Advance Review: GONERS #4


Written by Jacob Semahn
Art by Jorge Corona
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: January 21, 2015

The tortured family of supernatural hunters brings the youngest into their fold through one of the most uncomfortable rites of passage a child can experience. With the death of the mother and father of the Latimer family killed in issue one, the demise continued by leaving us on the cliff hanger with the demise of Josiah.

For those who have not picked up this series, it’s a hyper colorful, violent and emotional steamroller. While taking place in present day, the Latimer adults have a steampunk aesthetic. The family that has been protecting a world fully aware of supernatural threats. As promised in the solicits and summaries, each issue adds to the demise of the esteemed group, told through the eyes of the youngest brother and sister who are almost all that is left. That is something that will be even more impact with readers who are parents or care for children that mean so much to them. The loss of family, the heartache of having to race for your life without being able to grieve and the fact that it is children who are having to deal with the mistakes of the adults is heart-wrenching. Up until this issue, I have cried in at least one point in the first three books. Thinking of my own children having to deal with my mistakes in this fashion is real horror.

The tears are finally drying up in this issue as Josiah’s out-of-body experience. He is subjected to one of horrifying this for any child at any age: “catching” your parents in bed. The twisted difference is that he is subjected to the image in the afterlife, by his father, in order to provide a big reveal. This cringe worthy notion is tempered very quickly by the end result. The resulting cliff hanger from Josiah’s stroll through the afterlife is somewhat abrupt. It may push you to go back and read previous issues. So, just like other great family centered horrors you might want to go back and pick it up from issue one. Not only will this avoid potential confusion, but then you get the full emotional impact of everything that has happened to the Latimer children.

The fate of the supporting cast gets little more of a nod. With the massive amount that Josiah has to deal with in this issue, it’s understandable. It leaves you curious for the results were in the ensuing battle in the city, after the monsters have begun to take over. The story pattern of each book is beginning to show. It’s a combination of creature of the week and continuing the ongoing narrative. Each issue features both hapless or well knowledgeable victims of the new creature shown, who are then hunted by our support cast. The main narrative will always follow brother and sister Josiah and Zoe. Tan textured flashbacks fill in major plot points for both groups throughout the story.

Jorge Corona’s art continues to be the biggest star of the book. His handle of creature design and providing a visual guide to the supernatural is stunning. The color palette is similar to horror books such as Locke & Key, with shocking bright colors and more cartoon features. It provides a deceptively all ages look to the book. You can easily imagine these characters as animated and living on your screen. However, the level of gore, the very adult dialogue and the dark reality of what has been happening over the whole arc make it clear this not an all ages book. This is a story right up FX, A&E or HBO’s style.

At the back of each issue is a creature feature that highlight’s Corona’s design style. It also gives a little bit of background into the terror stalking through each book. Each creature is based on real traditional horror creatures myths and legends from various cultures.  Corona then adds his own twist that provides an extra feeling of terror. The transition of the skin-walker, gracing this month’s cover, transitioning from man to monster, during the story, is seamless. It would be fun if the character profiles at each end were offered in a card collector format.

Horror enthusiasts, readers looking for stories of family centered action and lovers of beautiful cartoon styled art will love Goners. The story is going to speak strongest to those affected by stories of familial loss and secrets being revealed. For those who are simply looking for surface level horror or those looking for all the secrets of the world being built to be spelled out before the plot unfolds need a new book. There is some dramatic world building happening. The creators are writing this story for an audience who is able to handle the anticipation, reveals and follow along with this alternate world of the supernatural dangers being public facts.

The Verdict:  9.0/10


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