"The Goon: Wicked Inclinations" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Originally Published as The Goon #14 - #18.
Written and Illustrated by Eric Powell
2006, 130 Pages
Graphic Novel Published on November 30th, 2011
I'm still getting into the wide world of The Goon, but I can tell from what little I've read already that this is certainly a book that is damn fun. The title character is a rough and tough enforcer of union rules in a world where zombies roam the streets led by a dark priest who may or may not be Rumpelstiltskin. Accompanying our hero in his adventures is big-butt loving Frankie, who's quick with a gun or a smartass remark.
Wicked Inclinations collects five issues from the early days of The Goon. We're given a bit more back story to that dastardly priest and Buzzard, a strange ally of The Goon who keeps an eye on the cemetery with his trusty rifle in exchange for bullets. There's some dark magic afoot when an old gypsy comes looking for one of the patrons of Norton's Pub. No one gets terrorized by the likes of this scum when The Goon is around.
The humor in The Goon is what makes the comic so much fun to read. It's definitely dark stuff, but it works so well here. This volume is worth picking up if only for the description of "Satan's Sodomy Baby." At the time that the book was first released, Satan's Sodomy Baby had some controversy surrounding it and you can probably guess why. The issue was delayed, so in its place author / artist Eric Powell showed Frankie reading it in the last chapter of this story. His comments on the contents are elaborate and make you really wonder what's inside. SSB was eventually released as a separate book and now I have to track that down just to see what all the hub-bub is about.
Powell's art is superb. Everything looks fantastic from the giant spiders to the killer clowns with razor sharp teeth to the weird demon mother popping out kids. The images themselves might be a little disturbing, but they look damn good.
This trade also includes a series of short stories featuring The Goon. Powell is involved with them all in some way, but other writers and artists pop in to put their spin on the character. They're all humorous tales that fit within The Goon world perfectly. My favorite of the bunch is Spike, written by Tom Sniegoski and illustrated by Michael Avon Oeming (with colors by Eric Powell). The art is crisp and fun but the real treasure is the story. It's ridiculous and shows just how far you can get with dark humor in this book. I'm not going to spoil it too much, but let's just say that there's an unfortunate incident with an infant and a football celebration.
I don't know if I've said it enough, but Wicked Inclinations is a fun book. It's filled with monsters, zombies and other things that go bump in the night, but it also has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. Powell's humor is great and it's refreshing to see a comic that doesn't take itself too seriously. Yes, people are dying and evil is out there, but there's no reason that our heroes can't relax and have some beers while they're saving the world.