Summary

An unsettling and unrelenting first issue of this sequel series that is worthy of its predecessor.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Writing/Plot
Pencils/Inks
Colors
Lettering

Review: THE GODDAMNED: VIRGIN BRIDES #1 – You Can’t Trust A Matchmaker

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Writer Jason Aaron and artist R.M. Guera return with the sequel to their acclaimed mini-series “The Goddamned” with “The Goddamned: Virgin Brides” #1. Along with colorist Giulia Brusco and letters from Jared Fletcher, this first issue offers every bit of the unflinching brutality of its predecessor – while perhaps starting out a bit smarter. With an intense, gripping narrative and fantastic artwork, “Virgin Brides” #1 is a worthy pickup for both fans of the first series and newcomers.

“…the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men. And they bore children to them…”In the time before the Great Flood, the world of man is a place of wanton violence and unbridled depravity. But hidden high atop a mountain, there is a very different sort of world. One without men. Here, the holy sisters at a secret nunnery live in paradise, a new Eden, rearing their flock of orphaned girls to embrace their future as blessed Brides of the Sons of God. But when Sharri and Jael, two girls on the cusp of flowering, uncover what it truly means to become a Bride, they realize there’s only one way to escape the bonds of matrimony: run like hell.

Writing & Plot

Jason Aaron ( Scalped, Thor) mixes a tight narrative voice with rough, stilted dialogue and a suspense-laden plot in “Goddamned: Virgin Brides” #1. The driving mystery surrounding what happens to the young brides at the top of their sacred mountain is handled with deft pacing and foreshadowing. Ev after all of the images of horror in dream sequences and characters quietly speculating, nothing can actually prepare you for what is really happening on that mountain. The overlying narrative voice offers vague but knowing words to amplify the suspense. It is also written in elegant prose as if a god of some kind of offering sage wisdom over the chaos happening on this earth. The character dialogue itself is likely where this comic may lose some people. Much like the original “Goddamned” series, the dialogue is spoken in haphazard phrasing and awkward swearing that can make for a rough reading experience. In Aaron’s defense, this could be a mixture of two things: the first being that the dialogue here is spoken chiefly by frightened preteen girls, and secondly that the dialogue can be seen as a rough translation of whatever language the characters are actually speaking. Remember that this story is pre-flood, so logically English wasn’t around yet. This could be overthinking the script, but it is something to keep in mind. It’s hard not to sympathize with these young girls who have no knowledge of the situation they’re in, and it’s here alongside the suspense that Aaron really hooks the audience. Even if the dialogue style turns you off, every other written aspect fires on all cylinders in this brutal and bloody script.

Art Direction

R.M. Guera‘s prior works with Aaron (“The Goddamned: Before the Flood” and Scalped) have already showcased his immense talent in working with the author. His talents are still on full display here in “The Goddamned: Virgin Brides” #1. His elaborate and immensely detailed pencils excel due to his varied linework. Both the human and environmental detail is crafted by a mixture of thick and thin pen lines, as well as small cuts and dashes to indicate wear and dimension. The vast and intricate landscape art is rife with tiny detail that actually makes the land itself look sinister. No two characters look alike either, with Guera using a vast array of physiques, facial features, outfits, and even hairstyles. His nightmarish creations are nothing to scoff at either, as they are most often grotesque perversions of things the characters – and ourselves, honestly – hold dear. His presentation of the plot’s monstrous twists are executed in slow panel-by-panel reveals that make the absolute most out of the comic’s horror.  Guera’s pencils are brought into grimy existence with Giulia Brusco’s muddy color palette. The watercolor-esque tones are given an almost dust-covered aesthetic that matches the rocky and grim setting. No area of color within the linework is just a solid color either, as there’s a subtle variation in the shades that give objects and people dimension. Jared Fletcher’s letters use an unusual jagged font with frequent variation in bolds, italics, and style changes based on context and they are perfect for the dialogue and narration of this unrelenting story.

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“The Goddamned: The Virgin Brides” #1 is an unsettling and grotesque start to this sequel-series. Instead of the wanton slaughter of “Before the Flood,” this issue focuses more on horror by way of perverting concepts considered almost sacred to reality. Jason Aaron’s script mixes taut pacing, elegant narrative voice, and gruff dialogue to build this comic’s reading experience. The visual work of artist R.M. Guera, colorist Giulia Brusco, and letterer Jared Fletcher craft this world and its narrative with immense detail and craft a perfect aesthetic for this pre-biblical nightmare story. If you were a fan of the first series or this kind of brutal read is up your alley, be sure to grab a copy from your local comic shop on 7/1!

 

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Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.

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