Skullkickers is a fantasy story like no other. The off humor, weird characters and twist make it a very unique story. I keep coming back to it because of the difference. This issue has grabbed my attention when the last issue had nearly lost it. Rolf is about to become a bloody pulp between two boulders. This is the Dwarven punishment he has been dealt. We get a flashback to the beginning of Dwarven time and ancient history. Once upon a time the mountain Dwarves became a tribe and delved deep into the earth and found “the crucible”, the lava hole. From here they harness it to make powerful weapons to dig deeper within the earth. As they dug deep they uncovered the earth Elementals. The Dwarves fought with everything they could but could not beat the Elementals. Until one day King Torl reached into the crucible to come up with the most imaginative weapon to fight off the Earth Elementals, the Wartyke. A giant stone dwarf with all the strength and superiority of all the dwarves. This is just a back story to Rolf’s childhood. He listened to the legend and played with the toys growing up. The other boys made fun of him playing with “dolls” and not weapons. One night Rolf headed out to find the truth and climbed the Wartyke and into the key where the Crucible was locked away. When he went to reach for it he was struck with a paralyzing fear.
Our other heroes are trying to find a way to get into the Dwarven kingdom to rescue Rolf from impending doom. The only way is hijacking a sleigh from the snow dwarves.
This arc is different with the several doppelgängers of the main character and the banter between the two narrators of this story. One being the narrator of the flashback and the main narrator of the story. It reminds me a little of “The Princess Bride” with the grandpa and grandson. But its more like two guys at the bar and one keep interjecting as he hears the story. It also has become a parody of itself and comics in general with the comments going into the flashbacks and the X-Men timeline joke. This is the real first book I read that makes the narrator as a crucial part of the story and isn’t a main character or at least from what I can tell.
The art is classic cartoon feel that goes well with the story and really has been a constant since Edwin Huang took over on the series. The action sequences are drawn very well and the coloring makes you feel like you are deep in a mountain at the beginning of time.
This issue kept me on this arc; it isn’t crazy phenomenal but is a step up from the lack luster of last issue. It does two things it carries on the big story but can stand alone from the other issues as well.
Writer: Jim Zub Artist: Edwin Huang Publisher: Image Comics Price $3.99 Release: 4/23/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital