Filed under: Comic Reviews, Dark Horse Comics | Tags: BenTemplesmith, CriminalMacabre, EricPowell, STEVENILES, TheGoon
Having read both Criminal Macabre by Steve Niles and The Goon by Eric Powell in their individual titles, my excitment was sparked to see a one-shot featuring them both. I figured Dark Horse has struck gold here and I was surely onto a winner.
The Goon is a revenge-driven thug who pretty much spends his time taking care of any zombies, ghouls or anything else weird that may threaten him. Cal MacDonald, the main character from Criminal Macabre, is a drug-taking, alcoholic monster-hunter/detective. With characters like these, you’ve got to think that there’s going to be some weird shit happening in this issue and that’s exactly what we get. Both hired by opposite sides of a werewolf/vampire war to kill their enemy, which brings them both into a strange parallel dimension.
Things kick-off (and I MEAN kick-off) with Cal and Goon beating the crap out of each other, the banter and sarcastic comments between the 2 are vintage Steve Niles – we even have the civilized meeting of the sidekicks – Franky (Goon’s foul-mouthed friend) and Mo’Lock (Cal’s Ghoul partner) which seems strangely fitting. Franky and Mo’Lock head-off in pursuit of a cloak-wearing stranger as Goon & Cal close out their fight with a mutual realization that they’ve been duped into something.
The pursuit of the cloaked stranger gets Mo’Lock & Franky no-where but they do get a book, which they think holds the secret to why they are here, although they ultimately end up tearing the book in half and throwing in the air to let Franky shoot the pages. Weird builds on weird as they meet up with their ‘employers’ and discover their true foes in this crazy old world and those are pretty much every weird-ass monster/creature you can think of. They proceed to shoot, punch and kick their way through to the end of the book, where we get an unexplained cameo from another Dark Horse character and the closing statement of ‘End?’.
The premise of this issue was great and it works from the point of view that we get to see two great characters going toe to toe. The problem I have with this issue, is that if it IS a one-shot, it doesn’t explain very much and the ending has it reading more like the start of a three or four issue mini. This gives it a kind of lazy edge to me and that’s the 1st I’ve seen this from a writer like Steve Niles who, lets not forget, gave us 30 Days of Night. The art by Christopher Mitten is great and very typical of the art you’d see on one of these tales of weird, although I’d preferred to have seen some artwork from Eric Powell, co-writer, other than just a variant cover.
To work, at least for me, we’d really need to see a follow-up issue, which would mean we’d have a “2-part one-shot mini” and that just makes my head hurt.
ps. I HAD to show the extra pinup that appears in among the last few pages of the issue from the AMAZING Ben Templesmith… enjoy!!
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