Foul-Mouthed Moustachioed Swagger Collected: Sharkey The Bounty Hunter Vol. 1 TP

by Brendan M. Allen

Set in a brilliant new sci-fi universe, Sharkey is a blue-collar bounty hunter tracking criminals across the galaxy in his converted, rocket-powered ice-cream truck. Aided and abetted by his ten-year-old partner, he’s out for the biggest bounty of his career.

Straight off, this is definitely a mature title. Mark Millar doesn’t pull any punches with gratuitous language or nudity. Sharkey the Bounty Hunter  kicks off in a seedy bar on Tefi-8, a ‘total shithole’ in the middle of gentrification. Sharkey’s there to collect a particularly challenging bounty in Multiple Jax, an outlaw wanted on multiple counts of armed robbery who can split himself into thirty eight tiny versions of himself. 
After making the collar and only collecting a fraction of his bounty, he hooks up with a leggy cyborg and gains a young ward before blowing the scene and heading off on the bounty of a lifetime.

Millar doesn’t mess around with a lot of clunky exposition, which is refreshing. He lets the characters and setting introduce themselves in a way that’s organic and flows easily.
Sharkey is a young, purple Sean Connery with a big gun and a glorious moustache. Cashes in on the whole bad boy image, but turns out to have a soft spot for little green orphans. There are clearly several tropes playing out here, but they mesh in a way that feels fresh and new(ish).

Simone Bianchi brings an aesthetic that is simultaneously familiar and alien. His principals are generally humanoid, but even with the more exotic supporting characters, emotion is clearly displayed through expression and posture.

Settings are generally rich and detailed, but there are a few places where it feels like Bianchi really could have opened up the shot. Almost every panel is either inside a vessel, a hotel room, or a pretty tight shot on the characters. The few panels where we’re actually IN space, hanging off spacecraft wings and stuff, and the backgrounds are…white. I do wish we could see a little more of the “space” in this space Western. 
The action scenes are chaotic and suspenseful, but easy to follow. There’s an element throughout the book of controlled chaos that’s bizarre and tense and covered with a layer of grime.
Sharkey the Bounty Hunter is a fun little space Western, full of action and dark humor. Moustachioed swagger, granny with a gun, ex-wife from hell, green kid with secret magical talents…Yes! I want all of this. Let’s blow some shit up.

Sharkey the Bounty Hunter, collects Sharkey the Bounty Hunter 1-6, Image Comics, releases 11 December 2019. Written by Mark Millar, art/color by Simone Bianchi, letters by Peter Doherty.

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