Archive for Goon

Carnival Arcane


The Goon: Theatre Bizarre

Well, the Goon didn’t stay gone very long at all! He’s already back for this early Halloween special. He, Franky, and Roscoe, the orphaned kid-werewolf, are working as roadies for a carnival. They get lost and end up in the Theatre Bizarre, an ancient carnival of monsters, endlessly corrupt and malign and decadent, run by a monstrous death’s-head clown called Zombo. Of course, to Roscoe, it’s just a really cool Halloween party, and to Franky, it’s an excuse to look for hoochie-coochie girls. And to Roxi D’Lite, a real-life burlesque star who’s previously guest-starred in this series, their visit is her opportunity to trick Franky into taking her place at this Carnival of the Damned. Will anyone escape, or will Zombo own their souls for eternity?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A return to the madcap, hilariously offensive Goon comics we’ve all come to love, and a bit of a hint of where the series will go after this. Plus John Dunivant’s amazing artwork for the Theatre Bizarre (the Theatre is actually one of Dunivant’s art projects) is stunningly beautiful and spooky. Go pick it up for some Halloween fun.


Lumberjanes: Beyond Bay Leaf #1

While the girls are out for a late-night stargazing outing with Jen, Ripley runs off chasing a ghost pony. The rest of the main cast loses her but runs into an ominous ogre masquerading as a primitive hunter. She says her name is Sola and she’s chasing after the ghost pony because it’s the only one she hasn’t captured yet — and she notes that without Ripley, the Lumberjanes are “not a complete set.” What is Sola’s plan? Can Ripley help the ghost pony escape? Or will Sola imprison all of them for the rest of time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a wonderfully creepy story with wonderful, fun art and a ton of wonderful humor. There are a bunch of outstanding character moments, too. Plus, hey, double-sized Lumberjanes annual — I know you want to make sure you got this one.


The Wicked + the Divine #15

Our focus character in this issue is Amaterasu, the British girl with the power of a Japanese sun goddess. Everyone’s just discovered Tara’s death, everyone’s upset, and Urdr is not real accepting that, in her view, a British girl is cosplaying as one of the most important Shinto deities. Amaterasu takes Urdr to Japan, where they yell at each other, then have a heart-to-heart talk, and finally Amaterasu returns to her secret duty — prayers for the souls of the dead and dying — which includes all of the reborn gods…

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice story about a character we’ve never gotten to see much of, with some great dialogue and nice art by Stephanie Hans. Also, read the letters — they’re pretty good this time.


Doctor Strange #1

Marvel makes yet another try for an ongoing Doc Strange comic, this time written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Chris Bachalo. This one does a fantastic job of going into the day-to-day crises of Strange’s life — he doesn’t just fight Dormammu, he takes on simple battles on behalf of individual people, expelling a tribe of soul-eaters from a young boy’s body and patrolling the city for the few harmful parasites infesting New Yorkers’ souls. He pays a visit to the mystical Bar with No Doors to meet with his fellow sorcerers. Something big and terrible may be coming, and no one will be ready for it…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great writing and art, and I love Strange as a more personal superhero, fighting invisible battles and looking like a weirdo, but still able to be an action hero. Still haven’t decided whether I want to pick up more of this series, but the first issue is quite good.

Comments off

Goodbye to the Goon?


The Goon: Once Upon a Hard Time #4

The Goon dispatches the monstrous Longfingers, but the Arab has brought his ultimate monster — a cruel woman and her jilted ghost lover, twisted by hate and guilt and anger and desire into a twisted horror too powerful to be fought. The Arab reveals that the Goon might’ve had a chance if he hadn’t murdered Kid Gargantuan — but it turns out that the Goon didn’t kill the Kid, and he’s come back to help in the fight. Can he make a difference? Can the Goon survive, and will he have a place on Lonely Street anymore?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This looks like it’s basically Eric Powell’s farewell — maybe not to the Goon and Franky, since a new series is teased with them — but to the mythology and background that’ve built up around the character over the past 17 or so years. If you’ve loved this series the way every sensible comics fan has loved this series, you’ll want to pick this one up.


