July 5, 2010

, ,   |  

Goon Volume 9

Written by Eric Powell
Illustrated by Eric Powell
Dark Horse

Years of struggle and decades of cursed history bring the Goon and company to this final fight for all the marbles. An old enemy has decided to settle things once and for all, even as yet another figure from Goon's past enters the picture. No matter how things shake out, our hero and his world will be changed for ever. It all comes to a head here in what is (for now) the final volume of...The Goon.

I'm always sad when I get to the end of a good series, and Goon is no exception. Powell ties just about all his loose ends together here, which I appreciate, and one character that I felt held the key to everything did turn out to be as important as I hoped, even if his usage was a bit different than I'd imagined it.

After a lot of set up, this trade is all about action. Goon and his allies get ready for the big fight and do everything they can to make things come to a boil. The progression from last trade to this as we learn the secret to how the enemy is getting at Goon works really well, and I found the explanation both logical and well designed. I also love how Powell structures the battle, giving just about everyone the space they deserve and making sure that all of Goon's "family" have a hand in doing what they can to come out on top. The battle also gives Powell a chance to let us have a little fun, especially with Frankie and the Muds.

It's not all fighting, however, as the Buzzard must find the key to saving the day, and he'll do that primarily with words. There are also some scenes that spell further trouble for Goon, when Powell is ready for it. I also appreciate that no matter what happens, the Goon will never be a total winner, not after this. He's a flawed man living in a flawed world, and Powell makes sure we don't forget that. It's a nice touch.

Given that this is the end of the series, Powell also gives us a great set of visuals. I already have commented in the past about how much I like his art, but I want to call out his amazing splash pages and large-panel shots, a few of which I'm pretty sure are subtle homages to older artists. His switches between big brawling and emotional moments are as slick in panels as they are in words. Eric Powell is truly a gifted talent, and I can't wait to see more of his work, either within the world of the Goon or otherwise.

Though there's been a few issues here and there since, this is for all intents and purposes the finish for this series. Though it once again treads a dark path with only a few hints of the humor that set it up in the first place, Powell manages to wrap things up while still opening the door to new stories when he's ready to return to the character. I enjoyed the Goon a lot, and I think it's a quality series that managed to show that you can tell a refined story without having refined characters. I'd have preferred the lighter tone dominate, but I'm okay with how it all played out. I'll miss Goon and Franky and the rest, and will look forward to seeing them again when Powell is ready to.

And he'd better do it, too. Otherwise, I'm giving him a Knife to the Eye!*

*Not really, please don't hurt me or send your thugs to my house, Mr. Powell.**

**What's that knocking at the door? Wait! I didn't mean it! Honest? I'll buy the hardcovers! Just don't....AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa....................