Comic Book Review: Goners #4
Goners #4 has some big plot twists, its spookiest monsters yet, and a compelling emotional core as it mixes the conspiracy thriller and horror genres. Writer Jacob Semahn delves into real childhood fears, like your parents not being what they seemed, to make his protagonists Josiah and Zoe Latimer relatable while letting artists Jorge Corona and Steve Wands run wild drawing a plethora of monsters, tentacles, and frightened humans. Wands is truly the creative team’s glue as his inks add depth to Corona’s backgrounds and cartoon-style figures, and his letters help shape the tone of story as monsters sneak up on unsuspecting morgue attendants or Josiah and Zoe try not to be revealed. Colorist Gabriel Cassata also contributes to this eerie tone with his grey/red wash over the story.
However, there’s one sequence in Goners #4 that is truly innovative as Corona and watercolorist Morgan Beem show Josiah’s near-death trance in a Skottie Young-esque style. It keeps the same reds and expressive faces as the main story while delving into the origins of the monsters chasing Josiah and Zoe and the secrets of the Latimer family. Semahn doesn’t follow origin story tropes and continues to give the Latimer parents an active and creative role in the narrative that goes beyond an Uncle Ben floating head telling Peter Parker about power and responsibility. His plot also picks up the pace while still giving Josiah and Zoe time to process the death of their parents while on the run from monsters.
Jorge Corona’s art style in Goners #4 may take some time to get used to, but it’s pretty damn fun to look at. A couple of his establishing panels might not transition into close-up panels, like when Josiah and Zoe go from an interior to an exterior setting, but the for the most part his art is emotive, bouncy, and incredibly creepy. Because the comics medium lacks the capacity for “jump scares” like film, Semahn and Corona creates terror through pacing or evocative imagery, like blood scraped over a security video. Wands’ sound effects add a subtle tension to the proceedings before the monster even shows up. And when it comes to the monsters, Corona gives them a great level of detail, and Semahn truly sets them loose in his plot, especially as the issue starts to reach its conclusion.
As Goners begins to reach the end of its first arc, the threat level of the comics reaches fever pitch as Semahn and Corona unravel the secrets around the Latimer family and their relationship to things that go bump in the night. But characterization doesn’t take a hit underneath the gore, shotgun shells, and resuscitations. One of the best part of Goners is that Josiah and Zoe talk like a kid and teenager respectively. Semahn and Corona’s genuine care in constructing these characters (along with the spooky monsters and atmosphere) is what makes it one of the best horror comics along the stands. The plot twists and watercolor dream sequence are nice touches which make Goners #4 the best issue of the series so far.