Writer: Rick Remender, Artist: Bengal, Colours: Moreno Dinisio, Letters: Rus Wooton.
Time has passed since Ernie's last mission. He was able to negotiate a mansion which he now titles the Fortress of Ballitude, he also has Judas Priest singing to him every night. He does now have a handler from the organisation to make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid, for instance create multiple social media accounts, get a PR manager to book him onto talk shows. His handler had failed this and allowed him to get away with it all. Ernie has been titled as “the hero we deserve.” In doing this, he has made himself a public figure, which can be problematic for a superspy. One who has a new mission, to stop a new organisation called Moonflower as they try to get everyone to think the same, all from their base on the Moon, called the “safe space.” Ernie how has an issue: how can he be the hero he has labelled himself to be, while also secretly working for Scorpionus?
Considering we ended the last arc only last month, I find it surprising that we are getting a new issue now. Especially when the trade of arc #1 is being released at the same time. This could benefit or possibly cause an issue. Personally I would have waited so people could catch up with the trade, then give them time to jump onto the next issue, however it could work to their advantage with new readers picking up both at the same time. Either way, it’s nice for me to have the next arc start so quickly as I can still remember the last issue.
Despite not having too much occur during this issue, there is a few interesting things to take away from a writing perspective. I love Ernie's wording how he’s dubbed himself “the hero we deserve.” This is fantastic, as we can deduce from the fact that he is seen in a suit and now has a PR manager, that his spy tales are told from an Ernie bias, giving him the mantle of “hero.” However, us knowing all that we do about him, we know his not the best representation of humanity. So we have this fantastic double-meaning where he’s a genuine hero within the story, so he’s a hero that they feel they deserve. Although from our perspective, he’s terrible, so it could be saying that he’s the hero we deserve due to civilisation not being well maintained so we are deserving of a “scumbag.”
The other interesting aspect of the writing is, towards the end of the last arc, there started to be an input of Rick Remender's potential personal politics. I feel this is a dangerous thing to do, as you run the risk of alienating half of the audience. However, I say "potential" due to the new group of antagonists being of the opposite political persuasion. Knowing how intelligent Remender's writing can be, this is not an accident. This was a fantastic way of hanging onto any readers who may have been slightly put off by the first arc. It’s also a way of drawing people together during a time of serious real-world political opposition. I don’t want to dwell too much on politics, but I felt this was a poignant thing to mention as it shows the writing skills.
The longer this series goes on, the more I have to distance myself from that beautiful first issue. Now we have another artist, and I’m now looking at the series slightly differently. As we have continued through the arc, it has become more and more cartoony, so I now have to look at it through that lens. In that respect, the art by Bengal is consistent to the characters and the story. We have turned Ernie from a disgusting lowlife who was given a gift, into more of a Bugs Bunny or even Pepe le Pew character, with his over the top reactions (as we see in the picture above). With this in mind, the art is good for what it’s meant to be. I still have reservations about swapping the artist each issue, but mostly it seems to be working for the series so far. So the famous saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Scumbag issue 6 will be released on 24th March from your local comic shop as well as comixology