Writer: Rick Remender, Artist: Alex Riegel, Colours: Moreno Dinisio, Letters: Rus Wooton.
As Ernie comes to grips with the ideas of Moonflower by taking Petal to bed. Sister Mary is running through the base dealing with all the other members. As Madam Hive sees this, she interrupts Ernie and asks him to kill her. Now Ernie has to choose between the agency he works for, and the hippie that he’s fallen in love with. Whatever he chooses, Madam Hive is still hell bent on firing their “love gun” into the earth to make everyone think the same. Has Ernie finally gone too far with his deceptions?
We are now 3 issues into this second arc, and we have had 7 artists in 8 issues. Despite having the same writer all along, every issue feels very different. Here we have an Ernie who doesn’t look like he has before. His eyes look a lot wider, he doesn’t look as haggard as he did in the first few issues, and he also looks very cartoony. This doesn’t seem as bad when compared to the story, which is also very over the top. However as I have stated in my past reviews, this is the problem with changing artists so often on a title. The main characters can end up looking very different than how they started. You also run the risk of putting people off when they like an particular art style. This is something that I think is very important: both writing and art need to be in sync. Just like you wouldn’t change a writer in the middle of an ongoing series (each issue not like the Big Two swapping writers every 50ish issues).
However, writer Rick Remender still crafts a funny and intriguing issue here. As I stated above, the artwork is a little cartoony, which fits well with the issue. Moonflower's ultimate goal is to use a “love gun” on the world to make everyone think the same and love each other. It’s such an over the top concept that it complemented the artwork well.
We also get backstories for both Ernie and Sister Mary. Despite being very short, I think they were needed, not as much for Ernie but definitely for Sister Mary. Although just a page long, it actually rounds out her character. However I don’t think Ernie needed it; I found him interesting as more of a mystery rather than knowing he had a troubled childhood. With such a complicated character as him, I had my own views of what his history could be. With the mystery, readers' minds could run wild. He could have been a rich guy who lost everything and then got addicted to substances. However, this new revelation just takes that mystery away, unless we find out that he’s lying, which I find very unlikely, as Ernie has been a lot of things throughout the series, but not a liar.
We definitely get sone good moments within this issue. I found the internal struggle of Ernie to be the strongest here. After falling for Petal and going along with Moonflower, he has to then make the difficult choice between his views and his partner who has saved his life. This culminates in an ending that I didn’t see coming. Remender manages to surprise me with each passing issue, and I’m still enjoying each one. The creative teams are working well together, despite changing artists each issue.
Overall I thought this was a great issue, the longer the series goes on, the more I enjoy it. I can only hope that they get a good conclusion here and if they want to carry on after this arc then continue with a strong next.
The Scumbag issue 8 will be released on 19th May from your local comic shop as well as comixology