by Anthony Rosen I have never read an issue of The Goon before.
Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Anthony that makes you hardly fit to review The Goon #38!” and to that I only have to say...
How'd you get in my review? Get the heck out of here!
Ah-hem. Anyway, yes, I've never read an issue of The Goon before, so I came to this experience as fresh as possible, knowing little and less about the overarching story of this title and its protagonist. Which is precisely why I'm surprised to say that I loved this issue. I mean, that might sound a little biased on my part, “Anthony, how can you love this issue if you've never even read an issue of The Goon before?”
What the? How'd you get back in here?! Git-outta-here you!
Alright, that's enough of that lame joke. But yes, I really did connect with the story in this issue, that of the titular goon's mother: Kinzie the strong-woman. It's a story of loss, hope, love, dishonesty and family succinctly told in the span of 24 pages. It's a life story that begins with her loss of innocence and follows her through the defining moments in life, touching on the melancholy that comes with experience and tragedy that's reflected excellently in the worn-in look of the art.
I was mostly impressed with the economy at play here, how each word and image delivers on the promise of the medium itself, charging each individual moment with the right amount of honesty or fear or jubilation. The hideous side of humanity, its greed and immorality, is on display as well, but in a way that contributes to fleshing out the life of the characters, and strengthening our heroine. This is easily an issue I would give to someone who has never read a comic before as it demonstrates the strengths of the medium so incredibly well.
I'd be lying if I said the art was pretty, but I don't mean that as an insult. Instead there's a grit and grime smeared and rubbed into the edges of buildings, the rotten smell of a carnival festering over into the lumps of stink that need shoveling, and the cool callous nature of the city streets that can only find warmth in the presence of people and the reminders they leave behind. It's an impressive act of art, to say the least, when I find myself drawn not to something superficially vibrant, but instead to something so evocative of life's reality. The issue, and more importantly the feeling it left me with, balances between the grit and hopelessness of the great depression in the 30s and the joy and verve of life you see in a movie all about the golden age of, well, anything.
Anyway, go read this issue of The Goon.
TL;DR: Hope and sadness on display in an excellently executed issue that may bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face. A great example of what the medium can accomplish.
Fan favorite series The Goon is published by Dark Horse and is back with a vengeance if by a vengeance we mean bi-monthly, which we do. The Goon is written and drawn by Eric Powell and this issue's colors are by Dave Stewart. It was in your local comic book shop this past Wednesday (March 21) so what are you waiting for?
A review PDF of The Goon #38 was graciously provided to Spandexless by the publisher.
Anthony Rosen prides himself on two things: his beard and his comic book collection. He once ate a tablespoon of nutmeg on some bad advice from a friend. He hasn’t been the same since.