There’s nothing like a little irreverent humor to keep the quarantine sads away. Metalshark Bro arrives just in time to blast the sads with a levity laser. With an anticipated release in August, Issue #1 of the second volume, ‘Assault on Hamzig Island,’ kicks the second volume off in the most metal way possible.
If you’re new to the series, Metalshark Bro delivers exactly what it promises: a metal good time with heart. Metalshark Bro follows Metalshark Bro, a metal dude turned into a shark, and his best friend Ira, a winged eye with a flair for costumes. The pair become unlikely heroes for Hell, taking down Beelzebra and fighting Ninja Nuns in the process.
Created by writers Kevin Cuffe, Bob Frantz and artist Walter Ostlie, the series began as a Kickstarter phenomenon that gained the attention of Scout Comics. Volume One is out and available both to early backers and Scout fans. Volume 2 is shipping to backers of their second Kickstarter and the first issue releases via Scout in August for fans everywhere.
Volume 2, ‘Assault on Hamzig Island,’ opens on Ira, now an international eye of mystery for Mr. Satan–er, Dr. Satan. Agent Double-O-Eye hunts Kogun through the (Anton) LeVay Mountains to a hell-sino. Kogun manages to lead Ira right into a trap, forcing Satan to call upon our favorite shark-bro to save him. But, Metalshark Bro bites off more than he can chew. Kogun leads them right into the hands of Hamzig, a hardcore hamster of Beelzebra’s design hellbent on vengeance against Metalshark Bro for his father’s untimely demise.
I cackled out loud several times while reading this first issue. The puns are layered, and the issue is rife with easter eggs. ‘Assault on Hamzig Island’ references Danzig, which serves as a lovely tie-in to first Metalshark Bro volume ‘Island of Misfit Bros.’ Each hellscape is aptly named for particularly nasty men, including Anton LeVay and Bill Cosby. The title itself references the John Carpenter classic Assault on Precinct 13 in which a police officer teams with a murderer to defend the precinct from a criminal gang. Considering this hilarious first issue, it hints at a greater plan for Hamzig.
Editor and letterer Chas! Pangburn seems to really have fun throughout the issue. Not only is the story tightly told, but bold bubble breaking letters add playfulness to an already playful comic. I loved the logo use for Metalshark Bro, especially when paired with Ostile’s well timed character introduction panels. Every single time a character is announced, I hear a chorus of surfer bros shouting the name, the shred of a guitar in the background.
Ostlie does some fantastic layout work, highlighting every reaction, introduction, and action sequence skillfully. The character design is simple, distinctive and effective. Each character, from villain to side character, feels over the top without an excess of design details. It’s in that simplicity that we can fully appreciate Ostile’s excellent visual timing with Frantz and Cuffe’s jokes: Metalshark Bro’s pronounced nipples during re-transformation grab our attention long enough for a joke to land. There are even a few notables drawn into the comic if you can find them.
Metalshark Bro reads like your favorite Cartoon Network animated series inspired by your favorite 70s, 80s, and 90s action movies. Fans of irreverent buddy humor movies like Wayne’s World, Cheech and Chong, and Step Brothers will get a kick out of Metalshark Bro’s balance of action, humor, and heart. There’s an undeniable TMNT meets Johnny Bravo’s parody meets Battle Pope feeling to it, without being too young, too adult or taking its satire (or itself) too seriously. Hitting that middle ground well requires skill, and the ‘Metalshark Bro’ team does so gracefully.
Don’t be surprised if you see this as animated series soon. Sink your teeth into ‘Metalshark Bro 2: Assault on Hamzig Island #1’ before it happens on Scout or your local comic shop!