Current Reviews


The Goon #4

Posted: Wednesday, January 7, 2004
By: Marcus Nyahoe

Writer: Eric Powell
Artists: Eric Powell and Kyle Hotz

Publisher: Dark Horse

In this issue Eric Powell presents us with two short stories. In the first, The Sea Hag, The Goon has to dive to the bottom of the sea in an old-fashioned diving suit (the type with lead boots and the air pumped into the helmet from a machine on the shore) to retrieve a safe which contains his naked pictures of Ingrid Bergman. Whilst beneath the waves an insatiable female sea monster tries to force him to have sex with her, before The Goon is saved by the monster's young son. The Goon gets back to the surface, only to find that when he looks at the naked pictures of Ingrid Bergman, he actually sees the Sea Hag's face on them!

In The Abominable Boggy a "skunk-ape", on show at a freak show, smells freshly cooked blueberry pie. This sends it on a rampage (because as everybody knows, "Never cross a skunk-ape when the pie fever's come on him.", especially as "Blueberry is the evilest pie."). At the same time, The Goon is at a pie eating contest betting on his partner Franky winning (a near certainty as The Goon has poisoned all the other contestants). Anyway, the skunk-ape, after finishing the blueberry pie, invades the contest and steals the pie. The Goon is having none of this and persues the ape into the sewer where they battle. Obviously The Goon comes out on top, but decides to befriend the ape. At the end he's made a ton of money betting on his contestant in pie eating contests.

In the introduction to the letters page, Goonmail, Eric Powell is says he is awaiting the backlash. Well Eric here it.....bugger. I'd love to start the backlash here but, from the disclaimer at the start, which criticises non-pie eating people, to the letters page (woo hoo, a letters page) at the end, this comic reaks of quality. There are very few comics that can make me laugh out loud, but this is a hoot. Mr. Powell has already stated that each issue will be self-contained, so there's no problem with picking up what is happening. The artwork is very reminiscent of Will Eisner, although with Powell's own twist. Kyle Hotz illustrates the second story, and whilst it isn't quite up to the same standard, it's good enough not to detract from the reading experience.

The quality of the writing is also impressive. The characters are all completely amoral, but the violence is very like the old Warner Bros cartoons. The stories speed along at a fair pace and the whole comic only takes about ten (wonderful) minutes to read, and there are so many funny lines ("I want your mammal love in me" , the Sea Hag to a captive Goon). I've never wanted to quote a comic so much. Just the Sea Hag's dialogue are enough to make a grown man blush (or wet himself laughing, whichver comes first really). The combination of writing and art gives a very evocative feeling of the old style pulps from the thirities, as reinvented through a parodic, 21st century mind. Finally, it has a wonderful spoof advert for a "Junior Goon Kit" complete with switch blade and lead pipe, and a LETTERS PAGE. Now I'm not a luddite, and I have complete access to the internet both at work and home. However, it's criminal that there are so few letters pages in comics now. Internet forums are great, but they can be populated by vocal nerds and complete idiots (accusations which could probably be levelled at me). A letters page has a filter in whoever is editing the letters page, and when that filter is good (as in the majority of Dave Sim's Cerebus comics) then a real feeling of communication with the comic, and a sense of ownership, develops. In sacrificing the letter columns, too many comics have lost this feeling. Eric Powell edits this letters page, and keeps the level of humour up throughout with his comments. After reading the stories this just lends a satifactory conclusion to the whole experience.

Final Comments:
Need I say anymore than this is extremely funny, with artwork that Will Eisner would be proud of (and if you don't know if this is a compliment or not I suggest you stop reading RIGHT NOW and go pick up a copy of A Contract with God and get some education on this particular artistic field you're so intersted in!) Still with me? Good, that means we've got rid of all the ignorant ones (you know the ones, they think Jim Lee is the greatest artist in comics and Eddie Campbell can't draw). All the buffoons are gone and it's just us. You know your comics. I don't need to tell you to buy this because only one of the aforementioned fools will ignore this comic. Just pick this up - if you could afford to buy the (frankly pre-adolescent) JLA/Avengers then you can afford this. trust me, your life will be much, much richer for it.

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