Writer: Rick Remender, Artist: Eric Powell, Colours: Moreno Dinisio, Letters: Rus Wooton.
After getting exactly what he wanted, a case full of hardcore drugs, a flying car and a sentient sex robot, Agent Ernie Ray “Scumbag” (he still doesn’t like that name) Clementine, is now flying his way to an exclusive party held by some of the big leagues within Scorpionus. He and his newly acquired sidekick agent Sister Mary—although she wouldn’t like to be thought of as a sidekick—have one mission: To infiltrate the party, locate the computer lab to find out why Scorpionus are going to sell oil at such a cheap rate that they flood the economy and bankrupt the competition. To do this, Ernie has to disguise himself as an oil tycoon, and use his powers to find out everything he can. However, will the temptations of, not just the party but what Scorpionus can offer him be too much for him to pass up?
So we are now 4 issues into the run, and we have a break from the norm: we finally get a second issue by the same artist. Now I understand what Rick Remender was doing with the original concept. By swapping artists you can display an array of talent with each issue, however I do think this is the issue that proves the opposite. Other than the first issue, I loved Lewis Larosa’s art, which I have made no secret. This I think has been the best issue in regards to art so far. The pencils were immaculate and the colours really brought out the artwork. We are also treated to two 2-page spreads, which both depict something vastly different yet are equally beautiful. We also get what I would say could be the best single page spread in the series so far.
This was the single page that I thought was stunning. It’s perfectly framed too, as he’s imagining what he could get or accomplish with so much money (seen in his eyes) and the house coming out of his head, perfectly representing what he’s thinking about. This is where I think that consistency within a book is key to creating the best out of the team. Eric Powell has now been on two issues and this one, his second, is even better than the first. So as much as I appreciate what Remender wanted to do, I think he’s possibly hurt his book by having constant change up until now.
On the note of Rick Remender, overall the book is still going strong and mostly well written. There are however some things that I take issue with. What started as a relatively apolitical book, one that was poking fun at the spy genre, has now become rather political. This I find disappointing as political has started to infiltrate all areas of pop culture, and I get easily bored or annoyed with books that clearly have a political stance. This can be seen in the moment Ernie is found out, as he calls Batman a fascist and says he should be called on white privilege, yet in a sentence after that he calls politics the poison which we justify wars with. This is rather confusing, and I would much prefer that politics would be left out of pop culture.
Overall, The Scumbag is still enjoyable despite the dive into the political realm. Its clever homage to the spy genre heightens this satire. The consistency of art is also welcome and I think adds to the experience. I’m hopeful that I won’t be drawn out of the book as I have been done by the constant changes of artist, by keeping Eric Powell on, as I feel he is a good fit for the story.
The Scumbag #4 comes out on 20th January from your local comic shop as well as comixology