The premier issue of
The Scourge, written by Scott Lobdell, seems to define both the
best and the worst of action tropes. From an extensive "voice-over"
introduction, to cardboard character archetypes, to hackneyed (yet
admittedly funny) attempts at humor, The Scourge screams
The series follows NYPD
SWAT officer John Griffin, who finds himself in the middle of a
monstrous epidemic. One inadvertently (and conveniently) started by
his best friend who he was traveling with. The virus infects people
through cuts, and then quickly takes over their bodies turning them
into monstrous demon things.
One can only assufme that
it's up to John Griffin to save New York, and he's going to have to
kick a lot of ass to do so. I say assume, however, because there's
surprisingly little action going on in this issue. I read the "#0"
preview issue, and while it actually takes place sometime after
Issue 1, it features a hell of a lot more gratuitous violence. This
really wouldn't be an issue if The Scourge had much else
going for it. Unfortunately, it really doesn't.
As I mentioned before, the
series so far seems to revel in b-movie camp, playing on the best
and the worst tropes of the genre. Without some awesome action,
there really wasn't anything holding my attention. Even for a
21-page comic, the story takes far too long to set up the world, and
when it finally does, the issue ends before Griffin is allowed to
show off why we should like him as a character.
The issue also falls prey
to the dreaded "telling, not showing" syndrome. It tells me that
Griffin is a total badass. It tells me that his family issues are
bothering him. Yet, I never really got a good sense of either during
the issue, outside of what the comic outright told me of course.
Otherwise, the story really isn't too bad. It's
got me interested to see how it progresses, and while I'm not
totally into any of the characters, the virus is definitely a change
of pace from your typical "infection"-themed comics. It might not
have blown me away, but it's not a terrible debut; there were
certainly one or two moments in the comic I really dug. The artwork
in the issue is also fine, if nothing special. It's a good look for
the comic, but it's definitely not anything we haven't seen before.
Overall, The Scourge is a solid comic, but
for US$2.99, you could probably find something much more worthwhile.
I'd recommend holding out for a few months to see where the series
goes, and if buzz starts building, then maybe think about throwing
down a few bucks for a collected volume.