Review: Freaks Collide

The Goon crosses over with Criminal Macabre for a spot of memorable supernatural insanity.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Freaks Collide

What could be better than a Steve Niles Criminal Macabre comic featuring degenerate Cal Macdonald and his right hand ghoul Mo’lock? How about one that also features The Goon and his right hand creepy buddy Frankie?  Welcome to the world of Freaks Collide, a one shot that brings together these two giants of the supernatural beatdown into a comic that will please even the most hard-nosed horror/comedy lover. Werewolves, Vampires, parallel dimensions, fisticuffs and monster violence, Freaks Collide pretty much has everything you could want, save for zombies, and maybe strippers. Perhaps stripper zombies or zombies having sex with dead strippers or….

I digress.

The story from Steve Niles isn’t especially complicated but it does come with some nice twists and turns. Though only credited with “farts and negativity”, I’m guessing Goon mastermind Eric Powell penned the script. It has his natural flair for dialog. Opening with a battle between a Werewolf gang and a Vampire gang, Freaks Collide feels like a Golden Age cops and robbers story with a supernatural vibe to it. The two gangs have that “I drove loud over the squealers to get the dope on da goods and da drop on da baddies” style, which works perfectly for The Goon. The real surprise here is how well Cal Macdonald’s more 70s exploitation film sensibilities fold right into a story like this. With both Cal and The Goon hired by the opposing gangs, it’s only a matter of time before they meet and, of course, start beating the shit out of each other.

As the fisticuffs rage on, it’s up to Frankie and Mo’lock to figure out why they were brought here and why the whole case feels off. The Goon and Cal stop beating on each other long enough to notice the hundreds of random monsters waiting to kill them. Armed with a trusty wrench and guns blazing, the two start doing what they do best, killing bad things. When all of this comes to a head, the big revelation seems oddly cliché, and would be in the hands of lesser writers. What makes the end of Freaks Collide so good is the inter-play between Frankie and Mo’lock and Goon and Cal. This isn’t about being the most original story ever, but more one that’s a blast to read. The last page will be a nerdgasm for anybody who reads it and I hope it leads to what it seems it might. I won’t ruin it for you, but trust me, if you love comics, you’ll be as excited as I am.

The only drawback for me is the art. Don’t get me wrong; Christopher Mitten is an extraordinary artist. His images are dark and creepy; his thin pencils give a sickly and evil look to what’s going. I absolutely love how he approaches the human form and his ability to convey action and movement within the panels. Even with all that, he’s not Eric Powell, and Freaks Collide screams for that Eric Powell art. I’m also not a huge fan of how Mitten draws The Goon and Frankie. As much as I was enjoying the story, it seemed incomplete without Powell’s touch. My nitpicking aside, Freaks Collide is an epic book and one hell of a lot of fun.