Criminal Macabre/The Goon: When Freaks Collide


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Criminal Macabre/The Goon: When Freaks Collide


  • Words: Steve Niles
  • Art: Christopher Mitten
  • Colors: Michelle Madsen
  • Story Title: When Freaks Collide
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jul 20, 2011

Cal McDonald is not a nice paranormal detective. The Goon is not a nice goon surrounded by the paranormal. A war between werewolf and vampire gangs has come to their front doors, and both men have been offered an extraordinary sum of money to take out enemies at the gang's behest. When Cal and the Goon cross paths, can they save the day, or is it up to their oddball allies to do the trick? Dark Horse combines the two paranormal books into one murky stew.

The plot is rather basic; Cal McDonald and Goon run into one another and proceed to fight, while Mo'Lock and Franky meet a man with a magical book that can create anything. At some point, they fight Mafia werewolves and vampires. There's a plot here, but it's very loose and truly just serves as a concept for Goon and Cal to rough each other up for a few pages. A last page appearance of Hellboy only serves to further confound the plot. Surprisingly, this doesn't appear to be a problem with a lack of knowledge of one book or another. The success of crossover titles usually hinges on knowledge of one world or another, but that's not this book's problem. In a few pages, you understand the Goon and Cal McDonald as an angrier Popeye and a knockoff John Constantine respectively. It feels, instead, as if they took a two-part story and put it in one book. Presumably, both sets of characters get teleported to the same world with the same world-shaping book, but any transition isn't made clear until you flip back through and look for it.

Christopher Mitten's art is wonderfully gritty, although it seems to lose some of the cartoonish nature of The Goon. Franky in particular ends up looking less wide-eyed and more soulless and short. Michelle Madsen provides a very muted color scheme to the book, which works with the art style.

Fans of Criminal Macabre and The Goon will need to pick this up, but all others should stay away. A murky plot coupled with art that just doesn't work completely for one half of the cast combines into a crossover book that seems all right in concept, but falls apart in print. This is definitely a book that requires a second read through; not due to quality, but you'll need to read back through it to figure out what's happening. A sequel is teased, but not necessarily warranted.

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