Jason Aaron, r.m. Guera, Giulia Brusco, Jared K. Fletcher
With Image Comics putting out new hit IP after new hit IP, comparsions to 90s Vertigo Comics have popped up. For all you younger readers, 90s Vertigo was the business, giving us such excellent comics like Preacher, Sandman, The Invisibles, and some hella fine Hellblazer comics. There were some really groundbreaking titles coming out from the DC imprint, which helped launched the careers of a ton of amazing creators, but what really won over TEEN Chris was the profanity, violence and nudity, aka things I wasn’t seeing in whatever Spider-Clone comic I was buying at the time. TEEN Chris did not have the best logic when it came to buy good comics back then folks, the Joe Kelly Deadpool run aside.
The current Image renaissance has given readers a plethora of wonderful comics, but none of their acclaimed titles really scratched that ultra violence Vertigo itch for me. Oh sure a lot of these titles are arguably better made comics (hi Saga), but sometimes you don’t want a deep, thought provoking comic. Sometimes you just want blood , profanity and a generous helping of profanity.
Thankfully, two creators who have some Vertigo experience under their belts finally published a book through Image that’s exactly what I’m talking about. The Goddamned is the first creator owned worked by superstar writer Jason Aaron and ultra-talented artist r.m. Guera since they wrapped up their acclaim run on Scalped. The Goddamned is a Conan meets The Old Testament type comic, in which Cain, the “man who invented murder” wanders a forsaken planet not unlike Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star. It is a concept that is VERY MUCH my jam,and Jason Aaron should get an award of some sorts just for that bit about Cain inventing murder that I quoted.
The Goddamned is a bizarre high concept book that I was sold on immediately when it was announced this past summer at the Image Expo. It’s been some like 1600 or 1700 years since the fall of Eden, and Cain is forced to walk a truly evil earth as an immortal. This first issue gives us the basic premise, introduces Cain as a lone wolf badass, and gives us a TON of brutal fight scenes. While it’s an extremely violent book, Guera’s style never really glorifies it, and the brutality never got to me thanks to his over the top, animated style. It’s very much in the spirit of Marvel’s old Conan the Barbarian comic, only with a hard R rating.
Jason Aaron’s dialogue would do Preacher-era Garth Ennis proud. There’s some choice dialogue that may offend any religious folk, but it absolutely delighted me. Aaron does not attempt to go with any sort of period accuracy for this book, which is fine, because this dude is at his best when he’s telling revenge stories with a violent lead. And I like how he doesn’t try to justify Cain’s past actions as any given point, which makes me wonder if the book will actually have a likable protagonist as any given point.
The Goddamned was a book I was very much hyped for, and it delivered on ever level. The art from r.m. Guera and colorist Giulia Brusco is ugly in the best ways, and Jason Aaron’s dialogue is Dirty Harry cranked up to 11. It’s the type of comic I missed reading, and final page is some Brian K Vaughan level of cliffhanger. If you don’t mind your comics on the violent side, pick up the Goddamned immediately.