MonkeyBrain Comics kind of came out of nowhere with a plethora of new diverse digital series’ last year. One release that’s recently come to the end of its first story is Knuckleheads. Written by Brian Winkeler and drawn by Robert Wilson IV, the comic takes the ‘suddenly blessed with super powers’ concept and gives it an entertaining twist.
Knuckleheads is a comic that asks what if the person bestowed with super powers isn’t exceptionally heroic or devilishly villainous either? Instead, what if they’re just kind of a lazy slacker? Trevor K. Trevinski has gained possession of the crystal fist, a powerful alien device that has bonded with his hand. Capable of amazing accomplishments, via the use of video game controllers, Trevor is pretty content just to sit on the couch all day.
Despite containing a lot of extraordinary elements I found a layer of amusing truth to Knuckleheads. The average person with super powers is far more likely to use it to steal Netflix like Trevor, than to go out and patrol the streets like Spider-Man. It’s like watching the person you dread you are getting super powers, rather than the person you hope you are.
Although his qualities sound like they belong to someone who would be insufferable to be around, Trevor actually comes across as fairly likable. Watching his excitement at the prospect of free pizza, while the city is under threat, is genuinely funny. A lot of the humour in the issues comes from him in fact, but the supporting cast have a number of memorable lines too.
Wilson’s artwork is completely in line with the tone. The cartoon-like art is very easy on the eyes and, when combined with Jordan Boyd’s colours, it has a warm appealing look to it. Expressions and body language are also expertly used to compliment the jokes. It’s not just solid art, but it’s an understanding of the scene that you only see in comics where the creative team really click together. It’s easy to see that everyone involved in Knuckleheads has a unified view of how the final product should look. Even the letters by Thomas Mauer match that same fun look. There’s such strong synergy between every element you could almost be tricked into thinking a single gifted individual had produced the entire thing.
As a nice bonus each issue contains a brief insight into an aspect of the comic’s creation, with the third issue introducing the first letters column. Pulling back the curtain actually made me appreciate the work that had gone into the series even more, I especially liked the explanation of how they decided on the cover image and why the choice was different with it being a digital release.
Although I enjoyed every issue I felt like each one could have been just a tad longer, as they all ended just a few pages before I expected them to. Although at just a dollar each it’s hard to complain. These three issues combine to make the first story-arc, so perhaps a better way to look at it would be it’s three dollars for approximately 30 pages of pure story, which certainly isn’t too shabby. When compared to some of the one dollar digital comics provided by the bigger publishers there’s actually a healthy amount of content here.
It’s worth mentioning there are also no slip-ups in art to speak of. I never spotted anything that looked amiss, there’s a consistent quality from start to end. Similarly the story doesn’t falter, I was permanently amused throughout and there’s never a moment that isn’t delightfully capped off with a smile worthy joke. One impeccably timed gag did tickle a laugh out of me too.
Knuckleheads simply delivers on what it promises: It’s a funny super hero story that’s good fun to read. It’s just an easy comic to like, lightheaded and undeniably enjoyable.
All three issues are up over on Comixology right now.