Archive for Goon

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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No Habla Espanol, Senor Goon!


The Goon #44

Well, it’s an issue almost entirely in Spanish. And there’s not a translation. And I don’t speak Spanish! Oh, Eric Powell, why must you hide the crazy stuff that Franky says away from me?

Basically, as far as I can tell, the Goon and Franky are smuggling hooch into Mexico. But they’ve also accidentally smuggled in a booze-loving monster called El Hombre Lagarto! Which I’m pretty sure means “The Lizard Man!” He also loves chickens! And pretty women! And singing! Soon enough, there is fighting. Also: Tom Waits and Li’l Jon.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yeah, I’da loved knowing what lunacy was being spouted by everyone. But even without translations, this was bizarre and hilarious and violent. And thus, it was The Goon.


Revival #15

While Dana Cypress tries to piece together the mystery of who murdered her sister Em, the local government is confiscating everyone’s livestock — there are fears that whatever created the revivers is in the groundwater — and in all the cattle and chickens in the area. And young reviver Jordan Borchardt — who, despondent over losing her chance to die again, went nuts and cut off her eyelids last issue — gets turned over to the CDC for study. And the local anti-government wingnut is working to start up his own private militia.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This series doesn’t often feel like a mystery to me — the horror is very, very strong in this one — but this one felt like a mystery. Lots of clues being dropped, lots of people thinking about what’s going on, lots of people scheming to get their way. It feels like a real noir in this issue.


Pretty Deadly #2

Well, a lot of stuff happens. And it looks pretty cool. And it might be well written. But dang it, I can’t tell for sure, ’cause I’m not really sure exactly what’s going on.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Listen, I don’t even know most of these characters’ names. How am I supposed to care what’s happening?

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Why City of Heroes never had a chance.
  • Okay, Alan Moore is trying to sell some projects, so of course he’s gonna say some controversial stuff. But to a not-insignificant degree, it’s kinda bullshit. You could say this stuff about any dedicated, passionate fanbase, from comics to gaming to music to sports to politics…
  • Long but enjoyable article about the infamous Max Headroom signal intrusion.

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The Hero Sandwich List of Favorite Comics for 2012

Well, 2012 is almost over, and I’m absolutely delighted to see it go. This has been, without a single doubt, the absolute worst year of my life.

My grandmother died in January — she was 100 years old, but nope, you’re never prepared for that, never, never. Three friends died of cancer. We lost Ray Bradbury. I was diagnosed with diabetes. “City of Heroes” was shut down.

Oh, I know, there are lots of ways it could’ve been worse. Lots of people have gone through more horrible things this year, and I’ve got it relatively good. My family is healthy and happy. I have a job that keeps a roof over my head, food on the table, and comics in the longboxes. I’ve lost about 45 pounds since July, and my health is overall pretty good.

Nevertheless. It’s been a deeply unpleasant, depressing, sorrowful year, and I won’t be at all sad to see it end.

And ya know, this hasn’t been a very good year for comics, either.

We’ve had to sit through DC firing Gail Simone from “Batgirl” for no apparent reason (and then hiring her back when they realized that she was much more popular than anyone else at the company); DC shutting down “Hellblazer” so they can try to turn John Constantine into a superhero; fans responding to the (truly awful sounding) Amazing Spider-Man #700 by making serious death threats against writer Dan Slott (Pff, like Slott came up with that? Joe Quesada and Alex Alonso probably thought that one up, then assigned him to work on it.); DC just straight up being a dick to Alan Moore almost all year long with the (mostly ignored by readers) “Before Watchmen” comics.

And dominating geek news for the entire year has been the bizarre hostility in comics and gaming toward anyone who isn’t a straight white male. In a lot of ways, the gaming industry has been far worse with the hating-on-everyone problem, but the new obsession with Fake Geek Girls is largely focused on the comics fan community, especially cosplayers. Tony Harris’s bizarre misogyny helped play it up, but DC and Marvel have had more than their fair share of He Man Woman Hater moments, too. Really, would you be particularly surprised if Dan DiDio announced he was firing all the female creators at DC?

