Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The Goon, Volume 13: For Want of Whiskey and Blood by Eric Powell Review

Dynamite zombies! Possessed mannequins! Ossified babies! Lagarto! Man-eating Kaiser gorillas! Richard Nixon: Frankenstein F**ker!

13 volumes in and Eric Powell’s The Goon is going as strong as ever. For Want of Whiskey and Blood is a collection of absolutely brilliant vignettes from Lonely St.

The first is full of references to the next story arc, Occasion of Revenge, set amidst a rigged boxing match that goes awry when magical super-steroids are introduced. Goon dresses up in Franky’s digs too which is a great visual.

The Ossified Baby of Nuremberg is a Billy the Kid tie-in (a series Powell wrote) where a freakshow carnival rocks up on Halloween and its star attraction goes a bit mad.

The Lagarto issue is far and away the best in the book as it’s Eric Powell giving free rein to his utterly unhinged side. Goon and Franky head to Mexico to flog some clocks filled with booze (as you do) only for Lagarto, a man-sized lizard, to appear and cause havoc.

Most of the issue is written in Spanish, which I don’t speak so I couldn’t tell you what anyone was saying, but it’s not a terribly complex story: Lagarto wants to get with a senorita and eat some chicken (in that order). Tom Waits makes a cameo, Lagarto serenades the moon, and there’s a fictional movie poster for Richard Nixon: Frankenstein F**cker (in the spirit of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter!) thrown in – just ‘cos! Anarchic genius!

Goon and Franky help a sailor find his buddy, bar-hopping – until a man-eating Kaiser gorilla appears to kill a buncha celebrity lookalikes! Take that, Rat Pack crooners!

And the final story is the awesomely titled The Bog Lurk That Lurked Like A Thing! A Bad Thing! Mark Buckingham draws this short and while I like the art, the story’s a bit average compared to the imaginative heights of the preceding ones. It’s basically Goon, a monster and a robot punching each other.

The Goon stories that descend into slugfests are the least interesting because they’re largely one-note – see one, you’ve seen them all. The madness in between the fighting is where the series gold comes from and there’s plenty of that here.

Powell continues to produce some of the best-looking and most original comics being published today. For Want of Whiskey and Blood is enormous fun and wonderfully silly. Whether you’ve read the preceding books or not, it’s a great standalone volume to give you the full range of the whacky charms Powell’s terrific series offers.

The Goon, Volume 13: For Want of Whiskey and Blood

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