Survivors’ Club #1

This is a pretty interesting concept — what happens to the people who survive the ends of horror movies? When you’re the sole survivor of an attack by a psycho killer or a vampire or a ghost, what’s the psychological cost that comes out of that experience? The story here kicks off as six survivors of horror events are called together to explore what terrible things happened to them, why their names are all on a mysterious list on the Internet, what’s the connection between them all — and why a seemingly light-hearted platformer video game offers up nightmarish visions of past horrors for all of them.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Like I said, a very interesting concept — that alone is able to carry most of the first issue all by itself. I expect we’ll learn more about the characters and the terrors they faced over the next half-dozen issues — but I don’t know if I’ll stick with it. I like this first issue, but horror of this style doesn’t always seem to work well in monthly comics or with so many characters to have to sift through…

Comments off

Wytches Mark


Wytches #6

The final issue of this short but epic horror series sees Charlie Rooks deep in the Wytches’ caverns trying to find and rescue his daughter Sailor. But if they can escape from the hordes of monsters, if they can make it back to the surface world, if they can make it back home — they still have to deal with the problem that everyone they know has sold them out, and the wytches are still coming closer and closer. What escape is there from the inevitable?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Brilliant horror that digs deep into the bones of what frightens us about family and friends. Is there any betrayal worse than the ones that hit closest to home? Beautiful, scratchy, gnawing art to go along with the terror.


The Goon: Once Upon a Hard Time #3

Part of me wants to spoil as little of this as possible, even though most of what we see is setting up the confrontations brewing in the next issue. But we learn more about the Zombie Priest’s past and about the face he wears on his hat. Longfingers makes a break from the Arab and plans to kill the Goon. And the Goon warns Frankie to prepare to flee the town if anything happens to him.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This series is filling me with dread like nothing else out there. I worry the final end of the Goon is coming, and though I don’t want it to happen, it’s also impossible to look away, because this story is being crafted perfectly, and it leaves you wanting more and more and more of it.

Comments off

The House of Pain


The Goon: Once Upon a Hard Time #2

Even for a comic that tends to produce uncommonly interesting stories, this issue probably tops the list. The Goon has learned that a rival mobster has sent a couple mooks to kill him, so he heads for the local bus station so he’ll be there to wipe ’em out. But he’s got a few hours to kill, so he buys a paperback copy of “The Island of Dr. Moreau” by H.G. Wells to read while he waits. And most of the rest of this issue is Eric Powell’s comic adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel. So is the Goon more animal than man now? Will he have the chance to walk back to his own humanity?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s an amazingly cool storytelling choice, and I get the impression that Powell has always wanted to adapt “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” You should go pick it up for that reason alone.


Red Sonja #15

Sonja has returned to the village where she was cursed to never be able to forgive anyone, and she’s figured out a unique method to make sure her supernatural vengefulness doesn’t harm anyone — she’s mutilated her hands into bloody, shattered wrecks so that she can no longer hold a sword. Unfortunately, just as she finally breaks the curse, the wizard who’s been stalking her finally catches up to her. Is there any way for her to stop the sorcerer and his horde of monstrous snakes?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Beautiful artwork and beautiful storytelling. The action and tension are excellent, too. It’s the next to the last issue of Gail Simone’s epic run on this series, and I’m dying to find out how she’s going to end it.

Today’s Cool Links:

Comments off

The Tragedy of the Goon


The Goon: Once Upon a Hard Time #1

The Goon has finally had enough tragedy and stress in his life. The woman he loved turned out to be a harpy — a literal harpy — who was playing him like a fiddle. The mobsters he’d asked to help him now want to kill him. And the Arab’s band of necromancers seem to be stronger than ever. So he’s on a roarin’ rampage of revenge. And drinking to much. And occasionally maiming his friends. The Zombie Priest says the Magpies have won — they’ve broken the Goon’s spirit. Franky thinks the opposite — breaking him down is just going to doom them. The Goon and the Priest cook up a plan to catch the Magpies’ witch, who helps them escape every time, but the scheme just pushes the Goon closer to the edge.

Verdict: Thumbs up. We’ve got the makings of an amazing tragedy here — is Eric Powell actually working his way toward no longer creating this comic? Gotta say something about how great the art is here, and it really shines in small details, like the worried expression in all eight of Spider’s eyes, and the way Franky has never looked so old.


Velvet #9

Velvet has kidnapped a man named Damian Lake from an insane asylum — Lake used to be the head of ARC-7’s intel division before he went mad after seeing everyone in his code station in Paris murdered by the KGB. Does he have the information Velvet needs about who framed her? Or is he playing another game altogether?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s not nearly as spectacular as some of the other comics in this series, but the art is great, and we’re clearly building our way toward something big.

Comments off

Put the Hammer Down


The Goon: Occasion of Revenge #4

The Kid has killed one of the Goon’s underworld allies — all thanks to the malign influence of the Goon’s girlfriend herself! When the Goon finds out, he kills the Kid, and when he confronts Ramona, he learns that she’s one of the shapeshifting harpies working for the Zombie Priests. And after that, her life ain’t worth spit. But how does this play into the Arab’s larger scheme?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a pitch-black, blood-soaked tragedy. Bad news for the Goon, but good news for readers who love great storytelling and fantastic art.


