REVIEW: The GOON #35
The Goon and Franky wind up in Brigadoon’s Dreamland Carnival, where the carneys are the patrons and normal folks are the “bizarre” attraction!
THE GOON #35
Writer: Evan Dorkin
Artist: Eric Powell
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Editor: Scott Allie
Assistant Editor: Daniel Chabon
Designer: Amy Arendts
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Zombies provided by: Jethro and Earl Zombie Wranglerin’ Inc. and The Adopt-A-Zombie Foundation (Since 1999)
Cover Price: $3.50
Previously in The Goon: I have no earthly idea. I’ve never read this title, and my only experience with it is from the Major Spoilers Podcast review of the first trade in issue 125. Apparently The Goon and his friend/sidekick Franky have captured an Organ Grinder and his Monkey and have them stowed in the trunk of their car, but other than that I have no idea what’s been going on. And that didn’t detract from the issue one bit!
CARNIVAL OF THE BIZARRE
The basic premise of this issue is that The Goon and Franky get sidetracked by some sort of deformed man with only a torso, who I’m going to assume is a zombie or something (since the basic premise of The Goon seems to relate to zombie-fighting). They chase him into the woods, and wind up at “Brigadoon’s Dreamland Carnival,” which is a reference to the musical Brigadoon, which portrays a Scottish village that only appears for one day every hundred years. In this vein, The Goon remarks that there doesn’t appear to have been any activity in the vicinity of the carnival for setting it up, letting us know even if we aren’t brushed up on our cultural literacy that there’s something magical about this locale.
I really enjoyed the banter between The Goon and Franky in this issue; the two have a fun chemistry that is reminiscent of Robert Heinlein’s protagonists. There’s a lot of clever wordplay, and as someone who loves puns almost as much as Piers Anthony, that’s right up my alley. The plot is a variation on a standard theme, but with an amusing twist; the carneys, fed up with normal people mocking them and using them as objects of bizarre ridicule, have put on a carnival for the carneys, where the normal people are the spectacle. The Goon won’t stand for that, as the normal people are being horribly maimed in the process, and proceeds to tear apart the carnival and fend off an attack from the “midgets of all nations” (an hilarious moment). After working his way through the minions, The Goon has to fight the final boss, The “Ten-in-One”–a freak of ginormous proportions, ostensibly composed of ten people in one body, with the appropriate multiplicity of limbs and organs. I didn’t bother counting to verify, but the spirit of the mutant is expressed quite clearly in the art, which is fantastic. The Goon manages to kill The Ten-in-One by force-feeding him one of the carney lieutenants that is essentially a human worm, and then smashes the head of the chief carney on the ring the bell game.
The art in this issue is gorgeously hideous; most of the characters are mutants of some sort or another, and Eric Powell draws disfigured individuals eerily well. The only thing that bothered me with his art was how he handled eyes; Franky for some reason is pupil-less (which must be intentional, as it’s consistently that way include the cover, and has probably been explained at some point in the book, but weirded me out a bit), and all other characters whose eyes we see have very small dot-pupils. Everything else about the art is very skillfully done; I’d never encountered Eric Powell before this, but am eager to find other things that he’s done.
BOTTOM LINE: GO ON, READ THE GOON!
Overall I’m glad I picked up this issue; I didn’t have too hard of a time getting into it, and really enjoyed the lighthearted insanity of the dialogue and the grotesque beauty of the art. I will have to go back and pick up some trades or back issues of The Goon, because if this issue is any indicator, it’s a high quality comic. 4 out of 5 stars from me!