By Eric Powell
The Goon has returned! Eric Powell’s series from Dark Horse Comics is back with a four-part arc featuring some of the old regulars as they are left to face off against a band of ghosts. The Goon is a series that has many similarities to Mike Mignola’s Hellboy. From its release frequency and numbering, to its involvement in the supernatural, the two series share some common ground but each manage to maintain their own voice and creative direction.
In this new arc, the story looks to focus on the town and its ability to attract pain and suffering to it. In the opening pages two priests meet to discuss this location as a potential new home, a place to set their roots and settle in. The story then jumps to a small vignette of a character who chose to take his life for love, and in some ways revenge, before finding its way to Goon and Franky. While it uses these different short sequences to begin to establish the pieces that inform the greater story taking place in this arc, it feels fragmented in its reading experience.
Goon has Frank gather up some of their usuals to help him fight against the forces that are coming. Powell inserts some solid character moments in the story, both in general interactions as well as in the action sequences. The story really moves in the latter half once Franky begins gathering a group and finishes on a high note with promises of some great things to come.
The experience of the story is a strange one. For the most part, the story flows well, but it is disrupted in its pacing by a vignette of a man who takes his life over a woman he had loved. The paneling and narration shifts to be much more text heavy. It feels closer to a picture book, with a few images holding the story together with a large amount of text per page. It is a well written short story and finds its way back into the overall plot in the final page. But how it is placed within this issue, it does not quite fit. While the flow may be damaged a bit, the issue is still well done and the art is fantastic. Powell’s art style and rendering of some of these moments are beautiful.
For readers who have never picked up a book drawn by Eric Powell, the art alone is a reason to check this story out. He is immensely talented and there is no shortage of talent on display in this issue. Powell is a great story teller and his visual technique is as strong as his writing. For that, it is great to have The Goon back and this arc looks to be really fun.