Review: Sharky / Author: Dave Elliott / Artist: Alex Horley / Publisher: Titan / Release Date: Out Now
Sharky is a bit of an oddity, comic book-wise. It started out as a failed pitch to Marvel and DC, and after getting firmly refused by both, seems to have been reworked into a parody and homage of those comic book giants. This explains why, though the book isn’t very good, it’s very difficult not to love it.
Much like the highly successful Toxic Avenger movies, Sharky is so silly and overblown that it’s simply impossible to take it seriously. The plot revolves around a young boy who wishes he was a superhero. Thanks to a convoluted and incredibly dumb series of coincidences, it turns out that the boy is the offspring of gods, and can (at will) turn into a slick, muscle-bound hero called Sharky. He then teams up with a female version of the thunder god Thor (who is barely dressed), a part-wolverine, part-batman, all-cliché character called Ravenclaw, and similarly daft versions of Iron Man and Captain America.
The overblown, Bisley-esque artwork simply adds to the cheesiness, with the men looking like carrots made of muscle and the women resembling beach ball jugglers. There isn’t a hint of realism here, and despite the odd zombie or two, there’s very little of the grimness or darkness that plagues this genre. Being an independent book, cameos and crossovers come from all sorts of odd places, and we get brief appearances of Milk and Cheese, Vampirella and The Mask, which is nice but adds nothing to the book.
The plot is not very coherent, and the characters don’t make much sense at all. It is fun, and pretty in a hyper-stylised sort of way. If you’re willing to detach your brain for a short while and indulge in a bit of dumb spoofery, you’ll love it. But if you’re the sort of person who demands depth and storytelling from your funny books, then this is not for you.