As we edge ever closer to the final issue of yet another compelling Goon story arc, I have to admit to feeling a few butterflies with regard to the outcome. Those who have been following the arc are probably aware that The Goon as we know him has very definitely changed, but there is a deeper worry that creator Eric Powell may perhaps be measuring the character for a pine overcoat. This latest instalment does little to allay such fears, and ratchets up the tension a few more notches prior to next month’s conclusion.
The events of ‘Occasion of Revenge’ have effected a transformation in the character, and over the course of this story, Powell has gradually peeled back the layers to reveal a more relatable, emotionally engaging anti-hero. Here The Goon is in contemplative mood, almost accepting of the fate that he is sure awaits, and his conversations with Don Rigatti and close confidant Franky, hint at a character caught in the grip of an existential crisis, but still cognizant of his duty to protect others.
The issue also sees the return of Fred Paulsey and Sandy Wayne (two characters who featured prominently in the opening stages of the OOR arc), once more highlighting Powell’s skill in long-form plotting. Depicted as a grotesque and twisted embodiment of the town’s curse, the pair appear to be of great significance in determining the outcome of the war. We also learn about the origins of the town from Skinhat, who recounts his own history in another of Powell’s fascinating story within a story moments.
Artwork, as ever, is of the highest order, and for me, Powell’s skill with a pencil is almost unparalleled in the medium, coming with a level of consistency that never fails to amaze. The issue is teeming with trademark character moments where body posture and facial expressions alone could carry the narrative. There aren’t many artists who can instil a sense of ambivalence in a reader, but Powell has this knack of making you feel sorry for characters you really shouldn’t, Don Rigatti for example, and it’s these moments that truly underscore the power of his work.
The final chapter of this tale cannot come quickly enough, but at the same time, I’m dreading what I might read. One thing is for sure though; it’ll be an absolutely essential read for any discerning comic book fan.