Afterlife with Archie #7

Archie and the few survivors of Riverdale are on the run from the zombies following them. Betty is trying to recreate her lost diary so she won’t forget what life was like before the undead rose. Everyone’s having nightmares about Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Mr. Lodge decides everyone needs a day of rest for a Thanksgiving dinner. Veronica is overcome with jealousy over Betty’s and Archie’s deepening relationship. And Cheryl Blossom crosses a line no one expected her to cross.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Beautifully illustrated and beautifully scripted post-apocalypse horror. The cliffhanger at the end with Cheryl gets most of the attention, and I get the impression it’s a sample of what the rest of the series will be — I think it won’t be long before there’s almost no resemblance between who the characters become and where they began in Riverdale.

Comments off

Southern Culture on the Skids


Southern Bastards #5

Earl Tubb tried to clean up Craw County, Alabama, and all he got in return was to get murdered by Coach Boss with his own beat-down stick. So now we’re gonna get a few issues of focus on Coach Boss himself, from his humble beginnings as an undersized and under-talented football player with more ambition and dedication than he knows what to do with to his current status as the man who makes Craw County skip to his tune. Coach Boss is actually keeping the broken tree limb — still blood-stained — that he used to cave in Earl’s skull, and none of his henchmen can quite believe he’s not willing to destroy it, or that he’s willing to attend Earl’s funeral. But Coach soon becomes obsessed with the idea that everyone in town is just going to conveniently forget Earl’s murder, just so they don’t have to remember their own cowardice and complicity in letting it happen.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A bit less of the sweltering, filthy Southern noir we’ve seen in previous issues — this one seems to be more about building the world of Craw County and Coach Boss. We get more of what Boss thinks about, and a bit more about the other movers-and-shakers in Craw County.


The Goon: Occasion of Revenge #3

So the Kid is one of the Goon’s right-hand men. He grew up abandoned by his low-life (but big money) father while his mother poured her own hatred for her former lover into her son. He grew up to be a talented boxer, but a cheating opponent loaded his gloves and almost crushed the Kid’s skull. But the Goon gave him a job, and now that the so-called Magpies are waging war on the Goon and his organization, the Kid has been given an important job — he needs to guard an important ally from an allied crime family that’s willing to help the Goon against the Magpies. But there’s a secret mole in the Goon’s organization, and a secret the Kid doesn’t know about yet.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of seriously gorgeous art in this issue, not to mention to hard-luck noir that Eric Powell does so well. Just one issue left in this miniseries? Can’t imagine how this is all going to turn out.

Comments off



The Goon: Occasion of Revenge #2

The Goon and his gang continue their war against the Zombie Priests, with the Goon reserving special dislike for the sadistic monster called Longfingers. But it’s a long war, the Goon’s forces are slowly weakening, and their other enemies are hoping the zombies will finally finish the Goon’s organization off. Meanwhile, the Goon may have finally found love, a vengeful ghost wreaks havoc on the life of his heartless ex-lover, and we learn the tragic backstory of happy-go-lucky slackjaw Willie Nagel.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really, really loved learning more about Willie Nagel — the zombie who doesn’t eat people has been more-or-less a mystery for years, and his background really is pretty interesting.


Revival #23

This issue focuses on two major confrontations between the Cypress family and their tormentors. Sheriff Wayne Cypress goes after Edmund Holt, nutty teabagging terrorist-wannabe, to get him to stay away from his grandson. And Officer Dana Cypress, visiting New York City, meets up with Anders Hine, psychotic reviver, who’s letting rich people eat his ever-regenerating flesh. They think they’re getting eternal life — they don’t know he’s been ingesting poison specifically to kill them all off. When he finds out the truth about what happened to the Check brothers, is he going to expose the secret, or will Dana let him get away to keep him quiet?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Slowly getting some open plotlines clipped shut, while others are opening up in more dangerous ways. It’s a great story for the supernatural elements and for the non-supernatural elements, too. Hope you’ve been reading this — it’s a great story…

Today’s Cool Links:

Comments off

The Doom that Came to Riverdale


Afterlife with Archie #6

I’d initially skipped this series, ’cause it seemed like it was going to be nothing more than a publicity stunt series, but the buzz has been excellent, and I finally picked up the first trade paperback of this series. If you don’t know anything about it, the general idea is that Jughead’s dog Hot Dog is killed, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch decides to resurrect the mutt by casting a spell from the Necronomicon. Of course, this goes badly, and Jughead ends up being Patient Zero for a zombie plague. It’s a wonderful series, dark and grim and genuinely horrifying in all the ways a classic Archie story is not.

