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The Goon: Them That Don’t Stay Dead #1: Evil Gets Weird

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The Goon has faced some of the most evil, villainous monsters you can imagine. Now, he’s caught up in the vendetta of one of the toughest ladies he’s met in a bar, all while the forces of evil gather under a new power. Will the Goon and Franky be able to handle being bookended by organized crime AND the forces of darkness?

Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics. Cover art by Eric Powell.

What is The Goon?

I want to admit something right here and now before we get started. I’ve never heard of The Goon before. I know, I know, as a comic book enthusiast in his forties I should probably be ashamed. I will stand here and allow you to throw your tomatoes and trash at me before I continue…

Ok, with that uncomfortable bit out of the way, I want to assure you that after reading this issue, I have every intention of going back and reading up on everything i missed. I thoroughly enjoyed The Goon: Them That Don’t Stay Dead and Mr. Powell has earned himself a new fan. The charm, the atmosphere, the comedy, everything hit me in just the right spots.

From “The Goon: Them That Don’t Stay Dead #1”, courtesy of Dark Horse Comics. Story and art by Eric Powell

This Is My Kind Of Party!

The book opens with mysterious woman stealing a mysterious package from a group of goblins in fedoras and double breasted suits. We then transition to The Goon beating up a room full of white supremacist vampires, and I know that I’m in for one fascinating ride!

Without doing much research I can tell the setting is 1930s-1940s somewhere in the Northeast of a fictional America. The writing and the drawing give off a sort of 40’s cartoon like vibe, reminiscent of Looney Tunes, and believe me when I tell you that is right up my alley. Beyond that though it’s a very dark noir type of story, full of the stereotypical characters that fit that trope. A femme-fatale damsel in distress, a hard-boiled detective, lots of darkness and shadows, and the black and white art truly immerses you for the total experience!

The Story and Art of The Goon

Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics. Cover art by Craig Davidson.

The comedy bits had me cracking up on several occasions. Things would seem to be getting a little dark and ominous and then it’s lightened up by a wise crack, that fits completely well without derailing the flow of the dialogue. Eric Powell has a masterful grip on the pacing and mood writing this comic.

All of the character work in this book is well done as well. The Kid with The Duck, The Goon, Frankie, and our mysterious woman each bring a strength to the story that meshes well together. Add in some comic relief and lore dumps from a few side characters and it all just comes to life. I feel so immersed in this world without ever having read a comic about The Goon.

The art style is also a strong point towards the immersion of the comic. As stated before, as a noir story that takes place in what looks like the 30’s, the black and white style with heavy uses of black and shadow cements the setting and the tone. Not only that, there are various monsters, creatures, and off the wall characters that would usually confuse a first time reader. Because of the character creation and details of the faces, I was able to walk into this world and easily pick up on the fantasy and supernatural elements without it slowing me down.

Everything Points To 8/10

The Goon: Them That Don’t Stay Dead is nothing complicated or emotionally gripping, but it is just plain fun. It’s over the top style of story telling is wonderfully campy and entertaining. Fans of detective noir and classic cartoons will delight in Eric Powell’s style and tone. The character of The Goon may come across as simple, but there are some nuances to him that give him a bit of depth. He’s a big juggernaut barbarian with a sharp wit and a surprising bit of empathy. I’m gonna continue to keep an eye on this story while also doing alitle research on back issues pertaining to this character. That’s a win in my book.

Mickey Smith
Mickey Smithhttps://poplme.co/ETtFIMLE/dash
Mickey, also known as “cellphone_wallet_keys" or C.W. Keys began his humble path to nerdom in front of a television set back in 1985. Since then, it’s been a true love of all things related to heroes and fantastic stories, whether it be movies, comic books, action figures, and video games. Mickey is the Movie Voice Guy for The Reel Study and a contributing content creator here at The Nerd Initiative.

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