Review - Dark Skullkickers Dark #1

"What the f--"

Such a powerful expression, capturing so much emotion in so few words. It's a phrase often uttered when faced with something truly unbelievable, like a bar at the center of multiple universes bartended by a god and full of multiple incarnations of individuals. Crazy right? Par for the course in Dark Skullkickers Dark #1 from Image Comics.

The issue is written by Jim Zub, with pencils by Edwin Huang, inks by Huang and Kevan Raganit, colors by Misty Coats and Ross A. Campbell and letters by Marshall Dillon.

The traveling companions have made their way to quite the festive bar, where they discover that a previously deceased dwarf is alive and well. In fact, he's so well, that's rife with merriment and lots of booze. Naturally such a combination in a bar rarely ends well for anyone involved and things go from strange to really strange in a matter of moments. There's a lot more intricacy to the story than the above believe it or not, but that about sums it up pretty well.

Zub really enjoys writing Skullkickers and it really shows in Dark Skullkickers Dark #1. The bar is presented as an archetype by one of the characters, offering that one bar is the same as the next and that everything is the same regardless of the location. Zub makes sure that the events in the issue at the bar do in fact seem as if they could happen anywhere else and he manages to take a tried and true event in a brawl and actually make it seem fresh. What's more is that the events of the day are clearly paving the way for action down the road.

Huang's pencils are phenomenal. There are quite a few pages and panels filled to the brim with all manner of being, taking in the spirits and he makes sure there's equal variety on display. There's one particularly enjoyable panel that showcases the effects of too much alcohol in blurred vision and it's a nice touch. You really get the feeling that you're in the bar along with everyone else merely because Huang does such a fantastic job setting the atmosphere. Inks by Huang and Raganit are beautiful touches to an already polished looking product.

Dark Skullkickers Dark #1 is just the latest in the one of the most enjoyable universes to venture to when new issues are released. There are interesting characters, fascinating locales and a sense of humor that continues to find new depths. There's some tried and true themes that the creative team go back to for their issues, but they manage to make each visit to the well of stereotypes feel just as fresh as the previous visit.

Dark Skullkickers Dark #1 is in stores July 3.