Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Review: The Goon: Chinatown and Mystery of Mr. Wicker

I heard about The Goon: Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker from one of book blogs that I follow and read to see what is all out there in the reading world. I decided to give this graphic novel a try for several reasons.
1. I always trust the judgment of this blog.
2. I needed something quick to read as I wait for Mockingjay
3. I love the graphics in this graphic novel and was intrigued to read the storyline
4. I found out it is going to be a movie and that made me super excited after I finished this graphic novel.

Here is a quick summary from Amazon

Eric Powell, multiple Eisner Award-winning creator of The Goon, explores a darker and more intimate side of the genre-busting cult hit in The Goon Volume 6: Chinatown - a formative chapter from the Goon's early years as the Labrazio family enforcer. Collected in softcover for the very first time, the critically acclaimed Chinatown marks Powell's first self-contained graphic novel, which chronicles the misadventures of Goon and his wisecracking sidekick, Franky. When a mysterious new figure enters the crime scene and begins taking out the Goon's business operations one by one, the Goon struggles to keep the city's organized crime under his control as his mind is haunted by the memories of his darkest moment... when his mind and body were left scarred... and his heart was left black.

My thoughts

Not until writing this review did I realize that I was reading Volume 6. I did not even know this was a series. I try not to read too much about the things I read in order to avoid any spoilers. I really enjoyed this graphic novel. I think the credit goes to Eric Powell who created a graphic novel that despite me not reading the previous works I still understood the storyline and loved the scenarios that unfolded. Another part of me is very excited to know that now have more to add to my TBR pile as I want to read the rest of the storyline of The Goon. I really liked Goon. He does some things that are not always good and positive, but you cannot help but like the guy either. He is one of those comic characters that is good, but does not always go about doing good things. He is an unlikely hero…in many ways it strikes a chord with some of my favorite characters in books and movies. That character who is bad and does not take crap from anyone, but at the same time is trying to do well. The examples are endless of this type of character.

The artwork was amazing. I am not a critic of graphic novel artwork by any means, but as a not so regular graphic novel reader I really enjoyed looking at the pictures. The use of black and white with times of sepia tone and subtle color really sold me. The few cases of blood in red really showcased the fighting and violence of the storyline.

I read this one sitting which I have not done in some time. I read this while my kids were outside. I was sucked into this world and when it ended I was like, “Oh man!” The libraries around me do not have any other of the collections to check out so it looks like I will be spending some money to buy the rest of the series. It will be worth the money.

I will give caution that there is some violent scenes. I don’t want to say that is not YA, but I know YA is not the intended audience. However, I know that the YA audience is also the one that will most likely read this graphic novel. There are some uses of profanity and some other situations that may not be kid appropriate. Nothing is over the line and many elements are suggested through the excellent artwork. However, as I always state my reading audience ranges from 4th grade on up and this is something that I would not suggest to a younger crowd. I would aim for 8th grade and above, but some 7th grade could probably handle it. Just beware of these things.

Overall, a great surprise as I wait for my book to come in the mail. The graphic novel was a pleasant surprise that just opened my eyes to a great new series (new to me anyways). A pleasant surprise as the website is super cool. And a pleasant surprise knowing that a movie is in the works.
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