Did we want a gritty reboot of the Book of Genesis?
Well, that may not be what this is, but The Goddamned from Image imagines a world in the early chapters of that first book of the Bible, and it ain’t a pretty place to be. There’s an apocalypse coming, and the guy best prepping for it isn’t exactly a saint for this first book subtitled Before the Flood.
The Goddamned combines a sort of stone age society with the worst aspects of human behavior and a few characters taken straight from the Bible. The protagonist is Cain, AKA the first murderer. He’s been marked by God to walk the Earth, unable to die. And he wants to die very, very badly. He’s tried every method he can think of, from letting enemies slaughter him to jumping into a volcano. Nothing works. He’s been wandering the Earth for 1,600 years and hating every second of it. It’s not hard to see why. Every other human on the planet is a barbaric monster from the looks of things. Casual murder, war, cannibalism, rape, and any other crime you care to think of seems to be going on wherever he goes. And he doesn’t mind dispensing lethal moves of his own if he has to. And since he’s been cursed by God, Cain doesn’t have a kind word to say about the Earth’s creator.
And then we get to Noah. Yeah, he’s gathering two of every animal he can find. Yeah, he’s building an ark in the middle of the desert and says there’s a flood coming. He’s also a religious zealot with an army of slaves and ravagers who doesn’t seem to put much stock on most human life either. If Cain is the hero of this book, so far Noah (or God) is the villain.
The idea here is the Earth is headed towards its first apocalypse, namely the Flood, and the bad behavior everywhere may be the result of Cain’s curse for inventing murder. Writer Jason Aaron and artist r.m. Guera have created a rather awful-looking world, where there isn’t much in the way of civilization, and the one thing that sets Noah above most people is he has iron tools and weapons to everyone else’s stone. This is a world that probably deserves to be washed away, and Cain works as the moral center not because he’s a good man but because he sees how bad everyone around him is. The closest the book comes to humor may be a flashback to Cain’s childhood as it depicts Adam and Eve as two people sniping at each other like a long-suffering sitcom married couple, but when plant life itself isn’t really coming up as needed, maybe the world needs an ending. We’ll have to see where Cain’s journey takes him. Nine out of ten memories of a mother’s love.