Review: The Goon #1
The next era in the legacy of The Goon starts here! This all new series marks The Goon’s return to Albatross Funnybooks and is just in time to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the book. Eric Powell takes the series to its humor-based roots as Goon & Franky return from strange adventures abroad to find a horde of unsavory characters have filled the void left in his absence from Lonely Street.
I won’t pretend to be an expert on the Goon, because I have never read a comic with the character in it before. So with that being said, the question for today’s review is whether this first issue is an easy place for new readers to start with the character (and whether it’s actually any good).
I won’t make you wait for an answer to that, because the comic didn’t leave me feeling utterly lost, which in turn meant I quite enjoyed the supernatural aspect of the story (which came as a bit of a surprise to me, I’ve gotta say).
Written and drawn by Eric Powell, who also contributed to the colouring of the book along with Rachael Cohen, The Goon #1 tells a very atmospheric story in a world that feels as though there’s a rich history – but that never relies on new readers knowing that history. Previous events are referred to in passing which helps in fleshing out the characters relationships, but also serves as a way to recap or give readers an idea to what the Goon has been up to – and for how long he’s been away.
The story is almost a standalone comic, with an almost complete tale being told in the first issue that has a strangely satisfying conclusion as the Goon reestablishes himself in the Town With No Name. It’s darkly funny at times, eliciting genuine chuckles from your humble reviewer at the visual and verbal comedy. But it’s the deeply atmospheric art where the comic shines; or rather doesn’t shine, but excels. Powell and Cohen have produced a comic that feels at once like a visual representation of the depression era (although I don’t know when the tale is set, based on the costumes and colouring I felt it was very likely a depression-era story), with the odd splash of colour temporarily brightening the page, or used to highlight certain things.
I don’t know what I expected when coming into The Goon #1 but it certainly wasn’t this – I loved the supernatural tinged depression era story that never once left me feeling as though I was jumping into a story 20 years in the making with no idea of who the Goon is (although I totally am). The Goon #1 is the kind of comic you can read without any preconceived notions, nor any need to worry about understanding the rules of the universe – it’s fun, entertaining, and offers the reader a great example of good comics.
Writer: Eric Powell Art: Eric Powell
Colours: Rachael Cohen and Eric Powell
Story: 8.1 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Albatross Funnybooks provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review