By the fifth issue of a Skullkickers story arch, typically, you should be knee deep in blood and guts. This most recent Skullkickers story arch however, has been relatively tame, or at least as tame as this comic can be. It’s not that there hasn’t been a fair share of violence and mayhem. It’s just that no one has been stabbed in the eye, disemboweled, or blown up in some sort of sorcery/dynamite related explosion. Violence plays a big role in Skullkickers and not seeing it run rampant through every page and panel is strange. That’s not to say that this hasn’t been a fantastic run of Skullkickers. These last four issues leading up to Skullkickers #17 have introduced readers to deeper three-dimensional characters and a more realized fantasy world.
Skullkickers #17 can be reviewed easily in a sentence or two. This issue is a satisfying end to a fantastic storyline full of all the action and crude behavior expected from this comic. However, to judge this comic 100% accurately you really have to take a step back and view this story arch as a whole. It’s not easy to take a comic that has been traditionally known for being bat shit crazy-violent and slow that action down to a crawl. It was needed though, Skullkickers main protagonists have been kicking and bashing for 17 issues now and while that is fine and well, at some point we need to get under a character’s skin. Luckily, this story arch and issue #17 have really done a terrific job of fleshing out everyone’s favorite skullkickers.
A portion of the official description of Skullkickers #14 reads, “Secrets revealed. The gun. The gun. The gun. The gun. The gun. The gun. The gun”¦” and continues on 12 more times. It is no surprise to say that this issue of Skullkickers is about one thing and one thing only. The gun. There has been much hype surrounding issue 14 since the secrets of Baldy and his gun were teased at Image Comic Expo. Well, now it’s here and rest assured Skullkickers fans, secrets are in fact revealed. Skullkickers #14 doesn’t dance around the secrets either. Questions are answered as directly as a gunshot that will leave your mind blown.
Skullkickers finally returns after a 4-month hiatus with a new story arc that promises to shed some light on the mysterious origins of our favorite mercenaries. Skullkickers #13 is the jumping on point for this new storyline and it dedicates itself to establishing a solid foundation for the rest of the saga. The trademark violence of Skullkickers is largely absent from this issue. Yet Skullkickers #13 gives readers something much more gratifying than blood and guts.
The most powerful moments in comics occur once we, as readers, realize that our heroes are vulnerable. The moment that Batman emerges from the rubble with Jason Todd’s body is so iconic for this reason. For the first time, we are shown that maybe the men and women in our comics are not without fear and loss. For 12 issues Skullkickers has thrown the mercenary duo in front of nearly every kind of monster, ghoul, and goblin with nary a scratch. Issue 13 is one of the first times that writer Jim Zubkavich paints one of his characters as a less than invincible super man.