Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Review #28

Skull-Kickers Treasure Trove volume 1, by Jim Zub, Chris Stevens, Edwin Huang, and Misty Coats. Hardcover, collecting issues 1-11 of the comic book, and containing fun extra features! Image Comics.

Writer Jim Zub described this comic book series as “Lord of the Rings meets the Hangover.” That’s pretty accurate, but for comic book fans, I’d call it “Groo the Wanderer meets the Punisher.”
This volume contains eleven issues of awesome fun.  In a fantasy setting, a pair of warriors hire themselves out as mercenary thugs. Except that the big one, Baldy, has a gun, and it is made clear in the story that nobody in this world has ever seen such a weapon. It is mysteries like this that make the world of Skull-Kickers seem very lived-in, as we are thrown into the middle of an ongoing epic.
Baldy and his feisty little partner, Shorty, are in the town of Mudwich when the first five-issue arc (“1000 Opas and a Dead Body”) begins. When the visiting chancellor is assassinated, the skull-kickers go after the 1,000 opa reward. Their efforts go reasonably well, and attempts by their enemies to poison them go hilariously awry. After that adventure, they head to the capital fortress city of Urbia.
The second five-story arc (“Five Funerals and a Bucket of Blood”) find the pair going up against a band of faeries who want the city returned to its natural state. Faeries that have a huge, man-eating plant at their disposal. The version of faeries that Zub and the artists give us is a unique mix of light and dark, of humor and violence.
The stories are strong, the characters are interesting, and the situations intriguing. But what makes this book stand out is the sense of humor contained in the book. Skull-Kickers makes better use (and funnier use) of text boxes and sound effects than any comic I’ve run across before. It is these humorous elements that make each issue enjoyable, but the overarching story and mysteries are what will bring me back to Treasure Trove, volume 2.
We had a delightful conversation with Zub, along with a couple of guys from Comixology, in the Book Guys Show episode #76. A link to the video can be found here.

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