Friday, June 21, 2013

The Goon in Wicked Inclinations (TPB vol 5)

Introductions to these things are great ways to learn interesting, if useless, information.  For instance, Michael Allred wrote the intro to this volume, revealing that his Madman, largely published by Dark Horse, too, was originally going to be called Goon.  At the last minute on the road to original publication it was changed to Madman, but what would Eric Powell have done if Goon was already taken by another writer, and one at the same publisher, no less?  The world may never know.

Ah, but enough of the trivia.  Time to dive into the horrific fun that is Powell's The Goon.  We're up to issues 14-18 now, with some short stories by Powell and others at the end.  The shorts have nothing to do with the larger plot but are nice little gems of the world view of the comic.  A kid stalked by a monster under the sink that shows things aren't as they appear.  An overly exuberant Frankie spiking the prize in a potentially lucrative operartion.  Inbreeding failing to provide salvation.  Stuff like that.

In the issues that advance the plot there are two main elements.  First there's an attack by people from the old country who want revenge for a wrong done by Norton's mother, the old witch who has helped Goon on occasion and is something like family to him.  Buzzard returns from his self-imposed sleepless rest, too.

From there it jumps into the return to power of the Zombie Priest, who appeared to be on the verge of final demise with his supply of zombies drying up.  Leading into that there's back story on the ties between Buzzard and the Zombie Priest that have lead to Buzzard's long time efforts to eradicate the Zombie Priest.  Suffice it to say that these guys won't be friends any time soon.

Anyway, the Zombie Priest is making significant inroads when that plot line more or less stops.  Powell goes into his fictitous censorship issue discussion, Satan's Sodomy Baby, which was supposed to be issue 18.  The actual issue 18 references it, with Frankie reading a copy, while Goon battles Dr Alloy's former manservent, who has reverted to a more monstrous form and is wreaking havoc with anyone who wanders into the swamps.

As always, the Goon is full of pop culture references, mostly of the timeless variety.  There are obvious homages to Mad Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, which I particularly enjoy as a fan of both.  But Powell has his own unique story he's telling and advancing.  The dangling thread of the Zombie Priest is somewhat disappointing but the stories are so well told I can wait to get to the resolution of that plot line.

"Look!  You're a hat."  - Zombie Priest

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