Friday, March 29, 2013

Review - Savage Skullkickers #1

Savage. Uncanny. Angry. All adjectives. All relevant descriptors of a couple of folks who excel at kicking things. Skulls to be exact. As in Savage Skullkickers #1 from Image Comics.

The second (first?) issue is written by Jim Zub, with pencils by Edwin Huang, inks by Huang and Kevin Raganit, colors by Misty Coats and Ross A. Campbell, color flatting by Ludwig Olimba and letters by Marshall Dillon.

Dwarf Rolf Copperhead finds himself in even more of a pickle than he did in the last issue. As opposed to being relegated to the bottom of every page, drowned, he's now in Hell naked. The problem is, he doesn't know why he's there and Hell doesn't quite know what to do with him. In life, Rex and Kusia are contending with a tribe of somewhat genial (yet combative) apes who decide to test the mettle of the duo.

Where Zub excels best in Savage Skullkickers #1 is completely ignoring the fourth wall. The characters pay no mind to the fact that their characters in a book, treating the reader as if they're right there with them. It really lightens the mood of the comic and makes it feel more intimate, which in turn makes it much more enjoyable to read. The book feels like one ongoing joke that's always on for the reader's enjoyment.

While the humor is definitely tongue in cheek, the issue itself is very much contained within the Skullkickers universe. There are a LOT of references to events in previous issues of the series, which does provide some context for some of the jokes. If you haven't read the referenced issues though, then you probably won't fully appreciate the joke being presented.

Huang's art continues to impress. There are some panels where the characters almost seem out of focus, allowing the background setting to attract more attention. The depictions of hell are full of sulfur and brimstone and the ape tribes are depicted as savage. Huang is one of the few artists who can pull off a naked dwarf.

Savage Skullkickers #1 isn't a true first issue, as it's really a lot later in the series. That doesn't matter though, because it's still a great read. Folks looking to pick up a new series to enjoy will find something good in the book, but it's not exactly a jumping on point or anything. Still though, the dialogue and story is hilarious and the art is solid.

Savage Skullkickers #1 is in stores now with interiors below.


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