Mark Millar and Simone Bianchi launch a brand-new series today, and while Sharkey the Bounty Hunter has its ups and downs, it ultimately feels like a book that needs a little more time to live up to its potential.
First and foremost, let's tackle what Sharkey the Bounty Hunter is. The book puts a grizzled sci-fi bounty hunter named Sharkey in the spotlight, and he's still quite good at his job, but has racked up a considerable amount of debt along the way. Millar utilizes that debt for humor quite a bit, putting the character at an immediate disadvantage to his competition.
Granted, flying a dilapidated ice cream truck sounds pretty cool in theory until you realize that it's probably not the best thing to be riding in if you find yourself in a high-speed chase. Also the "lack of guns" thing kind of hurts too.
Ship of choice aside, Sharkey is a rather blunt but charming lead. Tiny seeds about his past give the character just enough integrity to get the reader behind him, and he's surprisingly open-minded about things. That is until meeting Extra-Billy, who he really wants nothing to do with. It's here that we start to see a chip in the rough exterior, though you'll probably still get a kick at how he relates to kids. Spoiler, he's not a fan.
Extra-Billy is assuredly going to be the heart of the series, and you honestly can't help but root for the little guy to have one thing go his way. The book needs this element too, as without it the opening issue is fine but doesn't necessarily hook you for things to come. Sure the last few pages make an impression, but it isn't anything you haven't seen before. If this book is going to succeed, it's going to be because of the friendship and possible parental relationship Sharkey builds with Extra-Billy. If not, you won't remember this series in a few years.
As for the visuals, Bianchi's work is solid throughout, with some lovely expression work and fascinating character designs populating this crazy world. The opening action scene is a testament to how inspired and fun the premise can be, though at times the world itself feels a little cluttered, making it difficult to come away with a crystal-clear picture. You become well acquainted with Sharkey's personal world, but you don't get a great sense of the world around Sharkey, and it will be important to give that a defined identity in future issues.
With the idea that this will eventually make its way onto Netflix in some fashion in the future, you can see the solid foundation for a show, though as a comic the book doesn't quite yet have a defined personality. It's irreverent, but not overly so, and with no real central mystery to hook you. the reader needs to be invested in the character and their world to make it all click. It has the beginnings of that, but hopefully, we'll see this rise in future issues.
Published by Image Comics
On February 20, 2019
Written by Mark Millar0comments
Art and colors
Letters by Peter Doherty