Even though The Goon #41 doesn’t really feature the Goon, it’s still another kick ass entry from writer/artist Eric Powell. The world of The Goon is just too damn interesting to back away from, even if it’s a secondary character or new villain telling the tale. Hyper-reality fused with the occult is always going to be a winner. When it’s held together by Powell’s acerbic dialog and brutal storytelling, things just ooze with awesome-sauce.
Goon #41 tells its tale from the point of view of a beggar. This is no ordinary beggar, he used to be a great zombie priest, but now he simply sits in the dirty gutter and waits for people to pay him to put hexes, curses and general horror into others lives. Interestingly enough, Powell’s miserable magical misanthrope combines the lessons learned from W.W. Jacob’s “The Monkey’s Paw” and the '80s horror flick Pumpkinhead. Basically, what you wish for will curse both the target and you in a most awful way.
The first person is a lonely and homely girl who wants nothing more than for the dashing and rich man she loves from afar to love her back. The priest grants her wish by making the dashing man a bug-eyed mutant creature with jagged teeth that oozes mucus. The condition costs the man his fortune and the homely girl, disgusted at her dreams being dashed, tells the man her story and even blames him for it. The man kills her instantly. Then The Goon is paid by the girl’s family to kill the man.
Next, we learn about a man who is viciously jealous of his brother over his brood of healthy boys. This man hates that he only has girls and thusly pays the priest to make sure the next child his brother has is no boy. The priest fixes it so the next child is a six-eyed rat mutant who kills the mother during childbirth and then eats the father and all the boys. The Goon then came in and slaughtered the mutant rat child. The man who sought to have his brother lose his children was convinced by the priest to slaughter his wife and then he’d get a boy. The man went insane and killed himself.
So it goes, on and on and the stories become more and more grisly. At the end, Powell sets up a coming battle for The Goon. Powell’s sense of what makes the macabre both scary and funny is at the heart of The Goon #41. As you read the book, you're repulsed by a story that you’re laughing at. Powell also makes this work with his particular brand of art. I love how Powell pencils – how much larger and life and dripping with sickening detail his stuff is. The Goon is one of those books that sneaks up on you and knocks you out.
(4 Story, 4 Art)