Did the spoiler-y Terminator:Genisys trailer make you smirk? Do you cringe at Steven Moffatt’s tenure as showrunner of Doctor Who? Then, this issue of Munchkin might be what sci-fi fans are looking for as writer Tom Siddell and Ian McGinty skewer both post-apocalyptic and time travel fiction in the aptly named “12 Munchkies”. Munchkin #5 follows the adventures of an unnamed, mohawk sporting hero, who is sent back in time by a shady group of people to find out why humanity went underground. Along the way, he meets his female counterpart from some timeline, and together they make fun of almost every big time travel story from H.G. Wells to the present.
Munchkin #5 is light on suspense and heavy on humor as writer Tom Siddell shows just how ridiculous a lot of expository sci-fi dialogue is and continues to break the fourth wall until all the king’s horses and men couldn’t ever fathom putting it back together again. Artist Ian McGinty adapts his animation-influenced art style to the Munchkin character models and gets laughs from our hero’s intense breath huffing, sweat dripping, and just plain anger as he discovers that he’s actually powering a coffee maker, not training for time travel. But McGinty’s best work comes when all the time travel in this issue go wacky, and he has a license to draw derpy, MAD Magazine versions of famous science fiction figures, which are arguably the best part of the series. Colorist Fred Stresing uses different color schemes for these characters with an extra sepia ones for the older ones, and the opaque reds he uses for the people sending Mr. Unnamed Hero back in time do a good job concealing their identity.
The combination of Ian McGinty’s outrageous art and Tom Siddell’s mostly understated writing creates comedy gold in Munchkin #5 and is really timely with the new Terminator film coming out this summer and even the return of Bill and Ted to comics. They revel in sending up these sci-fi characters and franchises along with crafting a hilarious three panel joke featuring a non-fictional human being. McGinty creates some nice visual humor in his background art, like dinosaurs wearing glasses or a particular chuckle worthy non sequitur towards the end of the issue. By then, the plot kind of collapses, but that’s the point, and there are great pay-offs to jokes from the first couple of pages. All in all, the main story is a well-crafted piece of geeky humor, like the cards in the Munchkin game, but with fewer puns and more winking meta-humor.
The backup story written by Shannon Campbell with art by Rian Sygh is a surreal, culinary twist on the Hero’s Journey with some non sequiturs thrown in for good measure. Sygh milks the comedy value of a chicken sitting on a random guy’s head in a decent backup story where the main character keeps getting punished for no reason. Campbell writes some funny lines, and Sygh’s art is bright and energetic even though his monster design is a little on the boring side.
Munchkin #5 truly captures the ridiculous, wonderful, and confusing parts of time travel.(McGinty illustrates the confusing part in a single panel time paradox.) It is also has a good combination of over the top and witty humor for fans of all comedic persuasions. It’s a great read for anyone still figuring out what the hell happened in Matt Smith’s last episode of Doctor Who.