“Virtue and the Grim Consequences Thereof” is the fourth trade paperback in Eric Powell’s “The Goon” series and just like the three previous offerings, provides a hearty helping of fun. However, unlike the older tales, this book pushes the boundaries of the series in another direction, while still giving us a great story and pages of beautiful art.
Different from the older books in that there is less of a zombie influence this time around, “Virtue and the Grim Consequences Thereof” is more of a sidestep for the series that doesn’t get too industrious until the last few stories. The first story is a football one, that features the Goon as a fullback. Overall, it’s an interesting story that also fills out some more of his still largely unknown origin and development. For that, it’s an important tale in the series, but in spite of that, it’s still a worthwhile read that never feels like filler.
One story that does feel a bit like an add-on is the “Christmas Carol” story that features the nameless man as Ebeneezer Scrooge. Despite having its moments of fun and hilarity, the story is saved by the Goon’s sidekick, Frankie, [playing the ghost of Christmas past] who exclaims in one panel to Scrooge: “Knuckle Up, ya old fart! A man who throws aside a looker like that needs his clock cleaned.” This is what gets the tale going in the right direction and is the first in a long line of beatings to the nameless man.
After these two fun side stories, the book gets back on its course and that’s where things get interesting. It seems that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy’s health problems are taking a huge toll on him and he needs the Goon’s help. The twist and turns along the way make this story one of the best in the series and prove that Powell doesn’t need Zombies in his stories to hook readers in. Alloy by himself is an interesting character study and when paired with the Goon and Frankie – the hilarity and story practically writes itself.
With a fresh story, the art is stepped up a bit as well, as both Alloy and the Goon have slightly different costumes. The introduction of a few other new characters also spices up the art and returns the series to the more whimsical feel that it had through the first few issues. Several splash pages capture this feeling and make turning the pages so easy that the book can be read much quicker than you’d expect.
And just like the other trades in the series, it all seems to end all too quickly.
This is one series that continues to grow with time and push boundaries in both its writing and its art, as you can do much worse than “Virtue and the Grim Consequences Thereof.” It’s funny, charming and endearing and has robots, zombies and Spanish-speaking lizard men – what more could you ask for out of a comic book series?