Just when I thought I had Eric Powell pegged as a comic creator who could not tackle serious content, he turns around and puts out The Goon #38. Goon doesn’t make an appearance in this issue, but surprisingly the comic works well without him. Issue 38 is a stand-alone issue that tells the story of Goon’s Aunt Kizzie and her troubled past. Powell sets aside the head cracking and knife in eye jokes for an issue of The Goon with surprising amounts of depth and emotion.
The story of Aunt Kizzie’s past is something between a Greek tragedy and a dimestore romance novel. In short, after being cast out by her family, Kizzie finds herself working as a strong woman at a traveling circus. In a series of increasingly tragic events Kizzie becomes the sole caretaker of none other than baby Goon. Powell writes the various tragedies endured by Kizzie like a man on a mission. Each indignity that Kizzie is forced to face leads her closer and closer to the proverbial rock bottom. That inevitable rock bottom coincidentally syncs up with her unwillingly adopting Goon. For fans of the series, we all know that it is at this point that Kizzie’s life turns around as she raises Goon to become the roughneck he is today.
Powell works with themes that would usually be found in something written by Adrian Tomine, but with much less subtly. Emotions are displayed clearly with very little room for a deep inspection. It is a style of storytelling that bares the raw emotions that are so commonly found in this kind of book.
Powell and Dave Stewart team up yet again to provide some strong artwork and coloring for this issue. Powell does a wonderful job of visual storytelling with paneling and page breaks that capture some the more shocking moments of The Goon #38.
You made a fool of me, Eric Powell. I assumed that The Goon was nothing but action and laughs. Now suddenly you give me issue #38 with all of its sorrow and feeling. I would be genuinely upset if this wasn’t such a great issue. Though it’s probably not the best Goon comic for new fans to start with, The Goon #38 is proof that Eric Powell is more than a one trick pony.