Comic Review: The Mighty Skullkickers #1

The Mighty Skullkickers #1
Story by Jim Zub
Pencils by Edwin Huang
Inks by Edwin Huang and Kevin Raganit
Colors by Misty Coats and Mike Luckas
Color Flatting by Ludwig Olimba
Letters by Marshall Dillon
Covers by Edwin Huang and Jim Zub, Chris Stevens
Image Comics
Release Date: April 24, 2013
Cover Price: $3.50

The current Skullkickers story arc has been in many ways a commentary on mainstream comics. Although it may seem like I’m making a proverbial mountain out of a blood-soaked-talking-ape-heavy molehill, the team behind Skullkickers have done something that exposes the clearly visible cracks in the veneer that is modern comic publishing.

When DC’s New 52 announcement came down the pipes, most of us thought the same thing, “this is lame, they are just trying to sell more comics.” Then we bought all of them, and a solid portion were terrible. It’s these marketing gimmicks that Jim Zub and the Skullkicker’s team are lampooning with their current story arc. However, when writing commentary into any story, sometimes a plot and solid characters are sacrificed in the name of sticking it to the man. Luckily, the appropriately titled The Mighty Skullkickers #1 delivers a one-two punch of gorgeous art and wit-drenched writing.

The Mighty Skullkickers #1, much like the previous issues in this arc, follows a fairly standard plot. Characters are killed off and brought back to life while others battle all types of baddies on an island forgotten by time. It’s the type of story found in the pages of issue XYZ of Generic Superhero #500. Brilliantly however, by naming each issue with titles like “Mighty” and “Uncanny,” Zub and Image Comics are letting readers in on the joke. It’s the type of plot that is marketed endlessly by Marvel and DC without the slightest hint of self-awareness. Remember when Captain America died? Jesus, how could you forget? By wrapping this issue in the patented humor found among the pages of Skullkickers, Zub is taking this idea of marketing for readership and proving that story does not have to be sacrificed in the name of sales.

Per usual, artist Edwin Huang blows this book apart with stunning visuals that include, but aren’t limited to: ape men, swinging axes, flamethrowers, gun fights and melon slicing. Week after week the Skullkickers asks much of Huang and week after week this very talented artist delivers in spades.

Mighty Skullkickers #1 is a solid addition to this comic’s already impressive run. This is a comic series that has proven that comedy and action books don’t have to adhere to a certain formula of ultra violence plus dick jokes to succeed. Skullkickers is the product of a young team of comic creators working at the height of their artistic and creative abilities. It’s a must read.

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