This week a new edition of the biblically epic The Goddamned comes out and since I missed out on singing its praises the first time, I’m grateful to have a second chance to do so now. “And the earth was filled with violence,” (Genesis 6:11). This is the quote the book like to use and boy, does it undersell what kind of a world the reader enters into. 1,655 years after human beings have been expelled from Eden and the world is devolving into a Hell of its own making! The original sinner wanders the world looking for an elusive death but all he’s finding are people crying out for a savior or tearing each other apart. His name is Cain and he created murder.
Life before the Flood is a rough one. Cain’s punishment for killing his brother is to live, possibly, forever. But now Cain has a line on a way to get to the afterlife. And then Noah and his flock of fanatics come along preaching the world’s first apocalypse, killing everyone who stands in their way and using their bones to help build an Ark that will save God’s chosen. Will Cain step aside and let the world drown or will he succumb to the please of the suffering and tackle this crazy bearded guy and his followers?
Jason Aaron is no stranger to bold and brutal storytelling. You can see it in his stories about crime within insulated communities like Southern Bastards and Scalped (both masterpieces of the genre). And he’s certainly got a way with fantastical sagas dealing with otherworldy deities (*Cough* Thor *Cough*). This feels like the perfect mash up for of the writing he’s grown into. A character-driven Old Testament crime tale with apocalyptic repercussions at stake. The fact he’s joined by one of his best collaborators, R.M. Guera is all the better, as the superstar artists brings the muck, mud, and brutality to the page in vibrant fashion.
The Goddamned is a must-read, no matter your palate and no matter your faith. Because at the end of the day it’s about doing the right thing even if the world’s going to end tomorrow.