The Goon in Theatre Bizarre

In this special Halloween one-shot, Goon finds himself trapped in the Theatre Bizarre at the mercy of Zombo the Clown and burlesque queen Roxi Dlite! Theatre Bizarre is a real-life Halloween event held annually in Detroit, the brainchild of artist John Dunivant!

Dark Horse Comics is serving up a very special Halloween one-shot featuring one of its most popular characters –The Goon!  I recommend you buy this book, sit yourself under your reading lamp, turn off all the other lights in your room, and get ready for a good scare…thanks to Eric Powell and Company!

It’s All Hallows’ Eve. Somewhere along a deserted road –shrouded in fog – is a black festival known as Theatre Bizarre. This unholy carnival of horrors is the handiwork of Zombo, a malevolent spirit who “stalks the corridors of time.” Who exactly is Zombo? According to Eric Powell, he is “an observer. A watcher. A trickster. An eater of the young. A spider waiting to trap the unwary in his web beyond the veil. “ During the Halloween celebration, he assumes the form of a Death’s-Head Clown in order to mock the “colorful representations of mirth and joy.”

The Goon, Franky, and The Kid are in a truck on their way to Detroit to help set up their own carnival there. A mysterious fog rolls in and they become separated from the rest of the caravan.  Suddenly, the fog lifts a bit and The Kid notices another carnival along the roadside. The trio decides to investigate. A clown welcomes the newcomers to the Theatre Bizarre and lures them in with the promise of a Halloween Party and plenty of Tricks and Treats. Reluctantly, The Goon follows The Kid and Franky into the mysterious carnival. Franky wanders off, hoping to find a peepshow to  satisfy his insatiable “lust for (women’s) butts.”  Meanwhile, The Goon and The Kid play some games of chance along the midway.

Next, we meet the “Queen of the Cooch”, Roxi D’Lite. She is anxious to leave Theatre Bizarre. However, she has a binding contract with Zombo, signed in blood! The Fortune Teller reveals to her that she might be able to secure her freedom if she were to “find another soul to willingly take” her place.  Roxi spots Franky, aimlessly wandering the carnival grounds, and feels she has found her patsy. Franky makes his way to the Dirty Devils Peepshow, where he encounters Roxi. There, she tricks him into agreeing to take her place in the peepshow in exchange for some “sugar”.  Without any hesitation, Roxi takes off in a hurry.

Zombo materializes, takes one look at Franky, and emphatically states: “Theatre Bizarre…cannot have this troll as Queen of the Cooch! LEAVE MY FESTIVAL AND NEVER RETURN!!” So, the intrepid trio of The Goon, The Kid, and Franky make tracks…jumping back into their truck on their way to The Motor City. Ironically, The Kid is seen reading a magazine entitled THEATRE BIZARRE. Meanwhile, Zombo successfully tracks down Roxi and returns her to the show.

Carnivals have long been great fodder for classic horror stories, and Theatre Bizarre is no exception. Powell’s story is eerie and peppered with scary images. It moves along quickly, and is easy to follow and understand.  Zombo is a first-rate villain, whom –I hope –will appear in a future issue of THE GOON. There is also plenty of humor sprinkled throughout the storyline.  The only downside of this story is that there is very limited physical action…The Goon is seen only throwing one haymaker in the entire book!

The artwork here is fantastic! I especially liked the back-to-back splash pages of the Theatre Bizarre. The use of color is well-done and manages to create and capture a mood as we move from scene to scene. Although The Goon never seems to change expression (and why should he?), the faces of both Franky and The Kid are wildly expressive!  Love-love-love it!

Because of content, this issue is not recommended for younger readers. A mature 15-year-old or 16- year-old would enjoy this comic book. So, please keep that in mind…

Pay a visit to www.darkhorse.com to learn more about THEATRE BIZARRE and other titles of interest.

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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