Skullkickers (#6) – Various

1 out of 5

Funny books should be funny, yes?  That’s a minimum requirement?

The buddy cop/mercenary/assassins/whatever formula isn’t new by any means, but it’s countless reiterations have, on occasion, proven that not newness doesn’t exclude entertainment and creativity.  Alas, while I can’t speak to the Skullkickers series proper – this issue was inbetween arcs, featuring shorts by guest creatives – its lead duo of a gun-wielding, bald mercenary and his bearded, axe-wielding mate whom get drunk and presumably take on killing jobs offer nothing even close to funny in any of its four tales.  Or too entertaining or creative, to boot.  T’would seem to be a failure.  Whether it’s the writing, which does nothing to suggest any particular quirk which would make this title stand out, or the art, which, in each turn, completely under- or over-sells the physical comedy, to laughter’s detriment: Skullkickers #6 does not meet that minimum requirement for a funny book.

Opening ‘Experienced Warriors’ zombie slaying short by Chris Sims and artist Joe Vriens comes the closest to eliciting a chuckle, with an admittedly solid punchline, but the effort to get to said punchline is a bit too herky-jerk, especially for the book’s opening.  Brian Clevinger’s ‘The Sklaag’s drunkenly-retold tale of escalating stakes tries for a dueling tale-teller concept that just isn’t timed or effected well in a small space, and Jim Zub’s comic timing and characterization just feels stagnant.   (Ironic, given that Skullkickers is his creation…)  Ray Fawkes’ and Scott Hepburn’s ‘Temple of ‘Blech’ has a frenetic art style that tries to carry it, but it just assumes that our duo’s overreactions will be funny, and without – again – that extra ‘something’ to indicate why that’s funnier than any of the other nine million times we’ve seen a similar joke, it falls flaaaat.  Adam Warren’s and Jeff Cruz’s ‘The Cleavin’ Part’ is overstuffed with words, and way too stiffly arted.