Publisher: BOOM! Studios (BOOM! Box imprint)
Writer(s): Tom Siddell, Jim Zub
Artist(s): Ian McGinty, Rian Sygh
Release Date: 25th February, 2015
After a strong opening issue, BOOM! Studios’ BOOM! Box imprint continues its anthology-esque series based on the popular Steve Jackson Games card game. There are just two stories in this issue as opposed to four in the first, something which allows each of the tales a little more time to develop — a wise decision, in my opinion. Once again, the first print of the issue comes with an exclusive game card to help lure in the players, but it’s definitely safe to say that this series has a far more wide-ranging appeal than simply to those of us who have played the card game previously.
The first story, Might Makes Wight (part 1), comes from the pen of Tom Siddell and introduces us to two gloriously enthusiastic Munchkins as they find themselves tackling the perils and pitfalls of the Wight Brothers Dungeon. Showing the same firm grasp of the distinctive sense of humour that goes hand-in-hand with the card game as he did in the first issue, Siddell pokes all sorts of good natured fun at gaming tropes and gamer characteristics, and manages to throw in some brilliantly pitched fourth wall breaking for good measure. Artist Ian McGinty’s work is bright, bold and satisfyingly chunky, giving the whole strip the feeling that it has been ripped directly from the artwork of the cards themselves. With several genuinely laugh out loud moments along the way, not to mention a dramatic(ish) cliffhanger, this strip manages to perfectly nail the Munchkin ‘vibe’, and should have fans of the game raising their Chainsaws of Bloody Dismemberment in delight.
The second tale, the first part in a new series of MEMEs (Munchkin Education Monsters Essays) – a riff on the classic D&D “Monsters Manual” – introduces us to one of the more unusual dungeon denizens, the Floating Nose. Written by Jim Zub, the humour flows hard and fast here, with Jim seeming intent on cramming as many groan-worthy nose based puns into his limited page count as possible. Amazingly however, in spite of the near Christmas Cracker level of wit (“this blows!”, “it snot going to work” etc), the whole thing comes off as rather charming, and the prospect of a continued series of these MEMEs fills me with a great amount of excitement. Rian Sygh’s artwork is suitably cartoony and very much fitting in the Munchkin ‘house style’, with some genuinely amusing moments along the way.
Overall, with the reduction in the amount of strips giving each one more time to breathe, as well as the introduction of multi-part stories and – hopefully – a growing series of monster biographies, Munchkin has managed to overcome my only real concern following its first issue — namely, how do they sustain this as an ongoing series? The madcap humour of the card game is present throughout, but the inherent silliness and brilliant fourth-wall breaking is bound to appeal to fantasy gaming novices too. Whatever way you slice it, Munchkin is a series that will have you grinning with glee from start to finish.
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