Scout’s Honor #1
Fallout meets Mulan meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this post-apocalyptic thriller. At the heart of the series is a cult that has built itself in the aftermath of a nuclear war, with one artifact of the before-times as its guiding light: a Boy Scouts manual. But the series lead, Kit, has a secret that could upend the entire society in one fell swoop.“In a harsh survivalist society that only allows men to serve, Kit has concealed her identity as a woman to pursue her calling as a Ranger Scout. But when she makes a shocking discovery dating back to the Ranger Scouts’ conception, Kit will be forced to reexamine everything she once believed, as she struggles to survive both her fellow Ranger Scouts and the radioactive horrors of the Colorado Badlands
AFTERSHOCK COMICS STORY: David Pepose ART: Luca Casalanguida COLORS: Matt Milla LETTERS: Carlos M. Mangual
David Pepose is dead set on creating all of our favorite comic books. From the hauntingly good Spencer & Locke, to the RomComAction Going to the Chapel and over to the high fantasy O.Z. Pepose has impressively flexed his masterful writing ability. Now we get yet another strikingly different genre but more of the same mastery of writing. Concept alone is brilliant. Execution of this debut issue is flawless. Even though we venture to a dark new setting the prevailing themes of Pepose’s writing hold true. The personal aspect and relatable states have extended into Scout’s Honor. Even more so, the absurdity associated with these things gets even more visible play thanks to the setting – overly large mutant pigs anyone? The tried and true masked gang of baddies is present as well but as with all of his previous writing, Pepose makes them feel wholly his own. Perhaps the biggest piece of brilliance in the first issue is how the Scouts themselves have been made anew. As with what we know of them today, the scouts in this adventure earn their merit badges (listed at the back of the book) according to the new world they live in. Most telling of these badges is the ‘History of the Badlands’ entry. I won’t spoil anything for you but unless I’m reading far to into things, the description is telling and has me ready to dive into each issue going forward.
Adding a dash of fantasy to belief systems that have and currently do exist in society has created an unyielding and unforgiving world on several fronts. The social commentary and allusions in Scout’s Honor drive home the stakes and ramp up the tension to believable levels danger that grip the reader. The bow on this book is the visual representation. Our characters feel both individual unto themselves as well as collective to the environment they inhabit. Post-apocalypticness comes across very well with neon green eyed killer boars, a gritty overtone, rustic and beat up settings and of course the outfitting of the characters themselves. Surprisingly the book is colorful even though it is steeped in the juices of nuclear war aftermath. Again, credit to the art team for delivering an aesthetic that is as gripping as the narrative. Subtle touches with the lettering bring across the atmosphere perfectly. The dystopian reality Scout’s Honor is housing is given its due in spades. It is the scenes outside of the main narrative that really seal the deal though. How Kit earns the Eagle Guard badge as well as a type of cut scene displaying the ‘honor’ of the scouts gives a glimpse of the bigger picture of struggling to survive in the post apocalyptic new world.
Finishing off the first issue is an excellent hook that throws a wrench into everything. It immediately calls for a second read through as it exposes, brings light to, and alters how you see and comprehend what was presented to you. Within the patriarchal framework of the seven laws that guide the Scouts’ way of life there is very serious sci-fi going on. Nothing is ever what it appears to be and that holds especially true in the nuclear ravaged future of Scout’s Honor. As beautifully as this book is put together I hardly noticed the amount of dialogue/narrative. It all moved together and flowed from page to page effortlessly. I have no doubt that this book will end up on quite a few lists come the end of the year … and we’ve only just begun.