November 13, 2008

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Goon Volume 2

Written by Eric Powell
Illustrated by Erica Powell (with Kyle Hotz)
Dark Horse

This seems to be my period for reading origin stories, as the Goon kicks back in time for an origin story in this second volume that's really the third volume (but if you say that too loud the Goon will beat you senseless with your arm).

After fighting off hobos and the lackeys that provide bodies to the Zombie Priest, we learn about how the Goon met Frankie, who wasn't nearly the insane midget he is today--in fact, he was quite the wimp (but if you say that too loud Frankie will beat you senseless with your arm). That all changes when he meets the Goon, who's just starting out as enforcer for Labrazio. Together, they form the crime team supreme we know today.

There's also a story about the Goon and a man who's made of gold, a reformed villain who decides to go the Sandman route and fight crime after his release. His first target--the Goon! Plus, a final installment is a triptych of short features, as the Goon gets freaky with a sea hag, goes bananas with a monkey (and guest art), and has a horrible mix up with the Mud Brothers.

I love the Goon character and Powell's bastard love child of Jack Kirby and Mike Mignola art. The idea that nothing phases either the Goon or Frankie, no matter how weird--monsters trying to steal cans of corn, bog people enforcers, killer robots, you name it--is part of the fun. While other comics might be fantastic in their conception, they tend to dwell on it. "Oh my, that guy can fly!" Not the Goon. A gold man with a large robot? Just another day at the office. The flippant outlook to the strange is part of what makes the Goon such a great series.

That being said, I admit I was a little disappointed this time (but if you say that too loud the Goon will beat me senseless with my own arm). Everything seemed just a bit too rushed, like the one-issue-at-a-time pacing prevented Powell from letting any of the jokes build long enough to go to full effect. This may be a result of reading it in a trade paperback format. (My God, you mean they write a comic designed to be read an issue at a time? I thought that variety was extinct!) Still, the live-action framing on the origin story is great and when the Goon is being mashed by a monster, you have to sit and giggle.

Even a less-than-perfect Goon (but if you say that too loud Frankie will beat you senseless with your own arm) is still a great and recommended comic romp. This is one of the best series out there, and you really need to read it (or else I might beat you senseless with your own arm)!