ADVANCED REVIEW: “Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy: From the World of Black Hammer,” Issue #3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy #3

Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy #3,  published by  Dark Horse Comics, have  the creative team of Jeff Lemire as the writer, Tonci Zonjic and the artist, Steve Wands as the letterer, and Daniel Chabon as the editor. Following super villain Grimjim’s assault on Tex Reed’s rally for mayor, Lemire takes us down the path of memory lane. 

Opening the issue with a flashback, Zonjic treats readers to a completely separate color scheme from anything we’ve seen in previous issues. It is darker and grimier than before. The black and reds of the panels look gray and purple. Lemire introduces the Crimson Fist through the lens of a journal entry. Wands letters the script via narration bubbles that are yellow-lined paper, as opposed to the standard white bubbles. The atmosphere shifts to a highly-stylized crime-noir sequence. Lemire characterized Crimson Fist as a stoic and respectable hero of justice. He is making his way through his beloved, crime-ridden city to find a much younger Grimjim. 

As the script comes back into the present-day setting, the color scheme goes back to its standard colors. Lemire ups the stakes of  Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy #3  by introducing Skulldigger into the fold. The chaos that ensues is being live-streamed on television news. Skelton Boy, feeling ready to aid Skulldigger in his vigilante endeavors, sees the TV and decides to go to the rally.

Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy #3

Lemire’s pacing is immaculate and captures each beat of intrigue. The dialogue exchanges between Grimjim, Tex Reed, Detective Reyes, and Skulldigger at the rally insinuates that there is something undiscussed amongst them all. The build-up of intrigue is only heightened by Zonjic’s artistic panel work. For instance, when Skeleton Boy manages to land a blow to an enemy, his dynamic motion is in the center of the page. There are two medium-sized panels to Skeleton Boy’s left and right that shows other character reactions to his hit. 

The next page features six rectangular panels on the right where Zonjic draws Detective Reyes reacting to the situation. While on the left there is a long, vertical panel that sets forth the action for the next page. Lemire does not script much for this part, letting the art tell the story. The few words that do need to be lettered are placed within the blank spaces. The rest of  Skulldigger and Skeleton #3  ebb and flows between these barely scripted action scenes and memory exchanges. I flipped through this issue in no time and felt as if maybe this issue was the shortest of them all. However, it still has 32 pages like every other entry. The fact that this issue was such a fast read serves as a reminder that Lemire and his creative team have the art of pacing down to a tea. 

Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy #3

This third issue steers the story back into the cinematic storytelling that made the first issue stand apart from other comics on the stand. The blending of Lemire’s tight noir script, the muted atmosphere as drawn and colored by Zonjic, and the ease of the lettering done by Wands effectively make  Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy #3  an enthralling series that everyone should pick up.

Skulldigger and Skeleton #3 is available wherever comics are sold or through our Comixology affiliate link on February 19, 2020. 

Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy #3
5

TL;DR

This third issue steers the story back into the cinematic storytelling that made the first issue stand apart from other comics on the stand. The blending of Lemire’s tight noir script, the muted atmosphere as drawn and colored by Zonjic, and the ease of the lettering done by Wands effectively make  Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy #3  an enthralling series that everyone should pick up.