Every so often a comic book series comes around with a plot that’s so clever and unique you have to praise it on those terms alone. One such book is Scout’s Honor, a new AfterShock Comics series that feels well-timed given its premise. The series asks the question: What if society rose up out of a nuclear apocalypse, using not the Bible, but a Ranger Scout manual as its moral compass? The concept is well-timed since so often it seems people today are blinded by just about anything that some deem holy writ. There’s far more to it though, which is why this is an exciting first issue in what could be a must-buy series.
Written by David Pepose with art by Luca Casalanguida, this book opens on the American flag, and every panel thereafter slowly pushes out to reveal Fort Collins, CO reduced to rubble. A bearded man standing amongst others in gas masks proclaims the Ranger Scout Survival Handbook is the “good book” by which they will live. This scene expertly reveals the state of things, and then like a good movie smash cuts to hundreds of years later to see a few ranger scouts tracking a “gamma boar.”
The general excitement you feel after reading these first few pages permeates the entire read. From the wild radioactive animals to the young characters who believe in the Ranger Scout Survival Handbook like it’s some kind of spiritual otherworldly belief system, there are surprises throughout. In fact, I’d argue this book has as many shocking twists as any other series in comics today. Another creative team might hold things back or stretch out what we get here across two or even three issues, but Scout’s Honor reads like it’s not holding back at all, ramping up to give us more and more every page of the way.
Casalnguida draws a sharp book with great colors by Matt Milla. There are cool effects throughout, and though this is yet another dystopian story, there’s enough visual difference here to make it stand alone. Character designs are well done, capturing the wear and tear on the younger characters and the age in older ones. Milla does an exceptional job changing the mood in each scene, creating a different way of feeling about each reveal and action sequence. Similar to the story, the art has an eclectic punch that keeps changing and mixing things up, further making the work exciting.
One could argue the final cliffhanger is typical of a book about religious fanatics, or at the very least you might see that plot twist coming. That said, it’s revealed in a way that’s clever and uses some interesting future tech.
Scout’s Honor #1 is a strong first issue built on a great premise. It doesn’t hold back and instead delivers exciting action, interesting twists, and a brand new dystopian world that manages to feel truly original.
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