I have been patiently awaiting Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra’s The Goddamned follow up since 2016. That day has finally come, as Image Comics releases The Goddamned: The Virgin Brides #1. This is a series set in in Biblical times based on Bible stories, but with a much darker underbelly (or right on brand, depending on your interpretation of the Bible). Aaron and Guéra show us a world that is ruthless, barbaric, and slightly fantastical. I recommend checking out my interview with Jason Aaron about the first miniseries to gather what he’s after.
Before reading this book, I recommend piecing together what tale it’s working from in the Bible in Genesis 6:4. “…the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men. And they bore children to them…” It’s the time before Noah’s arc and the great flood and a community of people are attempting to make a new Eden. They are “rearing their flock of orphaned girls to embrace their future as blessed Brides of the Sons of God.” Knowing only this, I dropped myself into this book and was immersed in another world where empathy was lost and tradition was holy sacrosanct. It’s a real trip.
The book is absorbing, making you forget the outside world for a few minutes as you try to piece together what is going in new Eden. It opens on a virgin girl literally hours after finding her womanhood, about to be wed. She is excited, although everyone around her treats this expected day as if it’s a job to get over with. As she walks amongst warrior women to meet her husband, dread sets in. It’s an element of this issue that happens a few times. You begin to gather what Aaron is up to, and hope whatever the character faces is something they can come back from. Often, however, they do not.
This issue is filled with nightmares, twisted ideas, and a sense that culture and society were incredibly evil and dark at one time. There are visuals and ideas here that are fiction, of course, but the general feel of this older time without law and general empathy for one another is believable.
Guéra’s art helps solidify that. His rendering of these characters and the environment is incredible. His lines are certain and it’s clear from every panel and the incredible detail he puts into them this is a master at work. The style and layout design are also quite European bringing the attention of detail to things most artists gloss over or don’t have time to render at all. The use of color by Giulia Brusco is quite good too, especially in the nightmare scene, with some strong uses of blood that convey the symbolic nature of womanhood. The art is a big reason why this book is hard to put down. Even with horrors on the page, you won’t want to tear your eyes away from them. Letters by Jared K. Fletcher have a handwritten look that is slightly like scripture in nature, suiting the Biblical nature of the tale.
An absorbing, enlightening, and darkly written tale about a brutal world where pleasantries and justice do not exist. The Goddamned is a series that continues to be highly interesting though so dark I suspect most should pick the right time to read it. If you’re open to exploring something entirely new, dark, and thoroughly rich, I recommend this wholeheartedly.
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