Review: Shirtless Bear Fighter #2
Writer: Jody Leheup and Sebastian Girner
Art: Nil Vendrell
Colours: Mike Spicer
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Publisher: Image Comics
Where do I start with this beauty? Issue #1 was probably the single most unexpected hit of the first half of the year for a lot of comic fans. It was snappy, striking and savvy. Laughs were aplenty as Leheup and Girner gave birth to an idea with a title as catchy as Hobo with a Shotgun, comedy writing that resulted in Monty Python style belly laughs, and action on par with anything the X-Men could throw our way. In SBF, the team created a character that could have been David Banner in another life, if Banner was a Walton style, mountain-dwelling hick who was sent into a rage with just a whiff of bear-infused crystal meth rather than radioactive isotopes. On other words, this guy’s a one-man whirlwind.
This issue kicks off within the remains of the inaugural issue, with Shirtless buried under rubble but for one limb. Clearly our infallible hero is biding his time before erupting free for another twelve rounds with the demon-eyed bears of the title. The attraction of a title like this is a certain carefree approach to plot development. Other than the central plot, anything goes, and the resulting how’s and where’s are hilarious. Just ready yourself for Shirtless’ coast to coast battling of all outcrops of evil bear activity. The dialogue is at once thrilling and dynamic, yet effortlessly slips into absurdly uproarious comedy. Vendrell’s art captures this dynamism brilliantly and no panels are wasted on establishing shots or moments of intrigue; we are offered perspective on a need-to-know basis – what we see is all we need to know. The art is cartoonish and the colouring continues to help extrapolate this. Bold and bright panels close in on immediate anger and frustration of Shirtless or the supporting cast. Wide frames show off the ridiculous action beautifully and the whole book is pacy. My only gripe is that it all feels like it’s over too soon. Yes, the writers are economical with their words, and this isn’t the type of title that needs endless explanation but it’s also so good, I wanted to savour more.
In the second half of the book, the action takes us to the hillside shack of the Hillbilly Warlock, a porcine half-man. After finding a clue to the reasons behind the bear insurrection, Shirtless comes looking for answers and in the process finds himself faced by possibly the most comically grotesque sight either he or you will ever see. Be prepared to laurf (laugh as you barf). The ending too, finishing on a high, sets the tone for the coming issue, and in true fashion, we’re left with Shirtless, yet again, in the midst of some serious explosive action, an ending that’s becoming something of a trademark. Ending on a high like this, the creative team have ensured readership is unlikely to drop off and by issue #3, readers would probably be better described as fanatics. This is an easy title to love and this is maybe why it’s such a standout book. The shelves are filled with overtly complex and convoluted serials yet we seem to crave more and more. Maybe it was time for a change. Read this book but be prepared to love it.
Thank you for reading our review of Shirtless Bear Fighter #2. We here at the Chico Comics Page appreciate your viewership. We invite you to check back with us soon, as we post often. Or, you can follow us on Facebook (The Chico Comics Page) and Twitter (@ChicoComicsPage) for regular updates on all of our posts.
Review written by Arun S.
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