“SKULLKICKERS VOL. 1: 1000 OPAS AND A DEAD BODY” (Graphic Novel Review)

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Originally published at Fangoria.com on March 6, 2011

From Image Comics, SKULLKICKERS VOL. 1: 1000 OPAS AND A DEAD BODY is a solid action-packed fantasy adventure. These tough-talking Skullkickers hack and blast their way through legions of the undead, angry werewolves and stealthy assassins. These unstoppable antiheroes take pride in slaughter just for the sake of gold and beer. It’s extremely violent and hilarious, and readers should buy this one immediately!

The action kicks off right away between the Skullkickers and a werewolf, who surprisingly let himself grow fat. These two men, with no names whatsoever, have a distinct size and personality. One is a pint-sized murder machine and the other is a strong trigger-happy fighter. The humorous-looking obese werewolf doesn’t really stand a chance between Shorty and The Big Guy.

In Mudwich Town, the streets are alive with a parade for the arrival of Chancellor Kenby. The poor and tired widen their fake smiles and wave their fists at the royal ruler. Though the crowd unanimously hates him, they never thought this day of celebration would turn into an assassination. A thousand opas (gold coins) is promised to whomever locates the Chancellor’s killer.

The quest for money leads the Skullkickers to an informant. During their interrogation, they hang the snitch high from a rope and start basting him. The two mercenaries deviously pretend they are going to eat him whole. After their suspect starts talking, Shorty and Big Guy head off toward a fortress in ruins.

The grand-scale battle at the fortress is worth the price alone! The Skullkickers have to defeat hordes of zombies, skeletons with swords in their hands and a blind Necromancer. In the middle of all this mayhem, Shorty provides unexpected slapstick comedy, while the Big Guy shoots at his enemies. And just for the fun of it all, there is an epic battle with a blob monster included!

Creator and author Jim Zubkavich certainly has a passion for J.R.R. Tolkien, giant monsters and medieval sorcery. Using thought captions, Zubkavich makes laugh-out loud statements through the Facial Expression and Body Language Translators. The author’s two leads have an incredible amount of high-spirited energy and chemistry. Even though character development is nonexistent in this story arc, the pages are packed with wild and bloody action sequences.

Chris Stevens and Edwin Huang’s ultra-violent artwork is utterly eye-catching from start to finish. The loud and glossy colors of Misty Coats never loses its vividness and keeps the comic’s liveliness flowing. So much work is involved in the comic mischief and violence, from the wrestling moves to the gunshots at the face. There is even an arrow to the eye that will make you flinch!

SKULLKICKERS VOL. 1: 1000 OPAS AND A DEAD BODY is definitely something you should have in your comic book collection. Fans will be rooting for these two troublemakers and their crazy antics. Seriously, how can you not love a comic book with such a great title! This is the perfect opportunity for new readers to jump into the SKULLKICKERS series!