Monday, 22 December 2014

The Goon, Volume 14: Occasion of Revenge Review (Eric Powell)


Eric Powell’s back with his first long-form story in quite some time with Occasion of Revenge. The Zombie Priest’s former coven of witches and sorcerers have decided that Lonely St is to be their new home - but not if The Goon can help it! We also see the tragic tale of Fred Paulsey and Sandy Wayne, the origin of Willie Nagel (the daisy-hatted zombie geetar playa), and the terrifying new villain, Longfingers. Oh, and Revenge Shit Giuseppe who… well, you can guess what the crack is with him! 

I really, really want to say Occasion of Revenge was an amazing, awesome, totally killer read because I think Eric Powell is an incredible comics creator and I do usually genuinely enjoy Goon books (and here’s the BUT) BUT… no, not this time unfortunately. 

Powell’s adopted the structure of most of Mike Mignola’s comics where storylines are numbered in parts rather than the actual numbering of the comics. So Occasion of Revenge #1 is actually The Goon #46, and so on, but Dark Horse want more readers jumping on and it helps sometimes if you scale back the numbering rather than intimidate the reader with big numbers. That said, I was expecting this 4 part story to be self-contained and it wasn’t so I really don’t know what’s going on with the numbering! 

Fred Paulsey and Sandy Wayne’s story was too miserable to really enjoy and it went nowhere, ending in some bizarre, open-ended fashion that was unsatisfying. Longfingers and the rest of the evil coven remain at large, having spent the book popping up now and then to battle Goon and his men. There was also this weak romance story between Goon and Some Lady which you knew wasn’t going to end well and, of course, didn’t. 

Instead this book was mostly about a bastard getting even with his step-brother for the way their dad treated his mum. It read like a watered down version of a Sin City story only it wasn’t dark enough without enough bite. 

The story I really liked was Willie Nagel’s origin which is sad like every other story here, but was an engaging aside. Revenge Shit Giuseppe was another mad character who gets thrown in now and then for comic relief but it’s a momentary respite of silliness before plunging back into the despair. 

Powell’s art continues to be truly impressive switching from a variety of styles that also intelligently utilises space to tell the various tales. If Powell’s writing sometimes fluctuates across the many Goon books, the one constant is his far-ranging and wonderful illustration skills that make his comics stand out. 

Unfortunately though the many stories that make up Occasion of Revenge don’t add up to much. It reads more like an extended prologue than its own story with several odds and ends thrown in for padding. That’s not to say it’s an unenjoyable read, it’s just not of the same calibre as some of Powell’s better Goon books. Of course I’m coming back for the next arc though I’m hoping the story is a bit tighter.

The Goon, Volume 14: Occasion of Revenge

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