Writer: Adam Barnhardt, Illustrator: Samir Simao, Colorist: Warnia K. Sahadewa, Letterer: Lettersquids.
Rugged and Raw. These are the two best words to describe everything about the latest comic with a title and premise that push beyond traditional comic book boundaries, and another title about an addict who is the only dysfunctional person capable of saving the world. But in this case, the would-be hero isn’t a junkie scumbag, but a former super, now super-alcoholic sh*tshow.
We open on a flashback to The Age Of Heroes, back when the world was full of superpowered protectors with names like flashy Lightspeed, witchy Macabre Mel, and Superman-ish Legend. If the comic’s title wasn’t clue enough that this is strictly an adult book, then the fight scene with a massive, apocalyptic demon named Balam will do the trick, with raw adult language and gory violence galore.
Cut to the present, where all the heroes are either dead or long gone and Legend is now powerless, constantly drunk into oblivion, his superpowered young kids now his caretakers, and the ones trying to eke out a living and support the family in a world ruined by Balam. It's always a sad but interesting family drama when the children have to become the parents to the parent.
The art by Samir Simao is the immediate in-your-face tone-setter for this book: rugged, with fat brushstrokes and very exaggerated, caricatured renderings. It’s a sharp, pointy art style that makes you feel on edge, as if every panel will slice your eyeballs.
Writer Adam Barnhardt crafts a sad but interesting family drama where the children have had to become the parents to the parent, and some brutal battle scenes. He manages to come up with a lot of superhero names we haven’t encountered before, an increasingly more difficult task as each year of superhero comics passes. In the middle of all the raw and rugged, Barnhardt also throws some insightful philosophical musings our way about superheroes, along with some advice on how the main character (and us) can get by from day to day in this trying, often-hopeless world we live in.
The lettering fonts chosen by Lettersquids are also appropriately rugged, but are very hard to read at smaller sizes, and especially difficult on black backgrounds. The dark color mix closes in on the condensed, thin font and makes it even thinner.
One of the best things about this book is the coloring of Warnia K. Sahadewa, it’s much more slick and sophisticated than the rough art and overall rugged vibe calls for.
Now that a past evil has returned to finish the job, can Legend the has-been, walking Sh*tshow rise to the occasion? It will be interesting to see, and if all of his children survive the coming battle.
Sh*tshow #1 from Scout Comics is available December 16, 2020.