Friday, April 12, 2013

Review: Skullkickers Volume 2 Five Funerals and a Bucket of Blood

Cover
Skullkickers Volume 2 Five Funerals and a Bucket of Blood continues the saga of our heroes Shorty and
Baldy. Last time we saw them they had just saved the village of Mudwich. As a result they're invited to the capital of the Kingdom and once there are invited to a fancy dinner with some local nobles.

From here on things naturally take a few turns towards the predictable unpredictable. As you might imagine Shorty isn't exactly a calm guy and Baldy is far from discrete. When they're framed for a little something something they didn't do all hell breaks loose and the find themselves against all of Urbia's population.

There are minor spoilers ahead. Tread carefully.

How is it?

As soon as you turn the first page you know that something will go horrifically wrong. Shorty and Baldy are invited to a formal dinner with the nobles of Urbia. Can you imagine these two among civilized people? Me neither. Fate has it that the hooded assassin from the first story arc also has an interest in that very same dinner. Then a something something happens and thus begins a new adventure.

NOOOOOOOOO Baldy!

I don't know if Jim Zub intended to mimic the standard structure of a RPG game or not, but this story arc has a lot of similarities with it. Breaking down this story arc in a RPG game perspective:
  • Heroes get to new town;
  • Immediately are introduced to local problems, thus creating a new main quests;
  • Eventually meet new (and opposing) factions;
  • Then have to build reputation with said factions by completing quests for them;
  • There has to be a quest for gear in order to overcome new challenges;
  • Faction quests conflict with each other, or in other words, the heroes can't make everyone happy;
  • Confrontations with increasingly difficult bosses;
  • To win the final boss confrontation the heroes need to rely on the participation of one of those factions;
  • Heroes move to the next town.

Damn Vampire Plants

Once again Zub explores the dynamics of the group playing up the leadership qualities of Baldy and the tank role of shorty. They find themselves in some difficult situation were brute force just won't cut it. Wits and charm may just have to be their weapons of choice.

The pace of the story telling is really fast, hardly ever having a pause for some character development. Personally I would like to get to know these characters better, but truth be told that the fast pace, heavy action and humorous story telling work very well. Its a light, funny and uplifting reading that helped me start my day in a good mood for a few days.

Thief leader

Art wise is just as good, if not slightly better, than the previous volume. Everyone in the art department have done a great job, at least in the main story. Apart from the main story there are 4 other short stories that, while adding very little to the mythos, make for an interesting read. However I'm not a big fan on the alternative art styles used in these short stories. Not that they're bad, just that they don't fit the vibe of Skullkickers very well.

Oh, and you get to know their real names, and in a very clever way. Very well done mister Zub.


Verdict?

I loved Skullkickers Volume 1 and this 2nd volume continues with the same energy, pace and humor. There aren't that many good Sword and Sorcery comics out there and this one fills that spot quite nicely. I'm continuing the series and, if this type of fantasy stories is your cup of tea, so should you.


Publisher: Image Comics
Year: 2011
Pages: 144
Authors: Jim Zub, Chris Sims, Brian Clevinger, Ray Fawkes, Edwin Huang
ISBN1607064421

Follow Reading Graphic Novels on Facebook and Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment