Plot: The Goonís Birthday! The Hobo God! Milwaukee beer and Cake! Itís The Goonís 10th anniversary spectacular!
Comments: Of all the current comic creators Eric Powell is the one of whom Iím most envious. Not simply because of his writing skill (of which he has ample supply) or his beautiful handling of a panel. I laud this writer-artist because he simply does what he wishes with his characters and narrative with regard only for his own whims.
Consider, for instance, this tenth anniversary issue of The Goon. Coming out of the most recent arc the titular character has lost any possibility for love and learned (through a pretty direct prophecy) that happiness is out of reach for him as well. The Goon is not so receptive, then, when his sidekick Frankie puts together a birthday party for his hulking pal.
Hereís the interesting thing that Powell does --he takes a break from the main narrative, from the Goonís melancholy, from the orphanís adventures and he digresses into an imaginary conversation with filmmaker Frank Darabont about the nature of comedy. Powell has a sense of irreverence about even his own work that is not at all arbitrary.
The Goonís large, grayish, scarred, and slightly stooped frame make for great pathos, and many times action, and more often than not humor. Powell is aware of this and exploits it effectively. As a historical artifact, this issue contains early character sketches for the proto-character that would ultimately become the Goon. Powell explains that the initial pitch was rejected by the major publishers and took some hammering into shape before it ended up in its current incarnation, but the basic elements were there from the beginning: a sad brute who punches things because itís pretty much the only thing in the world heís good at.
This is a good book--not just this issue but the oneís that have come before and (hopefully) the ones that will come after. Since itís coming off a fairly extensive arc itís also a great place to jump on as the book--and its hero and his enemies--look towards to the future.
Final Word: This issue is an essential celebration of the series as a whole, encapsulating the humor, sadness, and humor (again) of The Goon.
If you liked this review, be sure to check out more of the authorís work at Monster In Your Veins
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