Review – Munchkin #3 (BOOM! Studios)

BOOMBOX_Munchkin_03_A_MainPublisher: BOOM! Studios (BOOM! Box imprint)
Writer(s): Tom Siddell, Jim Zub
Artist(s): Ian McGinty, Rian Sygh
Release Date: 25th March, 2015

Okay, you should know the deal by now – based on the incredibly successful card game from Steve Jackson Games, BOOM! Box’s ongoing Munchkin series fully embraces the gloriously offbeat spirit of the game, recreating a world where adventurers are selfish, obnoxious jerks and no treasure is too small not to stab your best friend in the back for. Filled to the brim with knowing, affectionate nods to existing fantasy game tropes, the anthology-esque series has done an impressive job in its first two issues of managing to overcome its potentially ‘one note’ premise to create some truly inspired takes on the genre – and I’m more than happy to confirm that this is a trend which continues with style here in issue three.

The first story, the second part of last issue’s Might Makes Wight, showcases writer Tom Siddell’s top-drawer comedy writing credentials (something which, if you’re ever read his webcomic Gunnerkrigg Court, should already be more than evident). With the Wight Brothers Adventure Dungeon (and shoe repair) all but destroyed following the Munchkin onslaught in the previous issue, it now falls to our Wight supervisors to try and rebuild ahead of the next invasion… and rebuild again… and again… and again. Siddell’s dialogue remains sharp throughout, and his comic timing is absolutely spot-on, particularly during the scene where the Wight Brothers reveal their “boss” – a scene which is undoubtedly my favourite from the first three issues. Once again, Bravest Warriors artist Ian McGinty delivers a visual aesthetic which is impressively reminiscent of John Kovalic’s style from the card game, while still managing to add his own uniquely cartoony flair to the proceedings.

The second tale, Munchkin Cthulhu Comes For Us All, is pretty much the comic book equivalent of writer Jim Zub loading up an Uzi with Lovecraft puns and spraying wildly into a crowd. The onslaught of jokes is unrelenting, with Zub unleashing all manner of parodies of Lovecraft’s writing style, his characters, and the ‘Great Old Ones’ themselves – but you know what? It’s absolutely hilarious. The reimagined Old Ones in particular had me chuckling all the way through this six-page short story, with “Tht Whch Hs N Vwls” in particular surely meriting some sort of spin-off series all of his own. As always, Rian Sygh does a great job of bringing Zub’s insanity to life, with some gloriously over the top visuals and – without labouring the point too heavily – the Old Ones once again providing the highlight with their mass of tentacles, eyeballs and surfboards. Yeah, you heard me.

With yet another free exclusive game card for fans of the Steve Jackson Games card game, die-hards have no excuse not to be picking this one up on a monthly basis. Plus, with such sharp comedic writing on display, there’s no reason that anyone else who enjoys a good chuckle shouldn’t be grabbing it as well. It may well be my own affection for the zany world of D&D and RPGs in general that helps the jokes land as beautifully as they do, but Munchkin may well be the funniest comic on the shelves right now. Another critical hit for all involved, saving throw be damned.

Rating: 4/5.

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576682_510764502303144_947146289_nThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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