Friday, March 22, 2013

Review -- UNCANNY SKULLKICKERS #1

This Review Originally Ran on Comics Bulletin
Uncanny Skullkickers #1 
(Jim Zub, Edwin Huang, Misty Coats; Image)
4.5/5 Stars
Skullkickers is one of those books. You know the kind. They're the ones that are awesome on pretty much every level, from the storytelling to the art to the packaging to the marketing. Everything works. Yet writer Jim Zub and artist Edwin Huang obviously thought they could do better. So they decided to follow the more "professional" publishers with a "relaunch" and a new concept. The cover of this comic proudly states its intent: "WE FIGURED OUT WHAT OUR SERIES WAS MISSING: ADJECTIVES!
Thus was born Uncanny Skullkickers #1.
Which is actually issue #19 of Skullkickers. But you don't need to know that, because this is aJUMPING ON POINT! It's a NEW NUMBER ONE! It's UNCANNY!
Oh... it is.

And actually, the book really is a good jumping on point. Zub provides a two-page summary of the whole Skullkickers #1-18 that, while seemingly complicated, provides enough background to totally ignore because none of it really matters all that much. Uncanny Skullkickers #1 pretty much stands on its own.
There's a bald guy with an anachronistic gun. There's an elf warrior who seems to have some connection with the natural world. They are washed up on an island and have to figure out what to do about that. What else do you need to know? 
Oh, yeah... there's a dwarf floating in the ocean's depths on every page.
I fully realize that my little plot synopsis here may seem a bit bland, but this comic is anything but. It's Skullkickers.
If you have never read an issue of Skullkickers then you have nothing but my pity (luckily, Zub really, really wants you to read his books, so he has made them available to you for FREE). This is a world rich in fantasy, fun, travel, teases, and some of the greatest onomatopoeic moments in comics. This series has been a staple in my house since its debut and it continues to get better and better with each issue this team puts out.
Skullkickers is not about ponderous thoughts of existential malaise, nor is it a polemic on how we as a species can minimize our footprint on a world crumbling around us. Skullkickers is about fun, adventure, laughs, and escapism. Zub and Huang are playing with every single fantasy trope there is with this series. Apparently Uncanny Skullkickers marks the beginning of the "jungle adventure."
I have been spending a lot of time with some heavy reading of late -- things that have been making me question the very nature of my thoughts of existence. Uncanny Skullkickers #1 provides a "DRAMATIC KA-THUNK!" of entertainment in the right direction. It reminded me that sometimes I really need to just crawl up with some comics which can provide me with a whole lot of grins. Thanks, Skullkickers.

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