SkullKickers Vol. 1 – Review
Finally, a dwarf and a bald guy with a gun have teamed up to kick things in their skull area! This is the long, short, and in-between of Skullkickers: 1000 Opas and a Dead Body, a 144 page compilation of the first 5 issues of Skullkickers. Boiled down to its basic elements, Skullkickers is a fantasy-based action comic that focuses more on slapstick violence, broken up by the occasional quip, than on an engaging story. It follows the exploits of a nameless dwarf and bald guy, both no-job-too-dirty mercenaries, as they get caught up in an assassination plot and a death mage’s plan to raise an army of the dead, all the while trying to make as much money off the situation as they can.
The best thing about Skullkickers is the art. The art style isn’t particularly original, but it’s clean and pronounced. There are spots in which it’s hard to follow the action because of the flow of the comic, but that may be my inexperience with reading comics. For the most part it’s very readable, and flows well enough. As far as character design and art direction, you’re not getting anything new. Dwarf looks like every dwarf you’ve ever seen, and Bald Guy… He kind of looks like Heavy Weapons Guy at times… Anyway, this is a very traditional fantasy setting, with the exception of one thing. Bald Guy carries a revolver. I’m not exactly sure where he found a piece of technology that fits nowhere in the setting, and the only time it’s ever mentioned, the person asking seemed just as puzzled as I am. Aside from not fitting the setting, a big, muscular guy with a single pistol just doesn’t look right to me. Maybe it’s just because he looks so much like the above mentioned Heavy.
The characters of Dwarf and Bald Guy are about as deep as their names suggest. Dwarf is every dwarf you’ve ever seen or heard of. He’s loud, speaks with a Scottish accent, drinks a lot, and is a bit slow on the uptake. Bald Guy is the straight man to Dwarfs’ “hilarious” antics, and has little character otherwise. Sadly, most of the humor misses the mark and comes off about as well as a bad webcomic. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t have its moments. I found myself chuckling once or twice at the “random townsfolk” humor, but I’d have liked to see them rely less on cheap dwarf jokes. I think once they’ve exhausted their supply of generic fantasy humor they have good chance of being genuinely funny.
The 5th chapter wraps up nicely and sets us up for more from the Skullkickers, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot more of Dwarf and Bald Guy in the future. Oh, and not to ruin the experience for you, but the grand total of skulls kicked in Skullkickers Vol. 1 was only two, so if blunt head trauma was your main draw to the series, you might want to go elsewhere for your kicks.