I didn’t know what to expect jumping into the middle of a series like The Goon. The noirish styling gave the feel of the old Dick Tracey strips, and I was intrigued by the shape and heft of the characters. There are not a ton of books I see where a character design grabs me not so much by the look, but by the intensity behind it. The Goon is just a guy in a hat, no cape, no mask to build into an identity. He seems like the blue-collar working man, an everyman at first glance. But, the menace and honor that seem to radiate from his simple form makes an instant impression, one that made me want to jump in and see what this guy’s all about.
We don’t see a whole lot of the Goon in this issue. It seems things are coming to a head in the series, and most of our time is spent with an ally of his, the Kid. We get to see his story from birth to now, and it’s incredible. The simplicity of the style belies the deep emotional connection that this book is able to put on the page. We’re given a tragic tale with a kid who pushes himself through the crappy hand he’s been dealt and makes us feel every barb he takes throughout the life we’re presented with. The story makes your heart ache for him, and the artwork pairs beautifully with it. The Kid is another everyman, a person whose story could be our own, the successes and failures coming at different times, but none outside of the realm of what we have done ourselves. There’s an incredible skill on display here that can make us empathize so deeply with a character on the page.
By the end of the issue, there’s a choice the Kid must make, whether or not he may have been pushed into it. Based on the trials he’s been through, you’ll see him torn between the person he’s become and the person he’s been made to be. The ending seems tidy, but there’s enough of a chance that the coin doesn’t land the way we expect it to. I’m so excited for wanting to look forward to the conclusion so much.
I had a blast reading this book, and I’m gonna be tracking down the rest of this series and investing some time into this character and the gritty world he seems to inhabit. If this issue is any indication, this is the kind of series that will grab my heart and twist it in some pretty amazing ways. It’s true art to me, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
When language alone fails to convey, there is the need for art.