Comic Book Review: Skullkickers #25
Written by: Jim Zub
Art by: Edwin Huang
So, I’m a bit unsure about something. Maybe you can help me out. How is it a comic this cool has been on hiatus? It’s baffling, honestly. Don’t go spouting off about work schedules and deadlines this book should be bi-weekly it’s so dope. You guys haven’t been loud enough.
Shame on you.
This is the first time dipping my toes into the Skullkickers pool, so it’s not like I’m some fanboy who’s demanding more of what he’s been missing — but I definitely want more of this. An action/adventure/comedy with a dungeons and dragons/video game vibe that is executed perfectly? I’m sold.
I don’t want to spoil the issue because old fans are going to be all over this and new readers can jump in cold and get exactly what they need. So I’ll break down the highlights.
Firstly, the recap page – it’s a no-brainer that any book that’s had a break needs a recap page to get everyone up to speed. But Skullkickers #25 does what every comic should do, every issue. It breaks down the story and characters so far in a narrative and entertaining way. You aren’t just reading plain text or looking at character designs. The summary actually feels like it’s a part of the story and the two pages weren’t wasted on flat descriptions. And this is a really good point to jump on. The series has its history, but it doesn’t seem vital to the story being told so the reader isn’t bound to knowing that history. You can accept what is provided and move forward with the issue. Jim Zub should get a medal for this feat.
And that isn’t the only thing Zub handles well in this issue. His characterization is in tip-top shape here. Every character, while similarly different, has their own personality and stands out as an individual that carries their own weight when the story focuses on them. The characters run the show in this issue and the dialogue fits each one and never feels forced or out of place. These are over the top characters in a fantasy world but everything is kept grounded which helps to emphasize the other-worldliness of it all.
And it’s fun!
I can’t stress that enough, this is an entertaining book! Guns, swords, axes and snow dwarves! The plot is paced perfectly, nothing feels rushed and the end scene is gradual and well thought out. The reader gets everything they need to know and anything that isn’t put on display can be figured out easily. This is storytelling well done!
Edwin Huang’s art is a mixture of broad shoulders, big bodies and bold expressions that harkens back to Joe Madureira’s Battle Chasers days. Yea, I said it. His muscular, anime style fits this book perfectly. He dresses these characters in unique costumes and throws them against a backdrop of ice capped mountains and snow flake flooded terrain. And that’s before they even start moving.
He’s great at conveying action scenes, whether its characters lunging at each other or swords’ swinging each panel feels fluid. His page and panel layouts don’t get too crazy; most have varied insets layered within a main image. They’re clean and keep things from feeling too cluttered.
Huang feels like the perfect artist for this book. While any other artist could do a great job, it’s his aesthetic that helps sell this fantasy world. And part of that look and feel is provided by Misty Coats colors. Coats color choices are stellar — solid, bold greens, reds, yellows and blues against a foggy, crystal like snowy background look stunning. She makes these characters pop while they’re fighting in a sea of varied grays. And check out the color of the bruise on Rolf’s head and tell me that isn’t magic!
Skullkickers #25 is a great comic. It’s just that simple. An action adventure filled with comedic one-liners that tell an exciting story with an diverse cast of characters. Fans of this book have to be overjoyed that it’s back and new fans will be eager to get their hands on the earlier issues — I know I am.
Score: 7 (out of 7)