Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Skullkickers, Volume 1: 1000 Opas and a Dead Body Review (Jim Zub, Edwin Huang)

Set in fantasyland (think your standard D&D/Word of Warcraft landscape) where your fantasy comes true if you've ever wanted to live in Game of Thrones, a prince is assassinated and his body stolen by a necromancer. The kingdom hires a pair of bounty hunters – a nameless dwarf and barbarian – to bring his body back for burial but things don’t go quite according to plan and soon they have a zombie apocalypse on their hands!

Skullkickers is a light-hearted take on the fantasy genre, mixing in humour and ferocious action that reads like a buddy-cop movie. There isn’t much to the lead characters – or any of the characters really – who’re your standard template dwarf and barbarian characters with the barbarian perhaps written in a slightly more cerebral way than simply just a brawler. There also isn’t much to the plot: the two get their mission, they fight monsters, they get paid. 

Jim Zubkavich’s writing is competent and the story he tells is enjoyable enough but his take on the fantasy genre isn’t especially noteworthy. The back and forth dialogue is snappy without being that clever or funny, but I did feel that the action often ground what little plot there is to a halt. It’s very BIG action where multiple pages and large panels show how the fighting plays out but the action is very unremarkable – a dwarf and a barbarian hacking away at monsters looks exactly what you’d expect and if you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it all.

Edwin Huang’s artwork is ok but it’s very clearly drawn digitally and I’m not the biggest fan of digital art – it just doesn’t look right. It’s a bit too bland and a bit too clean. Though I did like the onomatopoeia in the panels where a stage direction or action is literally written out as a sound effect.

The first Skullkickers book isn’t a complex story nor a very original one but is a decent comic that’s not badly written or drawn. I’m not a big fan of fantasy comics but I still liked it and if you are then you’ll probably enjoy this a lot more than me. Skullkickers is an ok but forgettable comic - for MMORPG addicts who need a rest from their game but don't want to stray too far into reality with any non-fantasy related reading matter.

Skullkickers Volume 1: 1000 Opas and a Dead Body

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