I really enjoyed the last story arc of Skullkickers; it was actually the reason I got back into the series. This arc has been rough for me. It’s not terrible, but the pacing and comedic beats haven’t been hitting. My major problem with has been the parallel universe characters. At times they’re amusing, but more than anything it just adds to the amount of characters talking and not in a good way. In this issue we have our normal batch of “kickers” and the first batch of “parallel kickers” we met are trying to sneak into Dwarvania … okay it’s not called that, but it should be. They botch it of course and instead of sneaking in, they end up charging in guns and swords blazing. Meanwhile we see the Glacier Giants moving in on the city, but no one is doing anything about it because they’re too busy trying to smash dead-Rolf with a giant Rolf. The flashback this time around shows dead-Rolf when he was alive and young and why he left Dwarvania (still calling it that). Young Rolf is adorable… and I kind of wish he wasn’t dead, but oh well.
There is still the patented brand of Skullkickers humor in the issue, but it’s thin laced due to how many characters there are. Every character seems to have/need a funny line, but the result is a lot of dialogue. The scene with the elders smashing dead-Rolf has a lot of great lines, but because it’s split up so much the comedic beats are choppy.
Again, the story isn’t bad, but the parallel universe thing isn’t play to Jim Zub’s strengths as a writer. With this issue it felt as if he wanted to focus more on dead-Rolf’s past than the rest of the story line and honestly that’s what I wanted as well. Hopefully this arc is almost over because it’s losing me. It feels like night and day compared to the previous story arc.
Edwin Huang’s artwork is as solid as ever, but because of the way the story jumps he never really shines. The creator’s chemistry is affected by the pacing and it’s unfortunate because Huang can save a scene just with his pencil work if given the opportunity.
It’s hard not to be disappointed by this arc as it hasn’t lived up to the expectation of the series. That doesn’t mean I’m abandoning it because every series has its highs and lows and sometimes interesting things can come from a low. Who knows, maybe with the results of this issue the next one will turn everything around and leave yoke on my face, but not just yet.
Writer: Jim Zub Artist: Edwin Huang Colorist: Misty Coats Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 5/28/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital