As a long time comic book reader I’m familiar with The Goon. I heard all of the raves and saw the lines of dedicated readers. I own the first two collections. But it never quite clicked with me. The Goon is written well and drawn well and the story is good but I never added it to my pull list.
That is until Occasion of Revenge.
This is one of the most disturbing, heart breaking, chilling books I have ever read. And its only part one.
Where to start with the heartbreak? There is the tale of death and love starring Fred Paulsey and Sandy Wayne. This isn’t even the main story yet it could stand tall next to the greatest and most legendary tales from EC. While Fred is to be pitied and Sandy to be punished their tale twists and turns in ways that challenge the reader. The feelings for these characters start to change but should they? Bad people deserve to have bad things happen to them, but is there such a thing as too bad? This moral tale has a moral dilemma and to repeat, this isn’t even the main show.
The Zombie Priest wants Lonely St for himself and that means destroying all that is The Goon. He is assisted by his coven of other horrible characters, with the worst of all being Longfingers.
Where to even start with Longfingers? Iconic. Everything else from this comic could be removed. The Goon, the Coven, all of Lonely St. Just leave Longfingers and the horrible things he does. That alone would be the scariest comic in years. Horrible concepts that would ravenously be scooped up as the next great slasher killer. Except he would have to be toned down. Its too dark even for the screen. The worst of it is off panel but the implications are so terrible it will leave even the most hardened souls laying awake at night.
Eric Powell just cannot be matched as a writer/artist. The character development in this story is incredible. While other comics debate on how to reboot long running titles with new concepts The Goon proves that is unnecessary. This is still the same Goon that I read in the first volumes. Yet he has had things happen to him and grown. More things happen to him in the pages of this comic that drastically change his life and will alter the paths of everyone around him. Yet he is still very much The Goon. Older characters don’t need to be reinvented. Bringing in something new can open up new stories. The tales of Willie Nagel and Kid Gargantuan have ripples that already change the dynamics of the book and those effects aren’t even done yet.
All of this could mean nothing if not paired with the most original art on the stands. Some could easily pass over this book thinking it looks too cartoonish and they couldn’t be more wrong. Every bit of detail or lack of detail is there for a reason. The Goon doesn’t have his eyes obscured because of lazy art. It is all done on purpose so every moment when his eyes can be seen mean something. Does it ever. If you see The Goon’s eyes something bad is about to happen. Put down the book and take a couple minutes to calm down bad.
The entire theme of The Goon comes through in the coloring. The book is mostly shades of gray but every so often there will be a splash of color. A perfect symbol for Lonely St. Things can be bad, really really bad. Fighting with the Coven for months on end with no hope of winning. That kind of bad. Whether it be blood, or food, or a character’s true intentions: Things aren’t always so black and white on Lonely St. The only things that are sure are The Goon and Eric Powell.