In this latest issue, we learn what’s happened to Sabrina since the first issue. Her aunts had learned that she’d dabbled in forbidden magic and cast her into a dimensional limbo as punishment. Here, she sees herself as an inmate at a mental institution, fighting delusions of having magical powers. Her fellow inmates include a musician named Erich Zann and an artist named Richard Pickman, and her counselors include Dr. Lovecraft and Dr. Machen — which is a really bad sign for Sabrina. Of course, they’re in league with the Great Old Ones, and as relentlessly pessimistic as this series is, there’s not much hope for Sabrina to get a happy ending…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic art and story, with lots of gloriously creepy stuff going on, both before the camera and off in the background. As much as I’ve enjoyed the zombified terrors of the previous storyarc, I think it’d be really cool for the rest of the series to have to deal with the perils of the Archie Gang facing the mind-breaking horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos.


The Goon: Occasion of Revenge #1

The Zombie Priests — yeah, there are more than just one or two — are moving in to Lonely Street, and the Goon, Franky, and all their allies have to face them down or watch everything get destroyed. Wrapped around this story is a tale of a beautiful but sociopathic woman and the vengeful spirit of a man who commits suicide over her love.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great to see a nice long Goon tale again. Some nice new villains. An absolutely excellent showdown scene. Wondering how all of this is going to end up getting tied together, but I also know I’m probably going to love the final result.


Trees #3

Two little storyarcs in this issue, one focusing on Italy, where the tough-minded gangster girl is trying to track down the mysterious vanishing professor, and one in China, where the talented rural artist is told he must get over his fear of the big city and stop locking himself in his apartment.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yes, there’s actually a lot more to the stories here, but I’d really rather not spoil them. And yes, the entire issue is focused on people having conversations. It’s great to have interestingly talky comics from time to time, right?


Revival #22

Lots of little things going on — Lester Majak catches a ghost; Em discovers her new reviver boyfriend Rhodey mutilates himself for online sickos and has been filming the two of them when they have sex; Dana discovers the secret society behind the troubles in New York and even meets up with murderous reviver Anders Hine; Ramin gets hypnotized; and Sheriff Cypress discovers that his grandson may be in danger from a teabagging militia terrorist.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of stuff going on, and all of it held my interest, moved the story along, and deepened the mysteries surrounding the revivers.


Velvet #6

Knowing she’ll never discover who the mole inside ARC-7 while out of the country, Velvet secretly returns to London, collects a new cache of weapons, makes a few contacts, considers the likely suspects, and makes her move on the superspy headquarters.

Verdict: Thumbs up. More great espionage storytelling. Wonderful characters and dialogue, outstanding action, mysteries, and much, much more.

Comments (1)

Midian is Where the Monsters Live


Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #2

We continue telling the stories of Peloquin, as he must fight his way through a bunch of slaveowners and their slaves, all convinced that he’s the Devil, and of Shuna Sassi, whose human lover attacks her in a fit of jealousy. Not a good thing to do to a human porcupine.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a good story and nice art — but it’s not the best dang thing in the world, either. I’d like to see this one up its game and prove it’s as awesome as the movie it was inspired by.


The Goon: One for the Road

The Goon and Franky run across a sailor on leave who’s lost his buddy — and if he can’t find him and get him back to the boat, they’ll both be AWOL. The three set off on an epic bar crawl to find the guy, and in addition to drinking way too many beers, they also run across a bunch of witches and a bad little boy, a squad of shellshocked Marines, infuriated cowboys, a bar full of movie stars, and a giant man-eating gorilla. But are they ever going to find the missing sailor?

Verdict: Thumbs up. If you love mayhem and violence and silliness and lunacy delivered the way Eric Powell does it best, you’ll want to get this one. Goon comics have been rare as hen’s teeth lately, so enjoy this bit of madness while it’s here.


Revival #21

Officer Dana Cypress has left Wisconsin for New York to investigate the possibility that a Reviver has broken the quarantine to head for the Big Apple. What she finds is that the rest of the world is obsessed with the mystery of what happened in Wassau — along with a dismembered murder victim with a gory secret. Meanwhile, her sister Em is hanging out with a fellow Reviver named Rhodey who’s decided that the way to fix her slow deterioration is to get her to embrace her undead immortality. And teabagging wannabe-terrorist Edmond Holt is trying to get his hands on Cooper, Dana’s son and the sheriff’s grandson, for nefarious purposes.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of smaller storylines running through this, and they’re all being advanced suitably and interestingly. That doesn’t sound like much, but moving multiple storylines forward in only a few short pages seems to be a dying art form in some corners of the comics world.

Today’s Cool Links:

Comments off