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Scumbag #3, enjoyable but too reliant on typical protagonist tropes: ADVANCE REVIEW

Writer: Rick Remender, Artist: Eric Powell, Colours: Moreno Dinisio, Letters: Rus Wooton.

After infiltrating the Scorpionus meeting, Ernie Ray Clementine, aka Agent Scumbag, quickly gets made, and is forced to fight his way out. Also, while trying to stop the gold bomb from going off, he figures out very quickly that his powers only manifest during times of a noble cause. Is this outcast of a human actually capable of noble causes, and can he stop the evil group before they create a world of gold beings or is this just a distraction for a more devious plan?

So we get to the 3rd issue in this strange series. A notable difference is the ever more cartoony artwork by Eric (The Goon) Powell, with a very colourful palette by Moreno Dinisio. This art change is something that’s pulling me out of the story a little bit. Where we had some of the best art I’ve ever seen in issue one by Lewis Larosa, the art is now becoming less and less a standout in the series. I have nothing against either Andrew Robinson (artist for issue #2) or Eric Powell, as both of their art is good on its own merit, however when I compare it to where we started, it just seems like too big a jump. For me, this is a problem with the series. Constantly changing artists means you can, as a reader, never get into a rhythm or pace and maintain the consistency with how you visually perceive the book.

The writing so far has been able to tread the very difficult line of trope and down right disturbing, while still feeling fresh and polished. Rick Remender had somehow managed to craft a spy thriller that could be filled with intrigue, and yet play on the old stereotypes of the spy genre. This is now starting to unravel a little with this issue, where our “delightful” hero is able to do things in the nick of time, also even ending the book with James Bond-like gadgets and a car. Although this may look cool from the artwork standpoint, it is actually a tad lazy writing-wise. The point of this book was to invert the tropes and challenge what a spy/hero could be. Yet what we are seeing now would are classic spy ideas.

Overall the book is still enjoyable, although I’m getting bored with the rapid changing of artists. However, in this issue we get more colour than we saw in the first two issues. This increased colour palette gives more of a sense of freedom for the characters, and in my case had me smiling more. The drastic contrast between the characters and the surrounding environment made me laugh. I don’t know why Dinisio picked this issue to display more vibrant colours, but it was the one favourable thing for me. I hope to see more of this going forward. I would also hope that we can steer more towards the art style of Larossa, as his disgusting yet beautiful panels were a treasure to behold. I also hope that Remender has a trick up his sleeve when it comes to closing this arc. I feel it would be a letdown if it did just spiral into the standard spy book, when this started as more of a critique on both the spy genre and the wider hedonistic culture of people beholden to pleasures of the moment.

Scumbag issue 3 will be released on 23rd December from your local comic shop as well as comixology

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