Sh*tshow is a new series from Scout Comics, a publisher that has delivered big time when it comes to horror comics. This new series has some horror, but also superheroes for the fans out there who like to read edgier twists on the genre. Now available in your local comic book shop, the series is a gory and slightly comical look at a world where heroes have fallen from grace.
So what is this series about?
There was once an Age of Heroes, a time Earth was protected by the demigod hero Legend and his band of heroes called Legend’s Legion until one day, the three-headed demon Balam was summoned to the planet. In the ensuing fight, the powers were ripped away from any enabled beings on the planet — heroes and villains, alike. Battered, broken, and losing his entire Legion in the process, Legend was able to cobble together whatever remaining powered beings he could find but by that time, Balam was long gone.
Written by Adam Barnhardt with art by Samir Simao, the first issue opens on a downtrodden man who has had way too many drinks. He’s drunk, and in his stupor, we are privy to a godlike narrator who explains how heroes died and those who remain with powers are nothing close to superheroes by nature. However, the drunk man holds a secret of sorts, but before we can learn about that he has to put a show on at a carnival.
Plotting-wise the book works, cutting from flashbacks of the last great heroes fighting Balam to a circus made up of heroes with fantastical powers. Considering how decimated the world appears as the heroes fight to their last breaths, the look of the circus grounds seems fitting since it appears to be on the edge of nowhere. For that, this book works to set up a familiar narrative of heroes fighting and losing as something from another dimension destroys them.
Simao’s art lays into the gore, reminding us this isn’t a big-two book. Looking at his indie work, you can see his style has a cartoony feel that lightens the disturbing nature of the gore so it’s not so serious. Though the god-like narrator is dramatic, the art allows it to be less heavy-handed.
This is a fun comic as a gory alternative take on big-time superheroes, but it does leave you wanting. The main character is mostly a useless drunk, making it difficult to connect with him. Where the world is after they’ve lost their heroes remains to be seen too, as the narrative zeroes in on the flashback and the circus and nothing more. Gaining an insight into the wider world would help us understand the main character’s position as well as the world’s. Can they sustain another attack from Balam? It’s unclear. It’s also unclear what Balam’s goals are, though that’ll likely be explored later on.
If you’re a fan of superheroes but want an alternative and gory take, look no further than Sh*tshow. The series explores a world where the best heroes fell and those with powers remaining make due. So far, though, it’s a bit light on intriguing characters and more about the setup.
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