Tuesday, 3 July 2012
'The Goon: The Deformed of Body and the Devious of Mind' - Eric Powell (Dark Horse Books)
I've been following the Goon almost as long as the blog has been running (quite a while then) and a couple of years ago I reached the point where I'd caught up on all the story and I was left to wait for new stuff to appear. It always feels like an interminable wait but it's worth it every single time. This time was no different.
After a short break, following the conclusion of the 'Labrazio' storyline, Powell has returned with a series of 'one off' issues that don't seem to contribute to a larger arc (although a few familiar faces return, hinting at possibilities for the future) but make for good reading all by themselves.
I've already reviewed issue 34 here so am going to cheat a little bit here and give you a link to the Review. The rest of the book though...
Long term readers of 'The Goon', and this blog, will already know that the Goon hates vampires almost as much as he hates zombies. Given how much we all hate the 'Twilight' vampires it's great fun then to watch him throw down some serious hurt on some sparkly looking types out for a game of baseball in Lonely Street. These scenes give us my second favourite quote in the book, "Sparkly vampires? You've got be ****ing ****ing me!"
What I really love about Powell though is how he can go from childish humour to dark horror and tragedy, all in a couple of pages. The horror comes out on the next page, swiftly followed by the pathos of issue 34 (see that link) and then straight back into the burlesque stylings of the 'Roxi Dlite' episode. The humour here is unashamedly burlesque, that's all I'm saying (other than that I laughed lots and couldn't help but feel a little sorry for Franky afterwards).
The highlight of the book for me was the 'Union' episode where Powell leaves out the humour entirely and gives us a dark tale of real tragedy and revenge. Ghosts coming back from the grave, union busters and a demonic gorilla all combined to make for a real riveting read; the fire in the factory bought a real tear to my eye as I saw the people trying to get out.
Running the 'Union' story a close second was 'The Goon's on Vacation', a tale of vacation interupted by a wiener stealing hobo and Fishy Pete's amorous mother; the kind of thing that could only happen to the Goon and the kind of thing that you just can't help but follow (just to see if the ending is as weird as the rest of it). I had a lot of fun reading this, not least because 'The Goon's on Vacation' gives us my favourite quote from the book... "Why does every BBQ I have end with a dead hippie being molested?" Why indeed.
There's a little more to come as Powell signs the volume off with 'An Irish Wake', the tale of a fastidious goblin and a promise made long ago. It's a short tale (maybe a little too short) but well worth it just for the panel where the corpse flies off the table and out of the window :o) A real slapstick laugh out loud funny moment!
I found myself missing the absence of a plot arc (which really did things for the preceding ten volumes) but what's on offer in 'The Deformed of Body and the Devious of Mind' more than made up for that in the meantime. 'The Goon' is as wild and dark as ever (all beautifully drawn by Powell as well) and I'm looking forward to more already.
Nine and a Half out of Ten