Everyone wants to be a hero. Or at the very least, everyone loves to root for the hero. They’re good looking and they’re tough. They’re smooth and they’re smart. They may have a troubled past, but they always have a chance for redemption. Plus, they always get the girl. Ernie Ray Clementine, the hero of The Scumbag #1, is none of these things. Yet, he’s the only thing that can save the world from Armageddon in this new ongoing series from Image Comics.
This series, penned by Rick Remender, takes a crass, illiterate, drug addict, injects him with an experimental super serum, and throws him into the world of high stakes espionage. The first issue introduces us to Ernie and sets the stakes for the first arc. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go much further than set up. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing, except that everything in this first issue, and some of the best lines within the issue for that matter, were laid out in the synopsis to the comic book.
A character profile and introductory letter to the reader, written by Remender and included at the end of the issue, actually give us more of Ernie’s background than the comic does. Full disclosure, if you buy the first issue, maybe flip to the back and read the letter, as it gave me more of an appreciation for the type of character Ernie is supposed to be than the actual comic did.
The story does have a science-fiction element that I found surprising. Though, outrageous and fantastical as this comic’s premise is, the sci-fi element just seems like one story element too many. For a comic where the plot doesn’t move forward beyond the synopsis, there’s almost too much going on in this first issue. That all being said, one thing I did love about this issue was that the background characters break the fourth wall. As the narrator’s voice is introducing us to Ernie, these characters affirm or add to the details being shared.
Each issue of this series will be drawn by a different artist. In The Scumbag #1, Lewis LaRosa gets first dibs. LaRosa’s art style is like a cross between an impressionist painting and street graffiti. His line work is sparse, yet the images in each panel are always clear. The artwork really sells the locations of each scene and makes the one fight sequence in this first issue look amazing. The colors used by Moreno Dinisio are bright, but were obviously applied digitally. I’m not sure either of these details act as the best compliment to LaRosa’s illustrations. In addition to a rotation of main artists, each issue of this series will have will have multiple variant covers drawn by a string of A-List artists.
The Scumbag #1 is not for everyone. The first issue alone has blood, gore, diarrhea, masturbation, and heavy drug use. Fans of action movies and anti-heroes will surely find something to like about this series. Those who enjoy character development and complex plots should probably choose a different title. Honestly, considering the string of artists slated to draw covers for each issue, this might be the type of series a person buys just for the cover art. In any case, give this one a browse before you commit to purchasing it.
Story: Rick Remender Art: Lewis LaRosa
Colors: Moreno Dinisio Letters: Rus Wooton
Story: 3.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 5.8 Recommendation: Read
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review