I’m probably forgetting some really important awful moments for comics, too, but there have just been so dang many of them…

Even the year’s major successes — the films of “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises” — were really to be attributed more to the skill, talent, and imagination of movie studios than to comics publishers.

DC, of course, has been the leader in bad comics and bad decisions. Marvel’s been a bit better, but has still shown too much enthusiasm for dull crossover events and poor judgement. The independents have been better than both of the Big Two — and yet I’ve still felt mostly bored with the comics that’ve been released this year.

I went through my pull-list earlier this year and stripped a lot of it out. I was tired of spending so much money on comics, of having to find storage space for all my books. And a lot of what I got rid of was actually pretty good. Scott Snyder’s Batman comic, for example, got pulled off my list. It was just fine, Snyder’s still a fantastic writer, and his work on the Dark Knight is just plain some of the best work anyone’s done with him for years. But I still took it off my list because I wasn’t excited about it. It wasn’t a book I looked forward to getting anymore. There were lots of comics like that — The Massive, Dark Horse Presents, Dial H, Demon Knights, Fatale, Frankenstein, Morning Glories, Popeye, Saucer Country, Unwritten, even B.P.R.D. — and I don’t really regret taking any of them off the list.

So what are my picks for my favorite comics of 2012? Here they are, in alphabetical order…


American Vampire

Still the best and most gloriously visceral horror comic we’ve got. Great characterization, art, and plotting make it a winner every issue.


Atomic Robo

Possibly the most consistently fun and entertaining comic out there. Any comic fan who isn’t reading this is utterly, utterly mad.


Avengers Academy

Cancelled long before its time, I loved this one for the great characterization and for its refusal to fall into the same boring traps as other teen-oriented comics. Random, shock-value deaths were avoided, and the heroes got out of plenty of problems by talking instead of fighting.


Axe Cop

This remains one of the best humor comics you’ll find — the Nicolle brothers are still hugely imaginative, funny, and audacious, even years after they started their comic.



Month after month, the best art you’re going to find in any comic book on the stands.



Probably the best pure superhero comic out there. Mark Waid’s Daredevil is fun, charismatic, clever, action-packed, and just all-around fantastic. And the art is usually pretty darn good, too.


The Goon

Rude? Yes. Hilarious? Yes. Unexpectedly emotional? Yes, yes, yes. Eric Powell would probably kick my ass for saying it, but he’s got more heart than any other comic book creator.


Love and Capes

This superhero sitcom is light on the action, but heavy on the humor, awesome characterization, and brainy storytelling. I would like more of you to read this, please.


Punk Rock Jesus

An amazing story combining religion, punk rock, politics of all stripes, science fiction, and our global obsessions with pop culture and entertainment. Sean Murphy deserves to win all kinds of awards for this.



A very fun modernized re-telling of Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark.” Great characters, dialogue, humor, and action, all wrapped up in a very friendly all-ages bow. I want Roger Langridge to make more and more comics, that’s all there is to it.


Wonder Woman

This isn’t really a superhero book at all — it’s part horror comic, part urban fantasy, part reboot of the ancient Greek myths. Half the fun of this is seeing what bizarre new forms the Greek gods and monsters will take.

So that’s what I’ve got for this year. I left off a lot of good comics — books that debuted in only the last few months, books that were cancelled in the first month or two of the year, books that were of unquestionably high-quality but which were nevertheless boring me when I finally dropped them.

What can we hope for in the future? I’m sure not dumb enough to try to make predictions, but I’d like to think that, after a year this bad, there’s nowhere the comics industry can go but up. Unfortunately, my optimism bone done got snapped off, and it wouldn’t shock me a bit to see things get even worse in 2013.

Hold on to your hats, and pray for miracles.

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