Thursday, July 21, 2011

Comic Review: Criminal Macbre/The Goon: When Freaks Collide

Hellboy? Dethklok? And now Criminal Macabre?

That's right. Dark Horse Comics treads familiar territory as Eric Powell's big, lovable brute the Goon and his world of weirdo, orgy monstrosity heads for another crossover. This time in Steve Niles' LA darkened rumpus, Criminal Macabre.

Is it a marketing attempt to urge more readers to different titles (the way the Hellboy/Goon one-shot slugged me a shiny and turned me a Goon fan for life)? Or is it two creator's attempt to, uh... umm... how to put this? squeeze our pockets for a little more child--*ahem*--excuse me, chicken feed? 

The answer: Neither.

The outcome of this one-shot is hard to describe. Imagine the cartoon Garfield and Friends paired with Thundercats because they both involve felines. Now imagine the film Rush Hour shaken and stirred with Enter the Dragon because of mixed-racial casting. Well, in this one-shot the common denominator happens to be monsters. In Powell's world, the Goon fights slack-jaws and an undead priest. In Niles', Cal McDonald fights off werewolves and vampires. Mix the two together and we should get a big bag of dead monsters and awesome camaraderie between our favorite monster slayers. Sounds good, right? But considering the two completely different tones of storytelling featured in Criminal Macabre and The Goon, it's tough to call this a good choice.

Fans of The Goon will instantly notice a change in direction from their comically morbid world into a serious comic entity. This is sad to say too, since it is Eric Powell listed in the front cover as the one providing the "Farts and Negativity." Sadly, no farts were made during the reading of this comic (unless they were made by yours truly) and little to any comedy panned out in the story (I blame Niles for this one. After all, he is credited the storyteller).

But the truly remarkable feature in this comic is Christopher Mitten's artwork, most particularly when it comes to action sequences. Mitten hones in on the epicenter of each delivered movement with a strong fluidity. The amount of awesome rock'em, sock'em action in this comic is a big plus. One minute the Goon and McDonald rebel rouse one another in stunning clarity, while in the next they fight along side an ominous horde of Lovecraftian ghoulies. Good times, ahoy!

By the time I finished this comic, I was truly happy I made the purchase. The story bounced around a bit before delivering the goods and ultimately paid off with decent artwork. I'm afraid new-readers will lose out on The Goon's full effect here around. This comic is certainly nothing like The Goon/Hellboy one-shot where the creator's offered even tastes to both characters. In adjustment to this one-shot, I'd recommend Powell's most recent publication The Goon #34, which delivers a very different story but far more original than this mash-up.

Truthfully, this story doesn't matter much in either of the two series and only introduces Criminal Macabre's plot with the hopes of luring new readers in Nile's direction. There are plenty of incentives to this comic that are well worth the four bucks (like extra artwork by Ben Templesmith and Christopher Mitten, and *gasp* a brief Hellboy cameo!). But sadly, Nile's story is too uninteresting, I think I'll sit on the golden egg dubbed The Goon for the time being and try to ignore further Dark Horse mix-tapes. Nice try Niles.

1 comment:

  1. YAY! Nice first post, but I must admit that I didn't read it all--mostly because I don't really follow comics, so I have no clue what you're talking about.

    With that said, I did get a sense of what it's all about through your descriptions. I love the way you use some pretty inventive mash-ups. And the humor is very simplistic in that it's not trying too hard or so overbearing that your point is lost.

    So that's my review of your review. Can't wait to see what you come up with next!