Review: Image Comics’ New Comedy Espionage Series ‘The Scumbag’ #1

by Brendan M. Allen

“Jazz Apple Armageddon,” Part One.

The fate of the world rests in the hands of the worst person on it! Rick Remender launches an all-new comedy espionage series, The Scumbag—the story of Ernie Ray Clementine, a profane, illiterate, drug-addicted biker with a fifth-grade education. He’s the only thing standing between us and total Armageddon because this dummy accidentally received a power-imbuing serum, making him the world’s most powerful super spy. 

Ernie Ray Clementine is a piece of work. He’s filthy. He’s abrasive. He insults anyone within earshot. A slimeball among slimeballs. He’s… well, he’s a scumbag. As advertised. Ernie spends the entirety of The Scumbag #1 trying to score a fix. To that end, there’s not much he wouldn’t do. Robbing a kids’ charity is probably one of the least vile things he’s done to push off. 

Rick Remender does a number on the reader with this ‘protagonist.’ We’re told this dude will be the only thing standing between us and total Armageddon. We’re doomed. 

This thing is exceptionally well written. You really could not despise Ernie Ray more by the time he finally gets those super powers, and the way that he actually does is just as disgusting and contemptible as every single thing else in this guy’s existence.

Art’s going to be interesting in Scumbag. Each chapter is going to be drawn by a different artist. This month, we have Lewis Larosa. Upcoming issues will see the interior and cover art talents of Andrew Robinson, Eric Powell, Tula Lotay, Wes Craig, Roland Boschi, Simone Di Meo, Marguerite Sauvage, Duncan Fegredo, Yanick Paquette, Mike McKone, Dave Johnson, Moreno Dinisio… 

Larosa’s artwork has a hyper-real quality that creates a sort of tension between the absolute beauty of the art, and the repugnant nature of the characters, events, and set pieces involved. I was on my heels for most of this first chapter. Nauseous and slightly confused.

Scumbag is definitely not for the kids. It’s like Sons of Anarchy meets Buzzkill, by way of the cringiest low budget porn. It’s a great story, and the art is amazing. It just leaves a horrible taste in your mouth for a couple days.

The Scumbag #1, Image Comics, 21 October 2020. Written by Rick Remender, art by Lewis Larosa, color by Moreno Dinisio, letters by Rus Wooten, edited by Will Dennis, designed by Erika Schnatz.

Summary

The Scumbag is the story of Ernie Ray Clementine, a profane, illiterate, drug-addicted biker with a fifth-grade education. He’s also the only thing standing between us and total Armageddon.

Overall
8.5/10
8.5/10

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

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