Sharkey the Bounty Hunter #1 from Image Comics arrived in comic book stores last week. It is the first installment in a six-issue limited series from writer and master storyteller Mark Millar and contains brilliantly stylized artwork from Italian artist Simone Bianchi. Millar is the creator of such masterpieces as Wanted, Kick-Ass, and Kingsman: The Secret Service. He has been working with Netflix for some time now on developing his Millarverse titles into live action feature films, and this miniseries serves as an introductory companion to the upcoming movie of the same name available on Netflix soon.
The story centers around a balding, blue-skinned bounty hunter with a bad-ass 70s pornstache and a take no crap attitude named Sharkey. A former member of an elite special ops division of the Sun-Corps, Sharkey now makes a living as a bounty hunter, traveling the stars in his rocket powered ice cream truck the “Snow Cone” and hunting down the galaxy’s most notorious criminals. After he apprehends and collects the bounty on the duplicating criminal Multiple Jax, Sharkey finds that he is now left responsible for the well-being of Jax’s 10 year old nephew Extra Billy. Sharkey reluctantly agrees to bring the young boy to his relatives on the planet Odag as he makes his way to the Sin Atholl sector to what promises to be the biggest bounty of his career. The 1 billion kodona bounty is for Edra Deering, the most wanted and dangerous woman in all the galaxy. A bounty this high is sure to bring hunters from every corner of the galaxy in on it, making this a race against time for Sharkey to claim it for himself first.
Meanwhile on Harmony, the honeymoon planet, the biggest crime lords in the entire system have all gathered together to witness the marriage between intergalactic crime boss Drachen and his wife to be Cassandra. When the beautiful bride arrives to the ceremony with her two bridesmaids by her side, all three wearing are wearing night vision goggles. As Drechen questions her about their rather odd choice of accessories, the lights suddenly go and what follows is a barrage of gunfire. When the lights come back on Drechen is shocked to discover that all of his crime lord brethren have been gunned down and killed by Cassandra and her companions. Having no need of a disguise any longer, the murderous bride deactivates the halo-suit disguise to revealing their true form to be that of a large alien male bounty hunter. The mysterious murderer then tells Drechen their 18-month courtship together has really been a deep-cover operation to get all of the crime bosses together in one place and take them all out to claim their bounties. The hunter then shoots Drechen in the head and within moments later, is informed that there is call from a Mister Gambal Bliss about the bounty on Edra Deering. The bounty hunter asks Bliss if Sharkey is also going in on the job,and after receiving confirmation of this, he happily accepts.
The writing on this issue is nothing short of superb. Within just a couple of its pages, Mark Millar gives the reader a wonderfully colorful sense of the attitude and swagger of Sharkey, and how he reacts to the world around him with a certain sense of irreverence and humor about him. Sharkey is a crass, macho, and somewhat perverse badass, but one with a heart as Millar shows with his struggle between leaving the young 10 year old stranded and alone on Tefi-8, or doing what is right and bringing the child along with him. The second half of this issue is a setup for what appears to be a rival bounty hunter yet to be named. This other hunter seems to be just as cunning and deadly as Sharky, and Millar keeps the reader hanging on at the end with a teasing of some history and drama between the two. This build suspense and speculation and very effective at drawing the reader in even deeper and keeping them coming back for more.
Simone Bianchi’s artwork on this book is breathtakingly beautiful. His signature ink washed, watercolor style of art adds such a richness and sense of fantasy to this insane story. It is a technique that he’s used before many times in the past on such titles as DC’s Green Lantern and Detective Comics series as well as Marvel’s Wolverine. This time around however he has taken it to a whole new level, really immersing the reader into this wonderfully strange and colorful new world with its surreal and dreamlike quality. Every frame pops right off the page with brilliant and vibrant coloring and exciting action sequences. Bianchi also takes great care and detail in visually conveying the emotion of the characters in a way that compliments and enhances the drama and situations within the story.
Overall this is amazing first issue and a great way to get people excited about the upcoming Netflix film. If this first issue is any indication of what bizarrely fantastical things are in store for the rest of this limited series as well as the movie, then it is sure to be a perverse, wacky, beautiful, and wild ride.
Is it good?
Sharkey the Bounty Hunter issue #1 is BONKERS! This wonderfully bizarre and strangely perverse title was a hilarious and pleasurable experience from beginning to end. It is brilliantly written and masterfully crafted with a very unique sense of style, heart and humor.