issue, wherein we see him helping a mother who has lost her son to the roving packs of the biblical (yet decidedly more dastardly) Noah, while also remembering his own troubled upbringing, we see the true beginnings of his reclamation of humanity. And at its epicenter: Family. I feel you, bro.

I was cool on this series when I first started it, but true to form, Jason Aaron has turned my mind around. Yes, some of that has to do with how much of a sucker I am these days for any story involving a parent/child dynamic, but also because it has actually made me rethink about my perception of The Flood (itself a story about parents and children, really). Even after years of Christian indoctrina.... er... education, I never understood why Yahweh would want to wash the earth clean of his “greatest” creation (humanity). Now I kinda get it.

The-Goddamned-#3-1I mentioned in my last review that, after reading The Goddamned #2, I felt like taking a shower. And now I can’t believe I didn’t see the correlation. In the Old Testament stories, God must have felt the same way; hence, the flood. What this all means is that the creative team of this book has succeeded in a way where years and years of Catholic education failed. Thanks, comics! Someone should let the churches know about this book to properly illustrate what a godless world can truly look like. Maybe if I read this, I wouldn’t now believe it all to be such silly (if well-told) hokum.

In more ways than one, then, the Goddamned team is doing the lord’s work. Aaron, for his part, makes every inch of this world compelling, from the sniping Adam and Eve at its start, to the inevitable conflict teased at issue’s end. And as ever, he proves a master of relationships, able to spin a genuinely new twist on a pseudo-religious mythos with gory, disgusting vim; such that this story is actually affecting, for the first time in years. Of course, The Goddamned wouldn’t be able to accomplish this without the wanton brutality conveyed in Guéra’s art and Brusco’s colors.

What a palatial vista of scum they have conspired to construct here. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a book so stained and tainted by its story. It’s an aesthetic that bleeds right to the lettering, provided here by Jared K. Fletcher. Even the words of this world are expressed as a rough patchwork; a hissed gargle, like language itself has been poisoned by the cancerous, undulating muck of its forsaken people.

My about-face on The Goddamned continues after this issue, thanks to a combined visual and narrative style that evokes its story better than the source material. Which is the fucking bible, by the way.

Score: 4/5

The Goddamned #3 Writer: Jason Aaron Artist: r.m. Guéra Colorist: Giulia Brusco Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/24/16 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital