Start to Finish: Goners

Unfamiliar with what exactly a Start to Finish article is? Check out our first one for a better idea! This time around, I’m writing about a graphic novel release I previously mentioned in my May graphic novel releases article Goners. I was pretty excited for this one.

Goners comic cover

Goners is an ongoing comic book series written by Jacob Semahn (Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble) and illustrated by Jorge Corona (Teen Titans Go!). I’m writing a Start to Finish article about it because volume 1 was released — a 168-page collection of the first 6 issues — back in May.

Goners is about the famous Latimer family, who have been defending the world from the paranormal for years, and have their own reality show that depicts their endeavors with the paranormal. While working on one of their cases the parents are assassinated while on live television, leaving their kids behind to solve the murder case. Not only do the kids have to deal with supernatural, they have the paparazzi following them around as well, and the pressure of how the world is going to protected without the Latimers around.

When I first read that plot synopsis, I was incredibly excited and instantly went to Amazon to purchase it. I read it as soon as I got it, and here I am — a month later, still puzzled as to why I didn’t like it as much as I had hoped. I’ve put a lot of thought into it, tried rereading some of the chapters I didn’t understand as much, and here’s what I’ve come up with:

It just didn’t make sense.

I’ve reread the most confusing parts, and they still don’t click. I think some would be cleared up in volume 2 (assuming there is one), but other small details were very hard to catch on to and I don’t believe they will ever be settled. In some places, the art got confusing and it was hard to see what happened during some fight scenes which was really unfortunate.

It’s a rough read.

As I mentioned above, a lot of it doesn’t make sense. At first I thought it was my quick reading, but I realized a lot of the connections between issues weren’t established well and I feel like there was a disconnect between art and plot in a few areas. There was a lot of flipping back to previous pages, rereading a whole chapter, and staring at art trying to figure out what exactly was happening. So if you prefer easier, light reads, this isn’t going to be it.

The dialogue came off as too immature.

The two main characters are very young, so it’s expected that the dialogue would come off as young between them. But some of it was just too cheesy – word choice was odd in many places, and in others the dialogue wasn’t developed enough among some of the other characters. For me, dialogue is one of the most important parts while I’m reading and I didn’t particularly like the character interactions in this comic.

The art didn’t match the darker, horror-themed plot as much as I would have hoped.

An example of the art style in Goners.
An example of the art style in Goners.
An example of the art style in Goners.
Another example of the art style in Goners.

The art in itself is great, don’t get me wrong. I really liked the monsters especially. But I think this is where the connection between art and plot comes into play: this was supposed to be (from what I could tell) a very dark and haunting comic. The art was smoother, more cartoony than I would have expected for such a dark plot. I think it lost some of the horror feel it could have had.

So, what did I like?

I’m still a huge fan of the concept for this comic series, and I think it has potential – I’m just not sure if I want to wait around for the potential. I liked one of the main characters: the younger sibling, Josiah. He was one of the most interesting characters and he had some scenes with his late father that were pretty interesting. The other character I thoroughly enjoyed was the children’s bodyguard – a bulky, strong, protective individual who had a lot of personality.

Overall…

I’m starting to get disappointed with the horror comics/graphic novels I’ve been picking up lately (last time I was disappointed about The Wake). Similarly to The Wake, I wanted so badly to love this. Unfortunately I don’t think it hooked me enough to pick up a second volume if it comes out. I read quite a few positive reviews for this one, so if you think it sounds interesting it’s probably worth picking up. But personally it wasn’t for me. I liked the idea of it, but not the work itself.

Let me know what you thought about Goners Volume 1 or your thoughts about Volume 2. Also, if you have any recommendations for great horror graphic novels, send them my way!

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