Goon Volume 0

Written by Eric Powell
Illustrated by Eric Powell
Dark Horse

I did a re-read on this one because I enjoy the Goon so much. Eric Powell's creation is just so much silly fun, one part Warren Ellis, one part Steve Rude, one part Keith Giffen, and probably some other things thrown in as well.

For those not familiar, picture a world where there's zombies, gangsters, vampires, shady G-Men, and tons of other lowlifes, drawn in a style that's kind of a bastard love-child of Jack Kirby and Mike Mignola and filled with a lot of verbal parody of just about ever B-movie gangster and/or horror movie from the 1950s.

If that scares you, just move on. If, like me, you eat that up on a plate, the Goon is the place for you.

This is the first three issues, drawn far more crudely than Powell's more refined art today. We get the setup, started in the middle, so things don't bog down too much. The Goon is muscle for a mob boss named Labrazio, fighting for control of the rackets against a zombie army controlled by a zombie priest. He has to keep one step ahead of the undead, who use everything from two-headed monsters to rogue pizza boy attacks to try and get the jump on the Goon. When the feds get involved and make an unholy deal with the undead, things only get worse for Goon and his pal, Franky. Can the Goon get out of the clutches of the combined forces of the government and walking corpses (provided he can tell the difference between the two)? You'll have to read to find out.

This series has everything from verbal gags to jabs at goths, talking chainsaws to men with bowling balls attached to their arms. Hell, while you can't find the kitchen sink, you will run off to join the circus. Oh, and did I mention the giant fish that controls the docks?

Powell's imagination is fertile, his pen is quite good for the oddball antics of his mob-enforcer hero, and his writing is crisp, witty, and perfect for the premise. There's a lot to like about this series, and as long as you're not easily grossed out (that's the Ellis part), I think you'll find the Goon is a nice change from a lot of the comics out there today. I liked this book even better than the first time I read it, and I can't wait to read more.