“The Goon” creator Eric Powell continues his masterful work on his signature series in “The Goon Vol. 12: Them That Raised Us Lament” by successfully mocking pop culture and providing readers with off the wall noir storytelling they can’t get anywhere else.
Leave it to Powell to laugh right in the mainstream comic book industry’s face- and make them love every second of it. Through parody, Powell makes fools of both DC and Marvel comics for everything from “The Blackest Night” series to incessantly changing fabled heroes’ origins and costumes at will, just for more good ol’ media attention.
Powell is no sell out. For years, “The Goon” has gone against comic book mores of this and prior generations. The series has never featured any costume changes, variant covers or media-friendly plot twists. It’s always been just a bully gunrunner, his knife-wielding sidekick and zombies. That’s it.
At the same time, Powell poignantly pushes his own propaganda in The Goon Vol 12: Them That Raised Us Lament. To Powell, comics are better off being untouched by mainstream media. Instead, they are simply stories that affect the reader in a variety of ways. Sure, sales matter, but they shouldn’t dictate the creative future of a series. Even when Powell mocks the industry, he does so in an educated, but hilarious way that makes it impossible not to be entertained.
The same way writers such as Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb can captivate and keep you on the edge of your seat, Powell is able to make you laugh and care about his characters. Goon comics at their heart are Mad Magazine with a soul. There are victims of the follies executed in the comics and Powell never makes you forget that. Even though The Goon is a balls to the wall, ass-kicking machine, he’s a tortured soul with a checkered past. As much as we laugh and smile when he kills a monster or beats up someone for taking his hooch, we know that he’s a beaten man inside. This volume continues this motif.
In this volume, which collects Goon issues 38-41, we get a little bit of everything from the origin of Goon’s “mother,” to a wisecrack tale of comic book industry and finally an update on the undead priest. You’ll laugh a bit, but you’ll also wonder about the future and think about the past. If you’ve followed the series completely up to this point, you know a lot about Goon. But are there any other skeletons in his closet? What about the priest? With a renewed vigor, how far will he go to reclaim his past glory? And when will Frankie stop looking at grandmother pornography? The questions left by this volume are plenty.
Like the other volumes, the book accomplishes its goal of stealing away 45 minutes of your life and makes the wait for another volume an arduous one. Through his multifaceted writing approach and wonderful 50s sci-fi/noir look, Powell makes this volume a winner.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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