We are at the end of our journey, with just this last batch of skulls to be kicked. The epic interdimensional bar fight has ended thanks to a bloodlusted unicorn, and now our heroes are stuck bouncing between worlds forever. After going through nearly every possible genre possibly, they are rescued from the perpetual changing worlds and brought to the exterior of all worlds by Kusia the elf and the spirit of nature. The nature goddess explains the rolls of Shorty and Baldy, they are archetypes who are destined to always want to drink, fight, and kill monsters. That they are constants in every world and if they ever leave the world they are bound to the world itself replaces them with similarly minded characters who look nearly identical. Which pretty much explains the multitude of slightly different (based on their home genre) doppelgangers in the last two story arcs. Pretty much there will always be two characters who will ignore the plot, perfectly content to hack and slash their lives away. Which if I recall correctly was kind of the original premise of the book, those players in DnD who just wanted to fight, plot be damned.
Shorty and Baldy are of course pretty unphased by all of this, and soon go off to fight the tentacle monster Thool, and the various minions and demons that randomly appear in the aether.
Kusia, asks what about her. Why isn't she in all these other worlds? Where are her doppelgangers and archetype? Nature explains how sadly her type haven't always had the best of luck until recently. If Kusia joins the battle below (now filled with a multitude of Shorties and Baldies) there could be consequences.
Kusia without a thought leaps into the battle and one of the coolest pages happens. Various genred Kusias join the battle alongside the text: "Achievement unlocked: equal hero archetype".
This is followed by the coolest page, or two-page spread of the epic battle about to start, all three of our heroes and their many genred doppelgangers on one side, and the horde of monsters at the other. All with the caption "ENTERTAIN US!"
Which is pretty much how the story ends. We get a page of Kusia waking up in a fantasy world and running right into danger as the hero she is. While our main two protagonists wake up in a new world completely unphased with their new surroundings, and go to battle with an oncoming semi-truck that has the world "Thool" on it.
This issue isn't much from a story point of view. There are explorations of genre, archetypes, and story which are quite cool. They are also nothing I expected from the last issue of Skullkickers. This wasn't the book I came to for deeper analysis, but it is still very cool. Seeing Kusia realize her archetypedom was a cool moment and seemed like a good reflection of current media. Female characters are getting more attention and are getting closer to being treated equally than ever before. Kusia was always treated like an equal by the book since she was introduced, and was never stuck as the damsel or the love interest, and I'm glad she got some cool moments to the end the book.
I also love that after all these stories, the two main characters, Shorty (Rolf) and Baldy (Rex) have literally learned nothing. They are the same exact characters from issue one, well Shorty is now undead, but otherwise they are interchangeable with their original selves. The world around them changed, side characters adapted and altered, but they are still the same two guys who just want to kick in doors and kill the monster. Which suits them. This is the book I came to when I wanted a giant fight with monsters and some great humor. I wanted dwarven mecha that had its own theme song, villains confused why the heroes didn't want to hear their evil plans, and just fun.
I hope we get more Skullkickers. Even if it is just a random issue or story here or there. Where else can I see a dwarf talk smack to a fat werewolf? Or watch the epic side story of a character’s corpse as it lays face down in the sea while the survivors go about their normal adventure? Skullkickers is a fun story that is hard to replace.
Best sound effects:
- PORTAL PLUCKED!
- DRAMATIC FINISH!
- ENTERTAIN US!