A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?”
(Mat. 21:28-31 ESV)
The Goddamned #2 is a parable of two sons. The firstborn is quite literally the very firstborn son in the fiction of The Goddamned: Cain, Adam’s eldest, marked by God for the murder of his brother Abel. Not with words which heavens thunder, but through conscience’s quite whisper Cain is commanded kindness and compassion to show upon a weeping woman, her own son stolen and in need of saving. Like a Levite, priest, or Pharisee on the road to Jericho, he promptly ignores his neighbor’s needs. He instead goes looking for a fight and finds one, facing off against cutthroats and cannibals, slavers and savages, and while wishing these men he murdered would have murdered him, his thought turn to his mother, Eve, and he in turn returns to the mother he’d met earlier.
The second born is Noah, son of Adam by way of Lamech, Methuselah, Enoch, etc. God’s will is more plainly known to him than any this late in the antediluvian, and as such we find him axe in hand, chopping away at a tree; its wood would soon be needed. He does not go looking for a fight, but one finds him nonetheless. The self-defensive slaughter of “ravagers and pillagers and defilers” does not impute upon his renowned righteousness; such was justified, and a justice done, given his final attacked pleaded leniency on the grounds that he’d only killed cripples mostly, only ate one infant, only fucked one animal. Noah’s not wrong when he says, “You are God’s regret… why everyone will die. Why the rains are coming to wash them all away.”
Yet it is clear from his lack of remorse or contrition for the loss of life that he harbors in his heart no love for his fellow man. Standing over the corpses, coldly he remarks, “The rains came early for this lot.” When told by his heavenly Father, “Son, go and do my will,” he said, “Sir, I go,” and began to build a boat, but neglected the command to love his neighbor as himself.
Jason Aaron’s inversion of the traditionally villainous role of Cain and the saintly role of Noah is a deliberate subversion and deconstruction of the Judeo-Christian myth of the Deluge, not unlike Aranofky’s epic last year, albeit with a different message with which it reconstructs the narrative. It is impossible to say with certainty until the series is complete, but my reading now is much like Christ’s own commentary to his Parable of the Two Sons, in which he critiques the most outwardly pious and devout but inwardly hypocritical and irreligious, saying to the chief priests and elders, “The publicans and the harlots go into the Kingdom of God before you.” (Mat. 21:31 KJV)
In my years I’ve broken bread with Protestants, Catholics, Non-denominationalist, Pentecostal-Charismatics and cultist. I’ve seen many of the white-washed tombs on whom “Woes” Christ called down. I’ve seen the logs in the eyes of the brethren whom concern themselves with the specks of dust in others’. If my reading of Aaron’s work here is correct, I’ve many times met in His house The Goddamned. The story may be subversive, even sacrilegious; but more importantly, it is a mirror which shows, quite clearly through Guéra’s awesomely awful art, the ugly face which the Body of Christ so often wears. If the self-professed saints don’t want such criticism, they should not only pay lip service to the Father, but do His will as well.