If I write this post with bombast, exuberance, and ridiculousness, it’s because the comic Skullkickers demands it. While other comics might try to play it straight, they can come off as fresh as a “lightly used” pimento loaf.
I realize that analogy may have come off as completely ham-fisted, but to determine the amount of ham comprising the fist, just read on. Because I don’t think the temptation to play it straight ever crossed the mind of Jim Zub, the writer of Skullkickers.
Skullkickers is fun, it’s silly, and it ratchets (hatchets?) up the action in giant-sized bites. There are no tiny bites with Skullkickers, no dainty bites. (Dainty, dainty bites….what is this, cotillion? Dig in, Miss Audrey Farnsworth of the Savannah Farnsworths.)
Review of Skullkickers
OK, enough nonsense talk. It’s time to settle down and give you a good overview of Skullkickers, who it stars, and the storylines involved.
Skullkickers is a buddy comedy in a fantasy setting, ripe with werewolves, alchemists, assassins, fairies, and demons.
At the center of the story are the two buddies, the names of which don’t even really matter, as they slide into recognizable archetypes that allow a reader to simply be absorbed into the action.
- “Baldy” – Hulking and bruising, ironically standing back from action, preferring instead to fire from a distance with a firearm.
- “Shorty” – A hot-tempered dwarf who doesn’t like to “axe” too many questions before he jumps into battle.
These two skullkickers are 111% all-mercenary, willing to kill for a couple copper pieces. You just point them in a general direction, and you’ve hired yourself a couple thugs. But the artwork, which looks like it might fit in a 2D Disney animation, works excellently, preventing the comic from being too hyper-realistic or venturing into the gratuitously violent.
Further, the comic uses sound effect lettering and cut panels that lends it an action-filled and simply storyline that is a joy to read. The call outs are like an old Scooby Doo episode, a cartoon with a laugh track. Seriously, are we supposed to believe it was animated in front of a live studio audience or something? Who cares? It’s entertaining!
In terms of story, the Skullkickers just launch into action, every time. What keeps readers coming back issue after issue is the consequences of those actions push the buddies into increasingly precarious messes. Everything they do inevitably just gets them into hotter and hotter water, until it looks like everything is ready to boil right over.
When the side characters live long enough, they are well-written and add to the adventures. But they all serve to more forward the antics of Baldy and Shorty, as the story thankfully never loses sight of our two buddies.
Skullkickers cares nothing about examining the feelings of the characters, it instead jumps into bigger, pulpier action.
It’s a fun read.
I had read the first couple of issues of Skullkickers last year, but I was in a Half Price Bookstore and just happened to glance over and see the Treasure Trove, vol 1, a hardback which collects the first 11 issues, plus has a slew of bonus content.
The collected handbook was a ridiculously cheap $3, solely because the cover of the book was beat all to heck. But you know what? The Skullkickers wouldn’t care about appearance. They’d just beat their foes over the head with the book anyway.
The collected volume is a great way to jump into Skullkickers and you can get a beautiful copy of the book here. But, you know what? I want to spread the love of Skullkickers. I will mail the beat up first volume to the first reader who contacts me and requests it!
Now go out there and kick some skulls today, nerds! Metaphorically speaking, of course.