Friday, 11 February 2011

‘The Goon Volume Ten: Death’s Greedy Comeuppance’ – Eric Powell (Dark Horse Comics)

There are some things that the rest of the world just has to stop and wait for and a new ‘Goon’ collection is very much one of those things. If you’ve been around these parts for a while (or if you haven’t but have used the search function here...) then you’ll know that I’m a massive fan of ‘The Goon’ and would probably place it above ‘The Walking Dead’ as my favourite comic book series. It’s laugh out loud funny and it’s tearfully tragic, very often all on the same page at the same time. If that wasn’t enough for you, Powell’s Lovecraftian world of Lonely Street offers zombies and other monsters up to be taken apart by the Goon in a veritable orgy of violence. You can’t complain at what’s on offer can you? I certainly couldn’t and that’s why everything stopped last night when my copy of ‘Death’s Greedy Comeuppance’ came through the door. It’s another top notch effort from Powell and a timely reminder of what we can expect when ‘The Goon’ returns (don’t know when, soon hopefully...)

‘Death’s Greedy Comeuppance’ collects ‘The Goon Tenth Anniversary Issue’ (#32) as well as Issue 33. I’ve spoken about these two issues elsewhere on the blog so don’t want to go repeating myself too much here. What I will say though is that Issue 33 (a comic that has no written dialogue in it at all) blew me away all over again with just how intense it is, even though no-one actually says a word. Powell’s pictures are more than worth a thousand words anyway but possibly nowhere more so than in the speech bubbles here. One simple picture gives you a real insight into each of the characters and Powell had me chuckling and doing heartfelt sighs in equal measure.
‘The Tenth Anniversary Issue’ was just as much fun this time round as it was last but what was interesting was how the humour which rubbed me up the wrong way last time didn’t feel like such a big deal now. Proof, I guess, that every read is a different experience (even when you’re re-reading the same thing over again).
I did find myself wondering why the ‘Goon/Dethklok’ crossover wasn’t included in the collection; it doesn’t tie in with the ongoing storyline at all but I was expecting to see it there for completeness’ sake...

What I’d really come for was the ‘Buzzard’ mini-series that I hadn’t been able to pick up last year; I wasn’t going to miss out a second time round! ‘Buzzard’ is a real departure for Powell (at least in this setting) as the Goon and Frankie don’t feature at all and the tone of the piece veers away from the tragic-comedy towards straight drama. It’s a move that Powell makes very well.
The Buzzard has left Lonely Street and wanders the world looking for an end to his cursed eternal existence. The plight of a village could well provide him with a way out, or perhaps not...

Powell’s dreamlike artwork comes into its own like never before here with a visual journey that’s reminiscent of Roland Deschain’s journey towards the Dark Tower. It’s weird and it’s never anything less than dangerous but, at the same time, it’s also a compelling journey that you just can’t take your eyes off. Even though I know how the story ends now you can count on me taking that journey again, just so I can stop and admire the landscape.
The plot itself is simple, and relatively straightforward, yet all the more effective because of this. Watching Buzzard do what he (reluctantly) does best keeps the pages turning nicely but it’s his developing relationship with his new apprentice that makes the story come alive. Some of the dialogue is really poignant when you match it up with the art...
‘Death’s Greedy Comeuppance’ is a wonderful read that suffers only because of the problems by the last two issues of ‘The Goon’. The ‘Buzzard’ storyline more than makes up for these and is worth the price of entry alone.

Nine and a Half out of Ten

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