Review – The Goon Occasion of Revenge #4 (of 4) (Dark Horse)

21205Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer/Artist: Eric Powell
Release Date: 10th December 2014

In the first issue of this incredible arc, we flashback to the Goon being warned by his aunt that there are snakes in the grass, and only after reading the astonishing conclusion to ‘Occasion of Revenge’ do we fully understand the significance of it. There are indeed Snakes in the grass, and one in particular just slithered up and bit the Goon on the ass!

All along, Eric Powell has subtly been warning us of a unseen danger; e.g. the hidden noose alluded to in the last issue, whilst cunningly distracting us from the obvious threat by playing with our expectations. He’s dangled the much anticipated battle between the Goon’s forces and the coven before us, and just like the titular hero, our attention has been diverted just long enough to allow him to punch us in the gut. Hard. I mean, really hard!

The closing panels of the previous issue, although open to some interpretation, gave us an inkling of what was about to go down, but to see it so beautifully executed on the page in such a starkly brutal manner, was as exciting as it was heart-rending. Powell’s ability to convey pathos through his artwork, is the bridge to the emotional attachment we feel to his characters, and as the realisation slowly creeps across the Goon’s face in those closing pages, it’s hard not to feel the big lug’s sense of anguish and despair.

To some, the final issue may appear to have ended rather abruptly with too many loose ends, but the pitch-black world Powell has crafted for the Goon is also complex and nuanced one, and we were never going to proffered a neatly packaged resolution. In the best traditions of classic noir fiction, we bear witness to a pivotal moment in the transformation of a character who, as Powell stated himself, will never be the same again.

‘Once Upon a Hard Time’ can’t come quickly enough.

Rating: 5/5

MDAVThe Writer of this piece was: Martin Doyle
You can follow Martin on Twitter
You can check out more of Martins reviews and thoughts on random retro things over at Retromuse

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