"The Goon: Once Upon a Hard Time #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written and Illustrated by Eric Powell
2014, 24 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on February 4th, 2015
The Goon has always been a pretty lighthearted comic. Once you get past that gruff exterior, you've got a guy that likes brawling and boozing. That was before his heart was ripped out. A number of the Goon's enemies joined forces in Occasion of Revenge and played him hook, line, and sinker. Now he's pissed. You've seen him mad before, but it's been nothing compared to this. The Goon has reached new levels of rage. The witches tried to break him, but they may have created a monster.
Once Upon a Hard Time shows a version of the Goon at the end of his rope. He has nothing left to lose, so he's ruthless in his revenge. There are no jokes or gags as he gets into a fight. He's cold and methodical as he enacts his vengeance. What's really scary is just how dangerous he's become not only to his enemies, but his friends closest to him as well as himself. There's a damn near perfect scene towards the end of this issue after the Goon has just finished a particularly brutal act that shows just how self-destructive he's become.
The people surrounding the Goon can do little more than watch as he spirals out of control. They understand what he's going through and they feel bad for him, but he's lashing out at them too. It's not just yelling at them either. He's violent. It's tough to be supportive when your huge buddy is ready to tear you and everyone else limb from limb.
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The Goon's enemies started this whole mess with a cocky attitude. They had finally put one over on him. Now the tables have turned and they are scared for their lives and rightfully so. You can see this pass over them like a wave as the Goon marches towards them. They suddenly realize what they've done and how every last one of them is going to pay for it.
Writer / artist Eric Powell fills this book with heart. You want to reach out and give the Goon a hug and tell him that everything will be all right. Most of this issue is in black, white, and shades of grey. Color is used sparingly. This helps cement the Goon's demeanor. It shows how he's seeing the world now that he's devoid of all emotion save for rage. There are no smiles here. There is only despair.
The Goon: Once Upon a Hard Time is a tale of revenge that puts the Taken movies to shame. It's a cold and callous take on vengeance. You have a man that has been pushed to the breaking point. You almost feel sorry for the witches because there is little they can do to stop the Goon at this point. He's coming for them and it's going to get bloody.