REVIEW: Scum of the Earth Parts #1 and #2

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Some of the most creative comics these days are coming to us digital first. I was thrilled to discover Monkeybrain Comics a while back. Now, I find Action Lab Entertainment giving me more variety in my reading diet, something you all know I love!

SUMMARY

Pros
A fascinating mash-up of two very distinctly different genres.
The storytelling is gripping in both script and art.
Cons
This is likely too violent for the kiddies, but it’ll thrill adults looking for something different.

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

READER RATING!

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SCUM OF THE EARTH #1 and #2
Writer: Mark Bertolini
Artist: Rob Croonenborghs
Publisher: Action Lab
Digital Price: $0.99 each

Previously in SCUM OF THE EARTH: “Follow Laura and True, a pair of homicidal rednecks, as they travel the South, leaving a trail of mayhem and murder in their wake. Is it possible the only thing that can stop them is something not of this world? Scum of the Earth is an old-school grindhouse road movie and sci-fi manhunt mash-up that has been described as Natural Born Killers meets The Predator. The twists and turns will keep you guessing until the very end!”

MARK BERTOLINI KEEPS ME READING FROM THE EDGE OF MY SEAT

I first discovered Mark Bertolini a couple of years ago through his wonderful series Breakneck about a low-level villain who turns into a low-level hero. Then I read Long Gone, in which the “heroes” have taken over but might just meet their match in a single human. I realized that if I wanted to go where no superhero comic has gone before, I should follow Mr. Bertolini (in a non-creepy way) regardless of the company his product comes from.

I wouldn’t call Scum of the Earth a superhero comic by any means, but it is surely something so different that I could not possibly resist it. Here’s the series subtitle: “Out of the desert they came … with murder on their minds!”

Are Laura and True (I love that guy’s name, by the way), the protagonists of this book (I would never call them “heroes”), people I would want to encounter in real life? Absolutely not! Are they enjoyable to read about in this comic? You bet!

These two gun-toting chaos-bringers probably think the Knockout Game is entirely too tame! I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of people I’ve seen survive meeting them so far!

Of course, I’m anxious to see them get their come-uppance, but given Bertolini’s unpredictable scripting, I can’t possibly be sure that’s going to happen. And that keeps me wanting more! I just have to know what’s going to happen!

The first 99-cent “part” sets up the rest of the series, with quite an astonishing twist at the end. You see, there’s what appears to be a robot following or hunting the duo, and he’s only a step or two behind them.

The second “part” keeps Laura and True destroying just about everyone and everything in their path. It concludes by making me wonder if these two are actually human at all!

Of course, I have to ask: Is he or it hunting them? Or is he even trying to catch up with them to join them? It’s motives also could fall somewhere in between. And again, I have to know!

Given Bertolini’s scripting, I have an idea that I’ll actually feel sorry for Laura and True when they have to face the robot! Hey, it could happen if they’re seriously outmatched!

THE ART MATCHES THE TONE OF BERTOLINI’S SCRIPT

Croonenborghs’ art compliments the story in that it has something of a rough-edged feel to it. The “robot” looks formidable in its size and agility. It also carries a huge weapon, something that might even make Laura and True want to jump under cover. And the duo look a lot like some people I met when I lived in the South, but I won’t go there!

I also find the coloring really appropriate, as we sometimes shift from duotones to four-color art, depending on the circumstance. It’s a nice way of accentuating the mood of what’s happening. I like it, I like it!

BOTTOM LINE: SCUM OF THE EARTH IS A TERRIFIC BUY FOR ONLY NINETY-NINE CENTS A PART

Like other digital-first offerings, Scum of the Earth is only about a buck each “issue.” That means you can sample it without plunking down a lot of your hard-earned cash. And if it doesn’t appeal to you, you gave it a shot, pardon the pun! If you do enjoy it, you can keep up with each issue for only that same amount, which is a great bargain for a well-told story, in my opinion. It always leaves me craving more!

Of course, I wouldn’t suggest any kids get to read this book. Instead, give them Garfield!

I’m on a relentless pursuit of quality and variety in comics, and Scum of the Earth is one of the latest finds I’m enjoying tremendously! I highly recommend you check it out!

Rating: ★★★★½