Skullkickers, Volume 1
1000 Opas and a Dead Body
Written by Jim Zub
Art by Edwin Huang and Chris Stevens
Colors by Misty Coats and Chris Stevens
Release date: March 9, 2011
Skullkickers is a relatively new series from Image that has quickly found an audience and built a buzz. Their first trade paperback collection, “1000 Opas and a Dead Body”, collects the first storyline and their earlier appearances in the Image comics anthology Popgun.
Skullkickers follows the infamous exploits of two unnamed bounty hunters, a short, rude dwarf and a giant bald fellow who we shall refer to as “Dwarf and Big Guy”. They are fighting a werewolf and breaking up a cult. Later we learn that they are performing these acts for a fee. Soon after disposing of the werewolf, they witness the murder of a chancellor. The chancellor’s associates pay them 1000 opas to bring the killer to justice. Of course, what seems like a simple jobs becomes a madcap adventure that involves demons, gypsies, monsters, and the fate of an entire kingdom.
The characterizations in Skullkickers are excellent. Jim Zub has created two characters who definitely break the norm. Most people would expect the Big Guy to be the hotheaded bruiser, but he is actually the “brains” of the outfit. He prefers negotiating before resorting to violence, but he is handy with a pistol. The dwarf, unlike several diminutive characters in fantasy literature, is the rabblerousing, hard-partying, ill-mannered one whose quick temper gets them in one situation after another. However, both characters are likable, and even though they constantly insult each other, you can see that they care about each other.
Skullkickers is like a sword and sorcery tale mixed with a very hilarious buddy cop film, or Dungeons and Dragons meets Lethal Weapon. Also, Edwin Huang‘s visuals keep the mood light, even when the story goes to dark & violent places. I also love the descriptive sound effects, such as “sneaky-sneak”, “mad dash” and “imminent violence”. Misty Coats must also be commended for her vibrant colors. She breathes life into the world of the Skullkickers. If they ever make an animated movie based on this property, they should definitely try to emulate her color scheme.
Skullkickers is a raunchy, hilarious, and awesome fantasy tale that is clearly one of the best books currently being published by Image. I had heard many good things about this title and was eagerly awaiting the publication of the first trade paperback. I am glad to say that this book exceeded my expectations and is definitely a bargain at the price of $9.99. If you just want a good, fun read with plenty of action, you should definitely check out the first volume of Skullkickers.