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‘The Mighty Skullboy Army: Volume 1’ – Advance TPB Review

You and what army?  Oh . . .

School is hard.  There are kids picking on you on the playground, teachers picking on you in class, and the kid in the back picking his nose.  It can be a devastating developmental time, but you know what makes it easier?  Being the CEO of a multimillion-dollar corporation and having an army at your command (though the numbers in said army are a touch less than one might expect . . . ).  Jacob Chabot has imagined just such a scenario, and it’s a great series for readers of any age to get a start on this reprint of the first collected volume.

If you enjoy Invader Zim, this book is for you.  Juxtaposing the vulnerability of school days with the massive and mighty power of corporate earnings and balanced with the sometimes ineffective management of time, resources, and intellect, Chabot gives us a book where our deepest dreams of schoolyard dominance are vibrant and rich, yet undercut with some risk of failure.  The script is tight and fun and plays well with both written and visual gags.  Skullboy is a total fop character, whose confidence in his power and subordinates is matched only by their gross incompetence which, of course, undercuts every plan Skullboy makes.  One would normally assume that a robot and a hyper-intelligent monkey would be all you need in an army, but they end up making like a Penn and Teller version of Gir more often than not.

I love the easy visual style of the comic; it’s friendly and approachable, yet when Skullboy lets the hellfire rage from within, there’s just enough of an edge to get even me to take a step back and remember just what kind of person we’re dealing with.  The sight gags are set up beautifully, and there’s a real sense of the fun of it all ringing throughout every panel.  This is a story that knows it’s all for funsies, and even the more somber-toned moments (however brief) serve as a palate cleanser between the slap and the schtick.

Great for anyone at any age, this new version of Volume One’s collection of strips is perfect for anyone who likes a series that can poke fun at itself and the wider world with ease.

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