Ah, treachery on the high seas. We last left the Skullkickers as they were being beset upon by a large Kraken, awakened from a deep slumber by an extra-dimensional baby. Things aren’t exactly rosy for everyone’s favourite mercenaries.
Things I liked:
- I know for a fact that Skullkickers writer Jim Zub is a huge D&D/RPG fan, and has worked that into this book, and his other title, Pathfinder. The execution of this month’s solution to the major problem of the Kraken is right out of that playbook, where the smallest of details in a previous adventure/issue turned out to be the key to resolving a conflict with minimal difficulty. If I was a DM and Skullkickers was a campaign, I would be rewarding the player who came up with this solution heavily.
- As always, the art in this issue is spot-on, and there are plenty of visual gags that keep the setting of a ship from being too stale.
- I also have to applaud the courage it must have took to end the current arc the way it did; it departs heavily from the “formula” of the book, and even acknowledges that fact in the closing comment balloons. When a writer deviates from what works, they’re either desperate for something that might work, or have such confidence in their audience and product that they can do so with no stress. I’m leaning towards the latter.
Things I didn’t:
- The inclusion and further prominence of the “talking sword” character has me cringing a bit. I’m not a fan of the inclusion of a “wisecracking/sarcastic sidekick,” since we already have a bunch of snark coming from the rest of the characters. I think one of the book’s strengths is the fact that they don’t need to have a straight man; both of the main characters are mature enough that they’re capable of acting rational.
- The ending of the issue was a bit bland, and for the small amount of stuff that actually happened, the issue as a whole felt a little unfulfilling. This arc has actually closed its doors on us, so we’ll be waiting for at least another issue (next issue is the annual “Tavern Tales” side-story) before we get back to the plot.
The Verdict: Solid issue as always, but there were little nitpicky things that kept me from enjoying it as much as I usually do. Four swashbuckles out of five make for a good time, but I feel there needed to be a little bit more.