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The Goon Vol. 1: Nothin' But Misery

by Eric Powell

Publisher: Dark Horse

Format: Softcover, black and white, $15.99

Category: Action/Adventure

Dewey: 741.5 POW or FIC POW

Subjects: Comics and comic books, etc.; Fantasy fiction; Action and adventure.

ISBN-13: 978-1-59582-624-4

Reviewed by: Kat Kan

In a typical crime noir story, the Goon would play a small bit part as the lead bad guy's hired muscle. But this is not a typical crime noir story, so the Goon is the main character. He lives in a seaside town infested with all sorts of nasty critters: zombies, gangster fish, monstrous squid, and other things that go bump in the night. Goon and his buddy Franky work as muscle for mysterious gangster Labrazio. Goon is a huge, ugly bruiser with giant fists, a tough brawler; Franky is a short, mouthy, wisecracking shrimp of a guy who's also quick with his fists. A nameless villain who calls himself The Priest has come to town and is creating a zombie army, determined to take over the city for himself. He continually searches for Labrazio and also tries to destroy Goon and Franky, for only by getting rid of them can he rule. Goon and Franky spend a lot of time killing zombies. In their downtime, they search for stolen gold in the haunted DeCaster House, meet the zombie-eating Buzzard (who relates the story of how the Priest destroyed his town and created him), and set out to rescue a couple of kids from weird little nasties at Christmas (wait 'til you see their boss).

The Goon is a wild and wacky mix of crime noir, horror a la Night of the Living Dead and Sam Raimi's horror movies starring Bruce Campbell, and humor (lots of it, and most of it hilariously sicko). The nameless town and its inhabitants look like they came from the 1930s or 1940s, and Powell fills the stories with pop references from that period, mixed in with more contemporary allusions. In a throwback to the old comics, there's no actual use of bad language, and most of the monsters and zombies look like the old E.C. Comics monsters. This will appeal mostly to adults, but anyone who enjoys watching old horror and gangster movies will have fun with the Goon.