Monday, 19 October 2009
‘The Goon: Those That Is Damned’ – Eric Powell (Dark Horse Comics)
It’s been a while now since we took a walk up Lonely Street, had a drink in Norton’s Pub and had a nose around the back alleys and night clubs nearby. It’s time to go back…
I mentioned a while ago that one of the great things about following ‘The Goon’ was being able to pick up all the trades and not have to wait for a new issue to come out. That didn’t last very long did it? If that wasn’t bad enough I then ended up buying volume nine while I was still waiting for volume eight (this one) to be delivered. I never do things the easy way…
No matter though, I got there in the end. If you’re not reading these comics already then come along with me for another look at why you really ought to pick this one up…
The Goon thought he had taken care of Labrazio a long time ago but apparently not; he’s back and tearing up the burg in a hail of bullets and other, stranger, things. The Goon is always up for a challenge but might this one be too much for him? Not only does Labrazio have Mr Wicker on his side but the Goon is also shown the future he could have if he drops everything and leaves town. What will he choose…?
When I first picked up an issue of ‘The Goon’ to check out, sometime last year, it was this part of the story that I found myself thrown into. I’ve caught up with all since then but ‘Those That Is Damned’ still had the power to make me stop and think, “You poor bastard, you’ve got no choice at all have you…?” It’s not really giving anything away to say that, not only will the Goon never back down from a fight but there’s still one more volume to come after this one…
The Goon’s ultimate choice shows him to be far more complex than the bar room brawler and small time hood that we’ve journeyed with so far. He may have broken more laws than you ever knew existed but the Goon is still a surprisingly moral guy who knows where the line is; the line that, if you cross it, separates men from animals. There are some things you just can’t run out on and one of those things is yourself (even if you take your friends down with you…)
‘Somebody shoulda’ told you people when a big mean spirited fella with a cleaver in hand finds out he ain’t never gonna find peace in his life it ain’t a good idea to go messing with his bartender!’
The war begins in earnest now, everyone is fair game for a bullet and all rules are off. The title of this piece isn’t just about the Goon. Others must make their own decisions and learn to live with the consequences (even if that isn’t for very long…) The humorous nature of earlier books is replaced by something far more bleak as warfare hits the street and loss is felt by all. For those who are along for the laughs though, the Little Unholy Bastards are on hand to generally get in the way and elicit a chuckle with some of the stuff that they get up to (I don’t know quite what it is that they found in the ditch but it is funny when they throw firecrackers at it).
Eric Powell’s artwork is as gorgeous as ever (although I’m a fan so I would say that) and special mention also has to go to Dave Stewart for his colouring which really captures the mood of the whole thing (bleak but almost dreamlike).
There isn’t a lot of the main story arc this time round so you get some extra short stories for your money as well. Highlights for me included ‘Revenge of the Skunk Ape’ (anything by Kyle Hotz always does it for me) and ‘For the benefit of underprivileged inmates’ by Rebecca Sugar (because it’s been far too long since we saw anything of Dr. Alloy…) but really, they’re all good.
I’m a confirmed fan of the concept, storyline and artwork so take my mark with a pinch of salt if you like, I’m cool with that. Just go and read the books afterwards.
Ten out of Ten