Review – Munchkin #4 (BOOM! Studios)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios (BOOM! Box Imprint)
Writer(s): Tom Siddell, Jim Zub
Artist(s): Mike Holmes, Rian Sygh
Release Date: 29th April, 2015
The first three issues of BOOM! Box’s ongoing series based on the popular Steve Jackson Games card game established exactly what to expect from this series; silliness, cartoony artwork and lots and lots of geeky in-jokes. This latest issue continues that trend for the most part, but decides to deviate from the formula ever so slightly by shifting the location for each of the stories contained within these pages.
The first story, ‘Munchkin in the Sky with Diamonds’, relocates our familiar backstabbing treasure hunters to the depths of space as they find themselves transported onto the deck of a spaceship – complete with curious, somewhat bewildered crew – following their failed attempts to loot a mysterious glowing diamond. While it doesn’t quite live up to the high standard set by writer Tom Siddell’s previous stories, there’s still a lot of hilarity to be had here, with Adaire Witch (middle name “the”) providing the undeniable highlight of the story with her constant refusal to accept that any of the technology on the ship is anything other than ‘magic’. It’s admirable that Siddell is trying to deviate from the potentially repetitive ‘here’s another dungeon filled with treasure waiting to be looted’ trope, but some of the sci-fi humour doesn’t land quite as well as his D&D-style material. The artwork however is exactly what you’d expect from Mike Holmes by now; bold, dynamic, cartoony and perfectly in keeping with the Munchkin ‘house style’.
The shorter back-up strip, ‘Munchkin Booty on the High Seas of Stupidity’, serves as yet another perfect outlet for writer Jim Zub to fire out as many gags and puns as he can in as a short a time as possible. Today’s theme – as you can probably work out from the title – is ‘Pirates’, and Zub unleashes his Christmas Cracker-esque humour at his familiar machine-gun pace, all but guaranteeing at a least a few smiles and chuckles along the way. Okay, so it may be a little ‘on the nose’ at times, but if you’re the kind of person who gets a kick out a pirate’s favourite colour being “aaaaaarange” or the selling of pirate earrings for a ‘buck-an-ear’, then you’re going to find yourself in absolute heaven here. Rian Sygh once again provides some solid artwork; slightly less detailed than Holmes perhaps, but no less expressive and still busting at the seams with fun and creativity.
Overall, while it may provide an ever-so-slight dip in quality from the first three issues, this latest instalment of the series manages to stay true to the spirit of the source material, bringing the laughs thick and fast and relocating the familiar dungeon-based humour to some intriguing new locations. Still well worth a look then, especially for card game players looking to snag themselves an exclusive playable game card.
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The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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