‘The Goon: Once Upon a Hard Time #2:’ Advance Comic Book Review

No man is an island.

The last time we saw the Goon, he was waiting for the end to come in a manner most . . . well, it sure wasn’t gonna be all sunshine and tea with biscuits.  Sitting down on a bench near the bus station, Goon sits down with a classic novel, and Eric Powell teaches us that novel in a way that no classroom ever has.

H.G. Wells penned The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1896, and there is a lasting power in this work that can affect us even today, when our society is even more inclined to bend the natural order to our will.  I won’t take time here to espouse all the accolades of this seminal work, but if you have not read it, this will be an excellent chance to be introduced to the world and may spark your interest in the novel, which I can only believe is for the good.  I will, however, chat about the parallels that Powell magnificently weaves between this story, examining the human spirit and his tormented hero.

At its core, the novel asks if man is an animal, and the only thing that prevents our basic instincts from rising to tear down what has been built, then how much control do we really have over those baser natures, seeing as how they bubble to the surface as often as they do.  How advanced can we be if the only thing keeping us from tearing in the mud are the rules we must recite to remember?  The Goon is looking at the end of his reign, the allowance of letting it all go and allowing the animal to run and ride to ruin while everything falls in its time.  Much like Prendick at the end of his story, the Goon stands before us open and vulnerable, walking an edge he can barely see, letting us wonder which will emerge: the beast or the man?

There’s a subtle genius to this issue, and it’s not just on Wells' part.  It’s easy to assume that this was an easy issue, just drop a work from the public domain into your title and wait for the next issue deadline, but that’s nowhere near what’s going on here.  Powell first shows an incredible hand at adapting and condensing a classic novel into a 32-page book and still not have it fill every page.  It’s amazing and letting it flow over the actions of the Goon before us as a soundtrack to his mind, being brought in with the artwork as almost a ghost over the spine of the text is impressive and wonderful.  He mixes his character with that of Wells, and like a double helix, they weave among each other and show us a depth of character within both, making each more accessible and complex by the end of the issue.

Powell keeps dropping incredible commentary and emotional gravitas into his monster-bashing slugfest book with all the dark and drippy humor.  I keep finding new reasons to love the Goon and everything he is, the piles of tragedy that accumulate at his feet that he casually steps over or through, and the perseverance of a spirit that just won’t freaking quit.  Get learned when you pick a copy up.

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Last modified on Monday, 31 December 2018 22:01

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