Equal parts humor and violence has made Eric Powell’s Goon series a very popular and unique comic book throughout the years. Now he’s bringing his skills to Image Comics with the help of writer Tim Wiesch and a very angry yet short protagonist. We know he can draw, but how is the entire package?
Big Man Plans #1 (Image Comics)
As far as first issues goes you’re quick to find out this is all about character with plot most likely coming in the second issue. The issue cleverly opens with a sequence that exemplifies the revenge, anger and hurt Big Man goes through on a regular basis. From there the issue is all flashback until the final splash page so in large part this is a very straightforward story.
Bunch of jerks.
This comic gets the nature of the story down, showing the pain and hurt required to turn Big Man into a stone cold killer. In some ways the character is similar to Goon in that he’s unemotional and tough, but beyond that they are vastly different. Big Man was used as a weapon, had a very detailed mother/father relationship that shaped him and generally doesn’t care if he is a good person. He’ll mind his own business, but mess with him and you might find a grenade rolling your way. I can’t say this type of character is the most interesting or developed of characters to read about, but for the most part it’s a gritty story told well.
Bullies are the worst!
What sets Big Man Plans #1 apart from any other story about a character who’s reached rock bottom (and then sends it spiraling even further down) is a few shocking moments, an interesting Vietnam War backstory and the scant possibility that our protagonist will find peace. The shock moments are of course only successful with top notch art, which Eric Powell delivers incredibly well. It’s hard to shake the fact that you’re not reading a Goon comic, but once you get in the groove of the issue, especially with the hazy look to the flashback you’ll be right as rain. The shock moments of male nudity and extreme violence help kick up the entertainment value, although it’s hard to find much in the way of variety in the art. The layouts are rather boring, with a lot of panels per page and very rigid rectangular shots. This gives the book a boxed in feel that’s almost claustrophobic and regimented. This might be on purpose to give Big Man’s life story a very controlled and predetermined nature. Powell’s style though is incredibly vivid and realistic looking, particularly in the faces, and while backgrounds tend to be flat and bare it allows the characters to pop. As a character piece that suits the story.
What they deserved?
Is It Good?
This is a great issue if you’re looking for an interesting backstory to a troubled character, hate bullies or just love some ultra violence and nudity to go with your comics. I can’t say it sets a bar as to what to expect moving forward, but it’s entertaining none the less.