The Goon is one of those comics that I’ve been meaning to read for years. It’s always gotten critical acclaim, it’s always looked interesting and the premise behind it seems solid. The Goon is a hardass. He’s a hardass living in a bad town filled with bad people who do bad things. There’s also giant talking spiders, zombies and bird things. Its fantasy horror by way of Martin Scorsese drenched in a thick layer of Noir. Issue 50 finds us at the beginning of the Once Upon a Hard Time arc. There’s no “Previously On…” to get us caught up but the writing and art is so good we almost don’t need it. We know that Goon is mad. We know that someone took something very special from the Goon and the Goon is struggling to cope with that the only way he knows how: violence. One of the characters, who seems to be a former enemy, tells Goon steadfast sidekick Franky, that Goon’s been broken. And that’s clear in every panel. His posture, the way he talks, the way he almost breaks down at one point, everything points to a Goon that’s been broken and the context points to the fact that The Goon is a hard person to break.
I won’t spoil too much because this is good, this is dang good. Even as a new reader I wasn’t too confused by what’s going on so it might be a good starting point for other readers. The series is in that sweet spot after a major story arc where even established readers need to get used to the new status quo but before the story gets too complicated again. Pretty much everything you may need to know, if you’re thirsting for information, can be found on Wikipedia.
Otherwise, I would consider this a solid first issue of a series. There’s enough mystery with enough promise of payoff to drive you through any confusion this or the next few issues might bring. I feel kind of stupid for telling people to check out The Goon. The thing has been around since ’99 and praised on a pretty regular basis since its debut. Odds are you’ve probably already been reading it. If you happen to be an outlier, like me, then 50 is as good a time to start as any.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Eric Powell Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 2/4/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital