Volume 6 is a departure for the Goon series as it takes on an all together more serious tone. Eric explores the Goon’s early history from his time in the circus to his fledgling steps as a gang leader. The Goon’s loves, betrayals and friendship with Frankie are all fleshed out so that the reader finally understands what made the Goon the man he is today. On top of the great back stories there is also an impressive adversary in the form of the mysterious Mr. wicker driving through the narrative. Going all deep and serious on a comic series that is normally light hearted and funny could have been a disaster for Eric Powell but instead he created a masterpeice.
The artwork in “Chinatown” is gorgeous and it captures the moods and emotions of the story perfectly. Eric chose to use different color washes to illustrate the different time periods of the story and this works really well. Every page is a pleasure to the eye and I found myself going back just to look at the pictures several times after finishing the story.
Not only does this book have great art and great story but there are some great extras too. This is a Goon book that people who are not fans of the series could pick up and read as a standalone novel and still enjoy. I consider this to be the best book in the Goon series so far and it really does pack an emotional punch. ISBN-13: 978-1595824066. 9/10
“The Goon: Rough Stuff” collects the earliest stories of The Goon that were originally published in black and white. Eric goes to great lengths in the introduction to say that this book is not up to the standard of his later work both in terms of Story and writing. I disagree with him here and found both elements to be well up to speed with the later stuff and the newly colored art looks great. Two particular standout stories for goon fans are the introduction to his circus performing family and the back story for how he became the head of a notorious crime family.
The extensive special features and sketches in the back of the book are a real treat and I think the original pencil sketches look even better than the colored art. The artwork is great but the splash pages deserve a special mention as they are awesome. This book is a must buy for Eric Powell and Goon fans. [ISBN-13: 978-1595824684]. 8/10.
Billy The Kid’s Old Timey Oddities starts with Billy the Kid on a train ride after having faked his own death. Unfortunately for him he is tracked down by Fineas Sproule who not only has more than his fair share of hands but also has a job for Billy. After much persusation Billy ends up joining “Broules biological curiositities and wild west extravaganza” on their Quest for the Golems Heart. Things go from bad to worse for Billy when they discover that the treasure is being held by non other that Dr Frankenstein, who seems to have taken on a hobby that would put Herbert West (the re-animator) to shame.
The story is part western, part steam punk and a huge helping of HP Lovecraft style horror. It is oozing with twisted backdrops and grotesque characters. The story has all the hallmarks that make Erics other work, the Goon, so enjoyable to read. Billy the kid is twisted and disturbed but it also has some really funny moments and a satisfying climax. The abused childhood back story for Billy is also really well done.
Kyle Hotz artwork is excellent throughout the book and its insane cartoon style suits the story perfectly. It is definitely worth taking the time to soak in each busy frame as there are lots of things going on. Eric Powells full page artwork that are included in this TPB are absolutely stunning. [ISBN-13: 978-1593074487]. 8/10