Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Goon #1 (25-cent issue)

The Goon has received critical acclaim from both the comic world (2005 Eisner Award Best Humor, 2005 Eisner Award Best Continuing Series) and the non-comic world (Entertainment Weekly Must-Have List), but I haven't read it yet. With October being the official Goon Month, Dark Horse Comics released the 25-cent edition of Goon #1 - consider it an incentive for the rest of us bums to get out and start reading this series. Here we are at the end of November and I finally broke down an purchased the 25-cent version. Here's my review....THWACK!!!.....in the jaw.

Preliminary Credits: I usually don't include a section like this, but I want to make sure and give credit to those sources of pictures and information. First, there's the definitive
Dark Horse Comics Goon Page. If you give it a sec to load, you'll be able to access Goon comics, books, products, downloads, shot glasses, and the PVC set. Also, there's The Official Website of Eric Powell & Goon Comics. I used these sites and my 25-cent copy to put together some of the material for this review.

About the creator,
Eric Powell: Powell has contributed work on the following comics: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Hellboy: Weird Tales, Star Wars Tales, The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, Black Panther, The Hood, Mad Magazine, and Arkham Asylum: Living Hell. The Goon is, thus far, his most notable and celebrated work.

Synopsis (with slight spoilage) and Review: I attached a short series for the reader's convenience. At first, I had to really dig into the strip to get a feel for the storyline. There are lots of names and things being thrown out there, so beginners won't be able to once-over this and feel comfy with the plot. About 1/3 of the way through, I started to get a feel for Powell's humor and wit, which is mingled with darkness and snippets of innuendo.

I included the preview shots from Dark Horse, which show up at the end of the 25-cent issue. "Halloween Hoodlums" is a 4-page story that will give you an idea of what the Goon is all about. Basically Goon, with his trusty sidekick Franky, run the town in a no-holds-barred, merciless fashion. For instance, Goon beat the hell out of a spider, named Spider, for being late on a $5 payment (Franky keeps all the tabs).

It seems that the story premise revolves around this undead priest, who runs a gang of zombies and dead soldiers. The zombie priest's gang grows in power to be second only to some guy named Labrazio. So the priest's mission is to find Labrazio and kill him because he wants to run the town. The beginning of the story shows the priest trying to get a decapitated zombie head to reveal the whereabouts of Labrazio (Goon decapitated and killed the zombie apparently because the zombie saw where Labrazio lived). Little does the priest know that his plot to find Labrazio will lead to an even more startling discovery. . . you can read about it.

My summary may not make much sense, but I don't think it'll make sense anyway unless you just go spend that measley 25 cents to read it yourself. I will say, that the art is fantastic. I was just ogling it, but maybe this is why I couldn't quite grasp the story. I don't know, but I felt like the storytelling was slightly convoluted. That's no biggie, though, because readers often need to go back and pick up on the subtleties of characters and stuff.

RECOMMENDATION: Are you serious? Buy it. Then I'd suggest going back and picking up one of the beginning trade papers. It might be difficult to pick up a real #1 or #2 (published back in 2003), so the trades will have to suffice.

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