I Heart Skull-Crusher! #1 Review

I Heart Skull-Crusher! #1 Advance Review

A comic book that caught my attention when it was announced was I Heart Skull-Crusher! This new series is part of BOOM! Studios’ BOOM! Box imprint. What caught my eye about this new BOOM! Studios comic book was the sports aspect of the series. I am always down for a good sports story told in comic book or manga form. This new series by Josie Campbell and Alessio Zonno appears to combine book comic book and manga elements for this story. I got a chance to check out an early copy of I Heart Skull-Crusher! #1. Check out how it turned out with my advance review of the first issue.


Writer: Josie Campbell

Artist: Alessio Zonno

Colorist: Angel De Santiago

Letterer: Jim Campbell


“18-year-old Trini will do anything to compete in her favorite sport, Screaming Pain Ball, aspiring to the heights of her longtime hero Skull-Crusher! But she can’t do it alone, and a gaggle of misfits is just what she needs to cross the American wastes and battle in Queen Mob’s deadly tournament.

With Trini’s dreams of being just like Skull-Crusher on the line, do she and her friends have what it takes to win a coveted spot on Skull-Crusher’s undefeated team?” – BOOM! Studios


Right out of the gate I Heart Skull-Crusher! #1 captures your attention with how dynamic it is. From the opening double page spread the energy of this comic book jumps off the screen. Which is appropriate given how Trini, the main character of this series, carries that energy throughout this first issue.

After the opening captures your attention the frenetic pace of I Heart Skull-Crusher! #1 builds your investment in Trini’s journey. Josie Campbell and Alessio Zonno do a fantastic job at translating what makes sports manga so great into comic book form. Zonno’s art style invokes a lot of manga and webtoon inspiration, with the latter being what the artwork reminds you of. Which works for this story of Trini entering the world of the sport known as Screaming Pain Ball.

I Heart Skull-Crusher! #1 Preview
Preview of interior artwork for I Heart Skull-Crusher! #1 by artist Alessio Zonno, colorist Angel De Santiago, and letterer Jim Campbell. Credit: BOOM! Studios

Speaking of Screaming Pain Ball, it was so fun to see how Campbell and Zonno just go all out with the presentation of the sport. The sport appears to be a combination of soccer, wrestling, rugby, fighting games, and quidditch all rolled into one. It creates a sport that does feel unique to this world. The unique nature of Screaming Pain Ball opens the opportunity to make it whatever it wants to be. That imagination is something Campbell and Zonno play with in a fun manner.

All this works because of Trini as the main character. Her excitement over watching Screaming Pain Ball matches as a kid to wanting to play it after turning 18-years-old is infectious. Everything in her life she’s done to one day play the sport she has dreamed of playing. There are obvious tropes played with, but they work so well in building Trini up as a compelling character.

Best of all is that the world of I Heart Skull-Crusher is as much of a character as Trini is. The pacing of I Heart Skull-Crusher! #1 provides the opportunity to see a lot of this world and the characters that exist within it. While most of the time is spent in a wasteland-like setting it is smart that this doesn’t suddenly turn into a post-apocalyptic story. It reminds of Trigun in a way as while the world is a wasteland the people that live in it have made it their normal. This in turn allows the focus to be on the characters that live in this world. And by extension how Trini interacts with everyone and everything.


I Heart Skull-Crusher! #1 is an excellent start to the sports journey of Trini as she look to go pro in Screaming Pain Ball. From the moment you open this comic book your attention is captured by the world Josie Campbell and Alessio Zonno create for you to experience. It will hit you as hard, as exemplified by the opening double page spread, that you are left wanting to read more.

Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Check out the full preview for I Heart Skull-Crusher! #1 by clicking here.