Monday, 30 November 2015
The Goon, Volume 15: Once Upon a Hard Time by Eric Powell Review
Once Upon a Hard Time is the second half of the Occasion of Revenge storyline and it begins immediately afterwards too so don’t pick this up until you’ve read that.
Goon is losing it. The coven of witches, or "Magpies", have him on the ropes and his alliance with Don Rigatti is broken. He sees death in every outcome - even his own. Will Lonely St. lose its champion once and for all?
There are two kinds of Goon books: the whacky and the serious, and Hard Time is the latter. That’s also partly because the more tragic a figure Goon becomes, the more power the Arab has.
Like Occasion of Revenge, I didn’t love this one. The Arab, the Magpies - they’re decent villains but they don’t feel like the epic climactic nemeses Eric Powell’s set them up as. They just came out of nowhere as instant threats. It's the one major failing this series has - Powell's never created a Joker or Negan for Goon which is why conjuring one up now out of nowhere is ineffective.
I won’t give away the ending but how it plays out does seem a little corny - it has the kind of message you’ve probably seen before elsewhere. That said I was surprised at the end reveal of who That Character really was.
Surprisingly, the second issue is entirely about summarising HG Wells’ novel The Island of Dr Moreau! Given a lot of this book is Goon losing his grip on everything and becoming more vicious, perhaps Powell’s suggesting Goon is reverting to an animalistic state, that he’s losing his humanity? Still, it seems like something that could’ve been put across more succinctly than dedicating a quarter of the book to a Victorian novel!
Seeing how easily Goon deals with Don Rigatti and his flunkies, it’s a wonder why Goon thought they’d be worthwhile allies or why they were even an implied menace in the first place. We also find out the origins of the Cannibal Priest’s skin hat for what that’s worth.
Powell’s art is as outstanding as it always is - he utilises different styles in each book, all of which look amazing. The colours are often very muted to appropriately reflect the dour tone of the story which also heightens the effect of his superb line work. He’s easily one of comics’ best artists working today with the added (and rare) bonus that he can write really well too.
The storyline Powell set up in Occasion of Revenge is satisfactorily finished in Once Upon a Hard Time though the whole arc was only ever ok at best.
The Goon, Volume 15: Once Upon a Hard Time