Hands down Eric Powell's crude-laden, double-fisted tales of The Goon is one of the best horror-related comics to emerge in the last decade. A bold statement, I know, considering the equally impressive work of writers like Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) and Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash), but it just seems to me as if Powell has truly grasped the warped sentiments of E.C. Comics golden age when horrifying things were both to be feared and entertaining.
That being said, its been pretty slim pickings in The Goon universe (The Goon-iverse??), with Powell concentrating his skills on other areas. One of these areas has been expanding Goon's supporting cast in the form of the 3 issue miniseries, Buzzard. Buzzard follows the titular character on his search for purpose, and possibly, final reward. His origin having been well documented since his first appearance in --, Buzzard is essentially a cursed shell of a man who is destined to "live" forever feeding on the undead.
He also played the original Scarecrow in the 'Wizard of OZ'
With the conclusion of the miniseries last week, I decided it was an appropriate time to take a look back and see if Buzzard would be enough to curb my Goon fix. The short answer is... not quite. While the overall feeling of the book is all Powell, there's a sense that the balance between art and story is tilted a little too much towards the former. Don't get me wrong the words that do accompany Powell's beautifully rendered pages are the work of a true poet, but as a single issue its much too quick of a read. It also lacks the trademark sarcastic wit of its parent publication which suits the nature of the character but ultimately detracts from the desired experience.
As a bonus, Powell and artist Kyle Hotz also provide a serial tale of Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities that features the outlaw himself along with a cadre of his colorful characters that I'm not familiar with. Unfortunately, I've never been the biggest fan of Hotz' work and while he seems to persevere in the horror comics genre I couldn't help but feel a little shortchanged by the lack of both content and artwork in this first issue of Buzzard.
For fans of The Goon, I might would caution you to wait on the trade for this one with the hope that it will include extended content and/or sketches. The lack of story just can't justify the $3.50 price tag even despite the back-up Billy the Kid feature. If you're looking for an excellent tale of western terror whose main character is an "undead" gunslinger, then I might suggest checking out Kevin Ferrara's Deadlander (also by Dark House Comics).
The Goon's 'Man Without a Name' needs a better backstory