Wednesday, 15 October 2008

‘The Goon, Nothin’ But Misery’ - Eric Powell (Dark Horse Comics)

The Zombie Priest is adding to his army on Lonely Street, Fishy Pete’s gang is preparing to take back the docks and Santa’s elves are eating all the children. And who is the mysterious man going around eating zombies?
There’s only one man who can answer these questions, deal with a ‘Lovecraft-esque’ underworld and still find time to lay a beating on a spider that owes him five bucks. That’s right, the Goon is back and he’s got his psychotic pal Franky with him!

The ‘Nothin’ But Misery’ collection starts out with the Goon and Franky looking for Brickhead Johnny, a former friend who has switched sides and is now working for the Zombie Priest. This search will lead them into dockyard brawls and a haunted house amongst other places. It will also introduce them to a new ally in the fight against the Zombie Priest.

That’s the plot in a nutshell, and it’s not a bad one either, but what I’m reading ‘The Goon’ for is the fights and the humour that goes around them. I haven’t laughed so much at a book in a long time :o)
‘Nothin’ But Misery’ is a dark yet funny book where the best thing about Christmas is that the cold weather makes the zombies freeze solid (making it easier for the Goon to run them down) and if you drive your car down Crestwood Avenue then you’re more than likely to come out the other end with a giant squid stuck to the windshield. Old women, playing in the mud, know everything and a werewolf is a good friend to have unless a certain phobia gets the better of him...

It wasn’t just the situations that had me chuckling but the dialogue as well (“Loony old people who play in the mud, is there nothing they don’t know?” and my all time favourite, “Knife to the eye!”) and some of the old style comic adverts that appear throughout the story. I’d love to read more about the Atomic Rage (greatest hero of the Golden Age!) and I’m a big fan of the Psychic Seal, even though only the Goon and Franky seem to be able to understand what he is saying...

The Goon is an interesting character to try and get your head around. Although he’s a mobster working for Labrazio (although no-one’s seen him recently, funny that...) he’s also a kind of Robin Hood figure who looks after the people living on his turf. Although there’s nothing good about the Goon, he’s a good man at heart.
The same cannot be said for Franky though; this psychotic midget has a hair trigger temper and is far too capable with a broken bottle or half a brick... His propensity for over the top cartoon violence (well, this is a comic book) made me laugh though. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen Franky force a fish to swallow a brick or take on a sandwich in a haunted house!

I’m starting to get into comic books a little more now and ‘The Goon’ is providing ‘The Walking Dead’ with serious competition for my favourite read. Anything can happen in this strange collection of streets and alleyways and it usually does. It always makes for fun reading though and has totally whetted my appetite for more of the same.

Nine and a Half out of Ten

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