VOOSH-KLONK! KA-THUNK! BA-AAARF! I know it's a sad little cliché to begin anything having to do with comics with comics-y sound effects—it's about a half step short of the no-shit-Sherlock revelation "Why, these funny books aren't just for kids anymore!"—but with Skullkickers, I can't help it. (Sorry!) Following two incompetent, unnamed mercenaries—one's a drunken dwarf, the other's a pistol-toting badass—this action-fantasy-comedy series is crammed with enough onomatopoeias to make your seventh-grade English teacher lose her (lonely, barely together) shit. Cleverly scattered through the book's bright panels, sometimes these sound effects work as narration, sometimes they add a little extra something to the sight of a goblin getting his arm chopped off, and sometimes they just float there, on their own, as self-contained one-liners.
Yes—one-liners! And other kinds of jokes, too! Skullkickers has them! Books set in fantasy worlds are hardly in short supply, and true, nine out of every 10 comics contain some form of skull-kickery—but here, writer Jim Zubkavich and artist Edwin Huang giddily smoosh up splattery violence, ripe-for-the-subverting fantasy clichés, and laugh-out-loud humor to make Skullkickers a fast, fun, addictive read. In a medium where genuinely funny comics are all too rare, and in a genre currently defined by mopier-than-thou downers like A Game of Thrones and Dragon Age, the enthusiastic Skullkickers is a welcome addition. One that also happens to have lots of sound effects. My favorite is probably SPLUD.