Review: The Goon #35

Evan Dorkin joins Eric Powell to bring us more hysterical, savage and violent adventures for the big palooka and his pal Franky.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Goon 35

“I don’t care where yer Grandmother was brought up, that ain’t no place to keep a baloney sandwich…  tuna maybe”

That’s how writer Evan Dorkin begins the latest adventure, Goon #35, and things only get worse for the Goon and his loudmouth buddy Franky. Goon originator Eric Powell’s stories aren’t fraught with high-minded arcs or much on deep statements about the world we live in. They’re hysterical, savage and violent adventures that take place in the hyper-reality of The Goon. Where else could a giant fifties looking body smasher and his equally retro psychopathic little buddy fight demons, zombies and all kinds of various cult offenders. Its here that the Goon and Franky run afoul of a Circus that is a demonic homage to the movie Freaks.

Goon #35 opens with Goon and Franky driving through a swamp with a man and his monkey tied up in the trunk. There’s no rhyme or reason for it, but when you’re in Goon-land, you learn to accept. During this casual kidnapping/drive a hillbilly with no legs gimps across the Goon’s car causing a crash. Hell bent on beating the crap out of the legless freak, The Goon and Franky stalk him to the entrance of Brigadoon’s Dreamland Circus where the find the freakiest of violent freaks using Circus games to inflict vengeance on those who have abused them. The Goon, with his own interesting moral compass, decides its time for the Circus to go and the head bashing, freak kicking begins.

You have to give Dorkin a lot of credit for his skill at making this Goon story so much fun. When the formula is as consistent as this, humor-smash-violence-dirty jokes, The Goon could easily become boring. Instead, you become enthralled with his reality while at the same time glad you don’t live there. When the giant multi-armed mongoloid freak child is set loose on the Goon and he defeats him by stuffing a human worm of Germanic descent into his wind pipe, you kind of go with it. As over-the-top as it gets (did I mention the legless hillbilly being tarred and feathered by the Goon then “loved” by the freaks before being eaten) there’s always a sense of humor that Dorkin injects that keeps it from becoming too dark to enjoy.

As always Eric Powell’s art is the glue that holds the entire project together. Goon #35 is another tour de force for a man who has a very unique way of drawing the Goon’s surreal landscape. Powell’s work here is more disturbing than usual, especially with the freaks of the circus. It’s the maniacal glee with which Powell attacks these freaks that jumps off the page combined with his ease with action that makes Goon #35 so enjoyable. This stuff isn’t for everybody but for those who enjoy the weird, the funny, the odd and the destructive; Goon #35 is another top-notch entry into that world.