Saturday, December 13, 2014

Skylanders #2 (Comic)

Though I’m not used to reviewing comics as they come out, the reason this review is delayed is due to Finals hitting in college as well as a delay in acquiring this issue. With that out of the way, I’m going to discuss the second issue of IDW Publishing’s Skylanders comic, based on the popular game series from Activision. As with issue #1, it seems to be a reprint of a mini-comic, but it still advances the current arc.

Like the first issue, there are two stories, “Mini But Mighty” and “Dark Night”, and they each share a creative team of Ron Marz and David A. Rodriguez as writers with David Baldeón as the artist. “Mini But Mighty”, colored by David Garcia Cruz, continues the story from “Forgetting Flynn” in issue #1, beginning with a celebration of the opening of a new Skylanders Academy. However, Cali (from Spyro’s Adventure, Giants) notices that Flynn isn’t there yet, at which point Tessa (from Swap Force) spots the Dreadyacht is out of control, as it is piloted by the Mini Skylanders. After landing it, Tessa goes to search for Flynn, finding Weeruptor, whose Kaos clone is at the Academy. The writing is good here as well, like in the first part, since it provides more character development for returning characters, especially Cali and Tessa (Auric and Wheellock from previous games appear, but they don’t get as much screen time). There’s also a moment that acts as an effective plot summary of the first three games while hinting at the events of Trap Team, which is good for people who have not played those games and only want to know the major events (it’s also good for me because I still have yet been able to play Trap Team). However, as with issue #1, while I understand that this was also available in a smaller format, it still bothers me that the story ends with an “End” rather than a “To Be Continued”, though it’s probably because I’m reading this comic as a monthly release; this is just a minor nitpick, though.

The backup story “Dark Night”, with colors by Ander Zarate, starts with Barkley trying to find a bathroom, but he ends up running into Bouncer, Night Shift, and Trigger Happy as they are leaving for a mission they were called for at the end of “The Secret Origin of Trigger Happy”. Barkley is thrown off by Night Shift’s appearance, leading to Night Shift expositing his backstory in order to calm him down. It’s essentially a visualization of his character bio, but it’s still presented well and it fleshes out Night Shift’s character more. (I expect next time we’ll see an excuse to tell Bouncer’s backstory in order to round things off.)

Tessa going after an out-of-control Dreadyacht.
(Cali is in the background.)

Both stories in this issue, as mentioned previously, are drawn by David Baldeón, whom I think is a really good fit for the Skylanders series. The respective colorists for both series also do justice to Baldeón’s style, which I discussed in my review of the preceding issue. While Mike Bowden’s art has some merits to it, I personally so far like Baldeón’s style a little better in regards to Skylanders and I wouldn’t mind seeing him contribute more to the book.

As with previous issues, the comic contains a set of four character bios at the back. For reference, they are Trigger Happy, Eruptor, Gill Grunt, and Krypt King. If you want to know Trigger Happy’s origin after having read “The Secret Origin of Trigger Happy”, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Skylanders #2 is a good continuation of the events of the first issue in both its main and backup stories. It does a good job with fleshing out the characters in the Skylanders universe and the art is really well executed. Again, I am glad that I have yet to be spoiled on the events of Trap Team and I would still recommend this comic to new and existing Skylanders fans, though it helps greatly if you read issue #1 first. Considering how well this issue turned out, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for issue #3.

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