When you think of attributes that often define a hero, what comes to mind? Courage, integrity, selflessness? In The Scumbag, writer Rick Remender and artist Lewis Larosa look to redefine the idea of just what a “hero” looks like.
Ernie Ray Clementine is a loud-mouthed, smelly drug addict who has more drugs in his possession than your local pharmacy. He also happens to be the world’s only hope after he injects himself with a nanotech serum called Formula Maxima. But instead of embracing his new abilities with great power and responsibility, he couldn’t care less. Even after a hologram image appears to him and tells him there’s an imminent attack coming to New York, he uses this as leverage for incentives for himself. The world may truly be in trouble.
The Scumbag #1 kinda feels like Bad Santa meets Joe Dirt, but with lots of narcotics involved. The first issue does a good job of selling Ernie as nothing more than a waste of space. It sells his character so well one could ask, how in the hell has Ernie stayed alive this long? What it doesn’t give much of is a backstory of how Ernie got to this point in his life.
As far as the plot goes, the story gets even more ridiculous as it goes along. There are a lot of scenarios that feel conveniently placed, like a tip jar full of money around an addict, or the chances of Ernie finding a syringe filled with super serum. But despite those flaws, The Scumbag #1 does spark up enough curiosity to see where the story and antics take Ernie next. Overall, it’s a halfway decent setup for an interesting enough concept.
The illustrations provided by Lewis Larosa give The Scumbag #1 the boost that it needs. The character designs are fleshed out well and the realistic color choices by colorist Moreno Dinisio are a perfect match. Larosa’s pages look more like portraits, allowing the reader to enter into his world and get comfortable in it. Larosa’s transitions are creative and show off the realistic nature that he presents to the story.
Although The Scumbag #1 isn’t a super strong first issue, it is entertaining enough to want to keep reading the series. The pacing is decent, the plot holds itself together for the most part and it leaves a lot to the imagination.
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