As the first arc concludes, can this experimental book go out with a bang? Scumbag #5 ADVANCE REVIEW

Writer: Rick Remender, Artist: Wes Craig, Colours: Moreno Dinisio, Letters: Rus Wooton.

Sister Mary and Ernie now have the intel about where Scorpionus is making their clean green energy. After spending so long being berated by her, Ernie now starts to question where his loyalties lie. Scorpionus offered him money and a private island with all the drugs he could want. They also use homeless people in their factory and promote the clean energy. Are these people as evil as the agency says they are? Inside the facility, Sister Mary also finds someone close to her working with them. Has Ernie been on the wrong side the entire time? Is that why he’s having issues with his powers? Or is there something else going on that they just don’t realise yet?

So we come to the last issue in the arc. We have another artist on the book in Wes Craig. I don’t know too much about Wes, other than he worked with Rick on Deadly Class, so he’s an artist that’s very new to me. Unfortunately I don’t think the art is quite up to a regular standard. I appreciate what Rick wanted to do with the art in this series, but we have now seen this problem a few times. When the artist changes so often, you get a different version of characters as it’s dependent on the artist's vision. This can throw off any reader by making them question whether they actually recognise the characters that they have been following. Even a slight change in facial appearance can get readers to question if they have missed something. I found myself questioning this during this issue, as a few panels weren’t sitting right with Ernie's appearance.

As you can see in the above image, Ernie's face looks distorted, and I felt like I was seeing a different character. This happened a few times within the book. Another small detail about the art that took me out of the story, was one panel that has sister Mary turning her head. As tiny a detail as it sounds, it’s meant to be a throwaway panel where she’s looking back at what’s just happened; however the problem is, from the “camera” angle that we see, Sister Mary would practically break her neck to do what she’s doing. This was a bigger deal than that of Ernie's face, as this panel is larger and meant to be a turning point for her as a character, which means it fails on the intended impact.

While I do have issues with the interior art, the cover art is fantastic. I love the way the pictures blend into Ernie's head. In terms of writing, this was a good enough issue. There was nothing special about it, and for a concluding issue in the arc it felt anticlimactic. Ernie still hasn’t showed off much of his powers, and when he has it's briefly. I’m hoping this will come with the development of his moral character. Where the better a person he is, the more control he has over his powers. The one standout part to the book from a writing perspective. was Ernie talking to an A.I. about what he wants and who he wants to be. This was a powerful moment, as for the few pages, it was well-written and gives more insight into Ernie. Despite all the bravado, he is actually human. This brought him down the earth and I felt sorry for him.

Overall this was a very average issue to end the arc. A little disappointing when compared to the start of the series. I’m hoping the next arc will be much better with pacing and hopefully we can get a little consistency with the art, instead of being different artists.

Scumbag issue 5 will be released on 24th Feb from your local comic shop as well as comixology

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