Thursday, 21 May 2009
‘The Goon: Wicked Inclinations’ – Eric Powell (Dark Horse Comics)
One of the good things about being fairly new to comic book reading is that I’ve been able to have a long, and uninterrupted, read of my favourite series without having to wait for the next trade paperback to come out. (Which reminds me, are you guys comic or trade paperback readers? I collect the trades myself, they look much better on the bookshelves...)
These heady days are coming to an end though as I’m slowly, but surely, catching up with the series I’m reading. I’m already left waiting for the next ‘Walking Dead’ collection and my days of just being able to nip into the shop and buy a ‘Goon’ book are almost up. It’s ironic that this happens just as things are really starting to get interesting...
With Buzzard watching over the city’s graveyards, the Zombie Priest is looking at a real shortage of fresh corpses for his zombie army. Factor in a fresh offensive from the Goon’s gang and the Zombie Priest has a real crisis on his hands! Desperate times call for desperate measures and the Zombie Priest has a trick up his sleeve that will change things forever. The Goon has other business to take care, will he realise what’s going on before it’s too late?
‘Wicked Inclinations’ is where we start seeing the artwork that really pulled me in when I first picked up issue 25. It’s understated yet strangely haunting at the same time and these two contrasts really kept my eyes on the page. This downbeat tone really complements a story where defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory in the face of a prophecy that bodes ill for everyone. Nobody will escape and I even found myself feeling sorry for the Zombie Priest who is only too aware of what he must sacrifice and displays a surprising empathy for what Mother Corpse must go through (it doesn’t last for long, he’s back to his usual insanity before you know it!) The moment when the Goon realises that his troubles are only just beginning is also heartbreaking in its own way. Here’s a guy who has already fought a long and hard battle and thought he was going to get a chance to breathe. To see that taken away from him (just after he’s been fighting a swarm of little demons) is a real wrench.
That’s not to say that ‘Wicked Inclinations’ doesn’t have the usual dose of what makes ‘The Goon’ an essential read for me. It’s chock full of action as other gangs seek to take advantage of the Zombie Priest’s predicament by muscling in on the Goon’s action and the humour is out in force as Frankie’s knowledge of union law proves a novel way to circumvent a feud between gypsy clans. It might not have made me laugh out loud but it was still worth the price of entry :o)
The only thing that didn’t quite work for me were the three short stories tacked on at the back. While they’re not bad in their own right, their light hearted nature really grated when set against the more sombre tone of the main piece...
It’s going to take a lot more than that to put me off reading ‘The Goon’ though! ‘Wicked Inclinations’ is another great read and I’m eager to see what happens in ‘Chinatown’...
Nine out of Ten