A fantasy world where the inhabitants wield medieval weaponry and firearms is the setting for creator Jim Zubkavich’s adventurous new book Skullkickers. Following alongside two (as-of-yet) nameless mercenaries, Skullkickers starts off with a fight against a werewolf and quickly sees the duo get in the middle of the assassination of a chancellor visiting from the capitol. Signing on to catch the killer (and more importantly the hefty fee that comes with the assassin’s capture), the dwarf with anger issues and his giant hulk of a warrior partner look to be getting into more trouble than they might’ve seen coming.
Mixing equal parts comedy and blood, Skullkickers doesn’t take itself too seriously. The violence is smile-worthy at times but still remains fairly graphic. Zubkavich seems to have placed his characters in a world where pretty much anything is possible; and though it’s very “swords and sorcery”, a pistol makes it’s way into the arsenal of weapons used, so things might go all over the place in future issues.
Edwin Huang’s artwork has a cartoonish feel that serves as a great set-up for the dark humor of the book. With warm colors throughout and Huang’s animated style, seeing an arrow go through someone’s eye is kind of chuckle-worthy. In this regard, the bottom line is that this book seems to be aiming at unashamed fun. Even though it’s only the first issue of the series, Zubkavich does a decent job of setting up the plot quickly and then takes a couple of quick turns to open up the story a bit by the end. Let’s be clear though, there looks to be every indication that the warrior team featured will kick plenty of skulls along the way, but getting a smile from the reader is probably just as important to the creators.
Skullkickers is a good book for the $2.99 price point and is something worth giving a try if you’re looking for some fun and a new setting to read about. Though I wasn’t exactly blown away by the book, it shows promise from what they’ve pulled off here. There’s nothing that leads you to be pessimistic about the next issue and it seems very plausible that it will get better with each new chapter released.
What it comes down to is that you can be a glass half full kind of reader or a glass half empty one, but whichever path you take with this comic, it’s only $2.99 and you won’t be put out too much. I’m giving it an optimistic B- and am really interested to see if Skullkickers can get me on board more enthusiastically in the future. If you’re the kind of reader that enjoys checking out some new books every once in a while, then you should check this one out. It doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, it just tries to entertain the reader throughout and have some laughs along with some adventure.
Plus, there’s a werewolf and an arrow through the eye.
Don’t try to argue with me. Two things that I think should always get the benefit of the doubt are werewolves and an arrow through someone’s eye.