Publisher: Image Comics
Story By: Jason Aaron
Art By: R.M.Guéra, Giulia Brusco
Release Date: 16th December, 2015
After an absolutely stunning debut, Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra’s The Goddamned returns here with the second chapter of its blood, mud and shit-coated biblical epic. Admittedly, the characterisation continues to be fairly light for the time being, with the status of the pre-flood world itself very much taking centre stage for the time being – a wise choice, particularly considering how utterly captivating the environment is. For two issues now, Aaron and Guera have hammered home the brutal, belligerent chaos of this world, leaving us in absolutely no doubt that the impending flood is most definitely the right choice.
This issue centres a lot more around Noah, who we were given a brief glimpse of in the previous issue. Like everyone else in this world, he has a roughness to him, but also possesses a calm, matter-of-fact certainty about just what his true purpose is which borders on chilling at times. Cain also continues his quest for vengeance – or should it be retribution? – and his inner monologue as he wearily fends off one attempt on his life after another gives the book its much-needed anchor as it moves forwards.
Once again though, without wanting to slight Aaron’s work on this title, which is undoubtedly impressive, this is most definitely R.M. Guera’s show, with a thick, visceral aesthetic that leaves you wanting to wash your hands by the time you’ve finally put the issue down. The violence is almost shockingly brutal at times, with limbs and heads being severed indiscriminately and a complete and utter lack of subtlety and finesse to the frequent physical skirmishes. Everything is direct, everything is unfiltered and in your face, and everything works perfectly to enhance the bleak, kill-or-be-killed world that Aaron has recreated.
Guéra also does a truly fantastic job on perhaps the most shocking moment in the entire issue – the releasing of the “dogs” – dedicating a truly disturbing double-page spread to showing just what qualifies as a ‘dog’ in this dark period of biblical history. Credit must also be given to the murky colours of Giulia Brusco, plastering the pages in browns and reds while still managing to keep everything clear and easy to follow.
Once again it’s probably worth clarifying that no, this is not your grandma’s bible story, but for a stark, brutal dose of violence and brutality – along with a truly compelling protagonist who maybe, just maybe, is finally showing a little bit of heart – the Goddamned remains an absolutely essential purchase. Is it too late to add this one to my best books of 2015?
[Click to Enlarge]